Automated software testing techniques have been trending lately. Although many QA teams still rely heavily on manual testing, they start gradually adopting automation techniques to strengthen their test strategies.
Does automation testing bring more benefits? Is it better than manual testing? In this article, we are going to discuss when it is a good idea to apply automation testing and when things should be better done manually.
When To Apply Automation Testing?
Repetitive Tests: If there is a need to run the test cases multiple times, then automation testing is a good option to look at, and there the main reasons for that. Conducting repeatable test cases can take too much time when done manually, whereas automation gives you a significant time benefit.
Multiple Test Cases: If your test suite contains a large number of test cases, in this case, automation testing can also come in handy. While you can engage in merely running ten cases with manual testing and it will make sense, when the number of cases is large, automation testing can give better (and faster) results. The core idea here is to make sure that the scope of work that needs to be done would justify the cost of automation tools.
Types of Automation Testing
Smoke Testing: Smoke testing is among test automation best practices. Smoke testing implies running a set of quick, not-exhaustive tests that assess the overall quality of a build and determine whether all the key features work well. In a nutshell, such testing is used to define if the product is stable enough or if it requires deeper testing.
Regression Testing: Regression testing is used to ensure that the software changes didn’t have a negative impact on the existing features. Although this type of testing can be done manually, such an approach should be given a second thought. While doing it manually can be time and cost-consuming, automated regression testing can help you save about 40% in cost and 60% of the time.
Functional Testing: According to the statistics, 75% of companies still run functional testing manually. However, automated functional testing definitely has its purpose as it reduces the chances of human error, speeds up the process, and saves time.
Load Testing: Load testing is a vital part of automated website testing. It aims to check how a system can handle different levels of the load. Running this type of test allows you to ensure that a product will remain stable even if there will be a large number of users. The reason why automation testing is a good idea, in this case, is because finding thousands of visitors for a test session can be rather challenging. Thus, simulating a large load with the help of relevant scrips makes more sense.
Penetration Testing: Speaking of web applications’ security, automated penetration testing plays a vital role. It helps to find vulnerabilities in applications and the reason why it is better done automatically is to save QA engineer’s time and avoid human error.
GUI Testing: GUI test automation can also be a good idea, depending on your objectives. Automating this process allows reducing the time and cost of UI testing. Also, in some cases, it can be a more efficient, reliable, accurate method than manual testing.
The biggest benefit of UI automation is that it allows running simultaneous tests on different browsers and platforms. However, automation of GUI testing should be performed after you have at least some part of the product’s functionality finished.
Nevertheless, there are also cases when GUI testing is better done manually and we are going to tell you a bit more about it in the following section.
When Is Manual Testing Better Than QA Automation?
- GUI testing. This type of testing aims to check the proper work of the product’s user interface system. As was mentioned above, automated UI testing is possible and can make more sense than manual in some cases, it won’t let you check whether the software or app is easy to navigate from the users’ perspective. Testing the ease of navigation is only possible with the help of a QA engineer.
- Exploratory testing. This type of testing is not regularly included in the test plan. It requires a simultaneous overview of the product, its test case design, and functional specifics. The main reason why this type of testing should be done manually is that its effectiveness depends heavily on the QA specialist’s knowledge and past experience in testing a similar type of project.
- Ad-hoc testing. Ad-hoc stands for random testing, run without any plan. Since there is no planning, it is impossible to automate the process.
The Bottom Line
In the past few years, testing automation has been a rapidly emerging trend and, it seems like it is going to develop even more in 2020. As companies focus more on reducing the time to market and increasing the product quality, we can see many QA teams widely incorporating mobile automation testing, automated unit testing, automated accessibility testing, automated browser testing, and other automation techniques in their test strategies.
Hopefully, our post will help you define when automation testing is a good idea and when it’s better to rely on manual testing techniques.
Kate Zalozna. CTO at QA Madness. I’ll share my knowledge and experience of implementing QA strategies and ensuring their alignment with a company’s business needs. After working in QA and software testing for over 9 years, I have a lot of things to share.