Automation Testing vs. Manual Testing: What’s the Best Approach For You?
Take a close look at the pros and cons of manual and automated testing.
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One of the essential aspects of the software development life cycle is the process of testing to verify the quality of the project. Whether you are launching a mobile app or developing a website, if you don’t test it before launching, then you might not get what you are expecting.
Software testing is the process of evaluating the functionality of your web app to verify whether it meets the intended requirements of not. More than that, it also identifies the defects in your app to ensure you produced a quality product. Defining software testing in words is not that simple, but it broadly categorized and classified in two specific areas – manual testing and automated testing. Both these approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages.
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In this article, we are going to discuss both these testing processes, how they are different than each other, the advantages and disadvantages of using each, and some other aspects. So, let’s start with manual testing.
What is Manual Testing?
As the name suggests, manual testing is the process of testing your web app manually with the help of quality analysts or testers. In manual testing, testers write scripts for different scenarios and then perform the test manually to ensure that the application is working fine with the conditions written in the test cases. They verify the functionality, design, and performance of the web app by going through various elements.
There are many scenarios when manual testing is more helpful than automated testing, such as testing a mobile application when you cannot predict how it will behave with automated tests. Moreover, in manual testing, you have to very careful while going through the test cases because with one mistake, you might end up crashing your site.
What is Automated Testing?
When there is very little human interaction is required to perform testing of a web app, it is considered automated testing. However, automated testing requires an automation tool to run the test cases and find defects in your web applications. It is more handful when you need to perform repetitive and regression testing to ensure that a web app works correctly, even if new changes are implemented to it.
In automation testing, you don’t have to write test scripts again and again; the automation tool performs all the testing automatically after setting the environment on your system. Some of the most popular automated testing tools are LambdaTest, Browserstack, TestingWhiz, Ranorex Studio, SmartBear, etc.
Differences Between Manual and Automated Testing
There are many differences between manual and automated testing. Here, we tried to highlight the significant differences.
1. Manual testing is prone to human errors, thus have low accuracy and reliability for test results.
1. Automate testing is proven to be more reliable as tools and scripts perform tests.
2. Manual testing costs entirely depend on the human resources deployed in testing.
2. Automated testing costs depend on the testing tools that you use for automation.
3. Manual testing requires much more time than expected, as it entirely depends on human resources.
3. Automated testing requires very little time compared to manual testing.
4. Manual testing is ideal when you need to run test cases once or twice.
4. Automated testing is reliable when you need to execute test cases repeatedly.
5. With manual testing, exploratory testing is possible.
5. Automated testing doesn’t allow exploratory testing.
6. With manual testing, performance testing of the web app is not feasible.
6. Automated testing allows you to execute performance tests like stress testing, load testing, etc.
7. With manual testing, you can execute tests in parallel, but you will have to increase human resources.
7. With automated testing, you can execute tests on multiple devices in parallel while lessening the test execution time.
8. Build verification testing is not easy with manual testing; it also consumes a lot of time.
8. With automation testing, build verification testing can be carried out quickly.
When Is Manual Testing Required?
A few testing scenarios can only be executed manually, no matter what you do, these scenarios cannot be automated.
Usability is performed to verify whether the application is user-friendly or not. The primary reason to execute usability testing is to ensure that end users can easily understand and navigate through a website. This type of testing is only feasible via manual testing.
This type of testing is performed to explore the functionalities of a web app without knowing the requirements; it is carried out by domain experts.
Ad-hoc is not an important consideration, but it is performed to test an application randomly without following any documents and test design techniques. Only testers with high knowledge of an application can execute ad-hoc testing.
Types of Manual Testing that Can Be Executed Automatically
There are multiple scenarios that can be performed both manually and automatically. Below we have mentioned those types:
Black Box Testing is performed when you need to check the functionalities and requirements of the system.
White Box Testing is also called glass box testing, and is based on the information of the internal logic of an application’s code.
