When it comes to testing, there are two possible ways to do this, manual testing versus automatic testing. In this article, we’ll explore each of these individually, so you can know which test is best for your application and team.
What is Manual Testing?
Before delivering an application to users, we need to make sure they are stable and behave as expected. If we do not do this, users will lose interest in the application because of poor user experience.
Manual testing does not wait for a user to report a bug or error — it is conducted before launch to find them manually by simulating user experience. In other words, we will try to mimic most of the user’s behavior to anticipate how the application will be used.
Deciding When to Use Manual Testing
Manual testing, as the name suggests, is a human job. Therefore, as long as the human can perform these tests more efficiently than a machine, then there is no need for automation.
A good example is when you test the overall UI & UX of the application. In this scenario, manual testing can help you find any issues related to the look and the feel of the application. If you find a certain feature that is not very user friendly, then chances are that the other users will see it the same.
At the same time, manual testing can be time consuming and is prone to human errors. Testing the same function each time the code is modified or a new feature is added not only is a waste of time, but also prone to overlooking due to repetition.
Manual testing is great when it touches things that a computer script will never do and when the time and effort required to do it is less than the effort required to create an automated script to do it for you.
Last but not least, doing things by hand requires less code experience and can be done by non-developers as well.
What is Automated Testing?
Test automation is when you take a test that you would do manually and write an automated script to do it for you. This can be achieved by writing low-level code and it can be relieved with the help of frameworks and even automated tools that can write the code for you.
Test automation works as follows. We create a script, configure it do to perform the actions that we want to test, like login/sign up, run the script under a certain scenario(invalid email address, duplicate username and so on…), receive the results, and at the end compare these results with a predefined response.
Deciding When to Use Automated Testing
Writing a test automation script not only requires experience, but can be very challenging and time consuming, depending on the scenario being tested.
Even though today we have tools that can make our job easier or maybe even do our job with simple drag and drop options, it still takes effort.
To maximize this work, we must be sure that this effort will save us time and not the other way around. Therefore, test automation is excellent and is best suited when you write it once and run it every time you need it.
Regression testing is one of the best use cases for test automation. Each time you deploy a new version or make a change to your application, you need to verify that this newly added feature will not impact the rest of the software. If you have an automated script that can do this for you, you will increase productivity and speed of delivery.
Test automation is great when you need quick results and should be used when certain parts of the application need to be tested more than once or twice over time. If you only deploy new versions of your application just a few times a year, then investing in test automation may not be a bonus for your team, especially if you don’t have specialized testers or time and resources to train them.
Test automation is here not to replace manual testing, but rather to extend it. Each one of them has its own field of applicability and brings benefits if used properly.
Before choosing one of them, first plan what needs to be tested and see if you have more benefits if you invest in automating the process or if it remains a manual task.