In the software development world, there is this mindset that goes ‘release now, fix later,’ particularly among the engineers. However, if I've learned anything in my years as a quality assurance analyst, it's that first experiences matter — especially in software design. Not convinced yet? The sudden rise of Zoom over its longtime rival Skype perfectly illustrates why the strategy fails.

According to web traffic analysts at Contentsquare, an average user spends 55 seconds on a website. It is how quickly businesses must catch someone's attention and sell their products and services. As a result, the development process of any software, be it a simple landing page, web app, a game or anything in between, has to ensure the first few moments of the user experience (UX) are exceptional. Thus, quality analysis of the UX is just as important as the usual bug testing.

There is plenty of ways to attract new users and ensure they stay on a website, some of them being:

  • Effective and intuitive navigation with a clearly labeled path.
  • Guided behavior with design patterns, clear hierarchy and readability.
  • Predictable and seamless elements, such as buttons and sliders familiar to the user.
  • Key features that catch the user’s attention.

Of course, bugs have no place in this scenario and the reason why is apparent. Imagine users encountering a bug in the first few moments of use. How would they react if a website didn’t load quickly or, worse, crashed?

Chances are nobody would visit the page again. Yet, the same thing can apply to a depraved user experience too. Imagine a “bug-free” website and unintuitive, overly complicated user interface (UI). If users can’t make sense of your business quickly, they won’t bother with your software anymore.

Still, many businesses underestimate the importance of using a professional team for software quality assurance (QA). Yet, only professional analysts are knowledgeable enough to conduct comprehensive testing and ensure a smooth experience.

Dig into our previous blogs to get more information on 'Why Your Mother-in-Law is Not a Good QA' and look at 'The Benefits of Quality Assurance Explained.'

Finally, the Skype vs. Zoom comparison can best showcase how a lack of UI/UX quality assurance testing in the software development cycle can influence a business. In addition, it highlights why companies will have to scale up their testing operations to stay competitive in the market, making QA analysts well sought-after professionals and QA a lucrative career option for tech enthusiasts.

How Skype Lost Its Influence?

First, there was Skype, the service we were all familiar with in the pre-pandemic world. By that time, it had been established as a video calling provider for almost 20 years. It got to the point where saying "I'll Skype you" instead of "I'll give you a video call" didn't require further explanation.

Then, at the start of 2020, the epidemic hit. In order to facilitate collaboration among remote teams, many turned to video conference software. Some (but not QA analysts) were surprised by the sudden spike in popularity of previously obscure players like Zoom. On the other side, Skype stagnated and even lost clients in what was the peak of worldwide video calls.

Are you convinced this was due to the lack of features Skype would offer? Think again.

After all, Skype provides users with even more options than Zoom. Actually, a high number of features accumulated over 20 years of development had quite the opposite effect. It made users feel overwhelmed. Besides, a lot of them experienced problems with the following:

  • calls disconnecting
  • the video quality being subpar
  • software being difficult to run on lower-powered PCs

To conclude, by 2020, Skype had become so cumbersome and confusing to use that even Microsoft, the company behind the software, acknowledged it and encouraged users to switch to Microsoft Teams.

Why ZOOM Spiked in Popularity?

When Skype somehow complicated instead of simplified user's daily communication during the already challenging pandemic times, it is understandable people sought alternatives.

Zoom made an excellent first impression and caught the user's attention in less than 55 seconds. It positioned itself on the market as a simple and fast video calling app focused on development, performance and security rather than features no one wanted. In addition, its website and software offer an intuitive experience, where you don’t even need to download the app to join a call.

Making a good first impression quickly enabled Zoom to expand. And although the company had a few hiccups along the way, their quick response in fixing them ensured the setbacks were quickly forgiven and forgotten. In short, they took care of a solid user experience from the start and didn’t forget about adequate support for the already acquired customers.

At Povio, we use Zoom frequently. For example, our monthly all-hands meetings, where we discuss past accomplishments and future plans, are held over Zoom. A vast number of our collaborators join the call, which seems unthinkable to manage through Skype.

Don’t Let Your Project Be The Next Skype

Professionally done quality assurance should come as a standard in all software development projects. Of course, the market will determine when this becomes a reality. Still, it is becoming increasingly evident from examples like Skype that no serious industry player can afford to believe QA is obsolete.

When done properly, meaning more than basics are covered by professional QAs, it is much more valuable to a project than simple bug finding. It can give the design team ideas on improvement, such as:

  • helpful feedback on the user experience
  • inputs on improvements to the user interface
  • tips on setbacks in the overall flow of the project

It also looks at the product from different points of view to ensure people with disabilities or less tech-savvy, such as the elderly, will have an effortless experience.

In conclusion, as a QA analyst, you should prioritize user experience as much as bug finding in your work. Only that way will you be able to do your job properly and avoid your project following Skype’s destiny.