This is an issue that has been challenging me for some time, so I thought I would put my thoughts down on our blog.
Here are the issues in a nutshell.
- A basic website is easy to build
- A website that works on all devices, on all browsers, at all resolutions and maintains integrity after software updates is pretty much impossible
- A website that has coherent navigation and content, requires both client and agency to plan and test ideas
- A website that guarantees a good customer experience (UX) requires external user acceptance testing and an ongoing ‘test and improve’ approach
- Clients expect all the above, but only want to pay for the first
To put this into perspective, I recently quoted for (and won) a website build for a savvy client that did understand the need for thorough testing. The actual build of the website only amounted to 30% of the overall cost, with testing being the largest at 40% of the budget, design 20% and the remaining 10% for general works.
To me, this is the right ratio.
However, at the lower end of the pricing spectrum clients will inevitably sacrifice the testing for a better website, and we often end up on a 80% build to 10% testing ratio on budget. This is where the problems reside. Who pays if the website is buggy on certain devices, or if the UX is a little disjointed?
This also explain why website quotes can vary so much, from the lower quotes (on a build and walk away basis), to those that want to quote on the higher side, like Crush, as they do include a sensible amount of budget to make sure there are far fewer issues over the 3-6 years that the website will be in existence.
There is no immediate solution, but I urge anyone charged with commissioning a new website to ask about testing in their tenders, as currently so few do.