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Automation vs manual testing, which is better and why?

What do automation and manual testing actually mean?

Testing is an integral part of any successful software project. The type of testing depends on various factors, including project requirements, budget, timeline, expertise, and suitability.

When evaluating how to integrate QA into your project, it is critical to know the difference between manual and automated testing. Understanding the benefits of each type of testing allows you to decide when to implement manual testing and when automated testing to optimize the cost and time of the project.

The first question that may cross your mind is: Why go to the expense of manual testing when you can write automated tests? Automation sounds faster and cheaper, and is supposed to provide the same results as manual testing.

The truth is, automated testing does not replace manual testing, and it doesn’t provide the same results either. Here is why:

Manual testing: benefits and differences with automated testing

Manual testing means testing an application manually by a human. A Quality Assurance expert performing manual testing ensures that an application works correctly by following conditions written in test cases. The expert evaluates the application's design, functionality, and performance by clicking through various elements.

Manual testing brings insights and creative angles to the development process. At the same time, it takes into account user experience for clients using your software, making sure it is frictionless and intuitive.

Automation testing: benefits, disadvantages, and applications

Test automation has changed the software industry by enabling teams to test their software comprehensively and quickly. Automated testing is the process of executing QA tests with the assistance of automated software testing tools. It is ideal for repetitive tasks on a large scale at surface level, be it for functional testing, integration testing, or unit testing. The code runs tests automatically and compares the actual results with the expected results.

An automated test is a script that only tests what the script says. However, as humans, we can recognize if something we haven’t tested yet is failing. So even if the automated test is a great advantage for the software industry, it doesn’t replace manual testing. That’s why it’s important to determine what tests you will automate.

For example, an automated test doesn’t detect bugs on the user interface. It will test whether forms validations work well, but won’t recognize broken forms. Automated testing doesn’t ensure the user-friendliness of the application. Since there is no human observation involved, there is no guarantee of a positive customer experience.

On the other hand, the benefits of automated tests are real. You can automate recurring, repetitive tasks that are always the same. Data migration and its outcomes are a good example of what automation testing can be useful for.

Programming automated tests is not as quick as one might expect: the QA team needs to understand the software or application and then program the automations, double checking manually to ensure there are no errors in the code that fail to test capabilities. Many QA teams find that automation adds value to testing because it can cover more ground during the testing process.

Test automation tools

Employing the right test automation tool helps you improve your software testing in terms of efficiency, accuracy, and coverage. When evaluating and picking a test automation tool, consider the following areas to ensure that your team will benefit from automated testing: Platform compatibility, OS compatibility, test creation, ease of maintenance, and pricing policy.

Automated testing technologies continue to advance year after year. Test automation can free your QA team from tedious manual testing procedures to concentrate on other critical areas of the project. Therefore, the evaluation and selection of test automation tools are as crucial as the implementation of the tool into your testing process. And don’t forget that, whichever technology you choose, the key role in creating the automations is still that of the human developer, and therefore should always be assigned to expert QA teams.

Manual testing and automated testing: the perfect mix

By now, it's clear that when thinking about automated tests for your project, you should seek a combination of manual and automatic tests. The QA team has to go step by step, running manual tests to understand the application properly, and only after that can they automate what can be automated.

When you establish a trusted partnership with a QA organization such as uqality, you get more than just bug reports. