Ritual is a health-meets-technology company that reinvented the multivitamin and offers it direct-to-consumer on Ritual.com. The brand prides itself on traceable, high-quality, and evidence-based nutrients backed by the first visible supply chain of its kind, formulated to help fill nutrient gaps in the average American diet and support foundational health.*
Chris de Steuben is the QA Director at Ritual. He’s responsible for overseeing testing across the entire digital product team. His role is to define what quality looks like and promote that across the entire organization, as well as giving the company the tools it needs to uphold that standard effectively. The Ritual technology stack doesn’t just revolve around e-commerce — it empowers the company to move quickly, iterate on their marketing efforts, and deliver a seamless customer experience.
Two parts of Ritual’s core ethos apply directly to QA. In the words of Chris, QA needs to be obsessed with quality. QA also needs to get gritty, which is to say that it needs to look for ways in which small changes to workflows can have big positive impacts on the health of the business and its customers’ experiences. Intrinsically, this can be a challenge for Ritual, because the company is a startup that only employs two testers. How can they leverage their team effectively?
As Ritual continues to grow and launch exciting new products, the software development team needs to all be on the same page in order to ensure successful roll-out. In the past, when preparing for upcoming launches with new feature development, Ritual’s QA team would spend most of their time addressing different issues, and manually testing. Complicating the process was the fact that Ritual had implemented a lot of unit tests, but not many integration tests, acceptance testing, or end-to-end tests.
This was disruptive, and not in the way that startups normally like to disrupt things. It wasn't iterative or occurring alongside feature development. Instead, it was focused on hitting pre-launch milestones. They’d spend time testing the changes in a new release, designing a minimal strategy around building and implementing new features, and then spend additional time working out the resulting bugs. It was grinding work.
Additionally, the heart of any e-commerce site is the checkout flow and any change in the e-commerce platform itself could potentially affect the way that customers bought from the platform. The QA team needed the ability to see whether a change affected checkout, especially in a visual dimension, and then prioritize it for testing.
Their first clue towards solving these problems was with a tool called Segment, a customer data platform. Ritual uses Segment at the core of their analytics tech stack, the hub of their understanding for what’s happening with their customers.
mabl lets us be obsessed about quality at a scale that traditionally might only be possible with a larger team. Chris de Steuben, QA Director, Ritual
As a startup, Ritual has a lot of moving parts and the engineering team empowers teams across the company to be able to make changes to optimize the consumer experience.
It’s important for Ritual to be able to efficiently and quickly support these changes, and Segment helps address this. Using this tool, the Ritual QA team can track the production data from their web application in real time. If a page starts spiking with activity, they can assume that a change has been made and then prioritize testing for that page and the routes around it to ensure that it can support the revised customer journey.
Per Chris, “Segment integration really provides that detail about who's seeing what, and who's seeing what page when, and what that looks like. And even more than that, it's a jumping in point to look at some of those customers and see okay, we see a customer has started on this page, what does their entire flow look like? As they're navigating the site, what pages are they going to? And that lets us create a template for better testing that approximates reality.”
This is where mabl integration comes in handy—Segment points the QA team in the direction of where to prioritize testing, and mabl allows the QA team to test rapidly. After implementing mabl, Ritual now has a mabl test for up to 90% of the pages on their site.
"We look for tools and technologies like mabl, and a few other vendors that we've worked with in the past, that help our team be as creative as possible without reinventing the wheel and without over-engineering our approach. mabl helps us do that by reducing the head count that's required to be as confident as we are in the solutions that we've provided." Chris de Steuben, QA Director, Ritual
What the team at Ritual has found is that mabl acts as a force multiplier. Although there are only two dedicated testers on the QA team, mabl helps them get a lot more done—and it also helps them be a lot more confident in their approach. Plus, it was simple to get up and running quickly, so they saw fast time-to-value.
The Ritual QA team can now authoritatively say that a new feature they’re shipping is nearly bulletproof, a claim that’s borne out by how few regressions and errors they have to deal with. What’s most impressive is how mabl adapts to the changing web application and finds errors that the team didn’t previously know about, such as flagging visual changes and automatically scoping them into new tests.
"mabl basically let us go from zero to a hundred almost overnight." Chris de Steuben, QA Director, Ritual
Lastly, mabl allows the Ritual QA team to keep running tests on the normal path at the same time as they’re developing new features. This means that they’re not constantly going back and manually reviewing and regressing testing. Instead, they can rely on those flows being well-tested in mabl while testing new functionality or changes to existing functionality discreetly. In the final analysis, mabl offers the QA team a better opportunity to work with the engineering team, which results in a more improved and polished product at the end of the day.
It’s the only SaaS solution that tightly integrates automated end-to-end testing into the entire development lifecycle.