Unit Testing is performed to test a specific component of software or a web app. Testers usually execute it because it requires internal knowledge of design and code.
Integration Testing verifies the joint functionality after integration. The modules used in integration testing are individual applications, code modules, or client and server applications on a network.
Acceptance Testing is also known as pre-production testing, which is performed by end-users in collaboration with testers to validate the functionality of web apps.
All these testing can be carried out both with automation tools or manually, but there are a few testing techniques that should be tested with automation tools.
When to Use Automation Testing
The following scenarios require automation testing for faster test coverage.
As the name implies, load testing is performed to verify whether an application is capable of handling the desired load or not. In short, it tests the application behavior under both peak and normal conditions.
Testers need to execute repeated tests during a web app testing, which is performed to find any defects in the application after applying a few changes to the design or functionality, and manual testing is not the ideal approach for it. Thus, automated testing is best suited for regression tests.
To measure the speed, stability, and scalability of an application, testers perform the performance testing. The primary goal of performance testing is to eliminate any performance issues with the web app. Thus, automated testing is the best approach for it.
Cross-browser testing is executed to analyze the functionality of web apps across a combination of various browsers, OS, and devices. Thus, performing it via manual testing is not advisable because it will take a lot of time and resources.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Manual and Automated Testing
As we mentioned earlier, both manual and automated have their pros and cons. Below, we tried to cover them in detail.
Pros of Manual Testing
Some of the benefits of manual testing include that it:
Provides accurate and visual feedback;
Is viable for all types of applications, whether it’s a web app or mobile app;
Is better if you have a short life cycle project;
Is more cost-effective than automated testing in terms of initial investments;
Is recommended for projects where the GUI changes continuously, and fewer changes are made to other elements;
Allows testers to perform ad-hoc testing;
Involves human interaction, which is always beneficial for any project;
You don’t need to have automation knowledge to test your web app with manual testing.
Cons of Manual Testing
Some of the disadvantages of manual testing include that it:
Is considered less reliable than automation testing, as it is conducted by a human, making it prone to human error;
Cannot be recorded; you will have to write it in notepad. So, you will not be able to reuse manual test;
Is more time-consuming than automation testing, especially during regression testing;
Is not ideal when some tasks are too challenging to be performed manually;
Is more expensive than automation testing in the long run.
Pros of Automated Testing
Some of the benefits of manual testing include that it:
Allos w you to find more bugs compared to human testers;
Allows recording test sessions, which can be reused for another scenario;
Provides a faster and efficient testing process;
Is conducted with the help of automation tools, that provide screenshot API features to generate screenshots of the testing process automatically;
More powerful, robust, and versatile than manual testing;
Is more cost-effective compared to manual testing in the long run;
Can improve productivity in your organization as it provides fast and accurate testing results;
Provides support for multiple applications, whether they are mobile-based, or desktop-based;
Allows you to increase your test coverage due to automation tools that you will use.
Cons of Automated Testing
Some of the disadvantages of manual testing include that:
As very little human intervention is required, it becomes difficult to get insight into visual aspects of the user interface, such as contrast, resolution, button size;
It is not a permanent solution as every automation tool has some limitations that can reduce the scope of automation;
Automated testing tools can be expensive based on your requirements and subscription;
Requires continuous maintenance if there are repeated changes in an application;
Another major problem to tackle is the debugging of test scripts, which is not easy in automation testing.
The pros and cons of both automated and manual testing are very confusing, as there are some things that manual testing provides, and automation doesn’t. Whereas, automation testing offers some extraordinary capabilities that are not available with manual testing.
After knowing these facts, you might be confused about whether to choose manual testing or automated testing. Well, both manual and automation testing are still widely used by large as well as small enterprises based on their requirements. So, it’s all up to your project requirements and budget when it comes to choosing a testing approach. That’s all we have for now. I hope this article will help you guys understand the difference between manual and automated testing.
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about Automated Testing, check out this collection of tutorials and articles on all things Automated Testing.
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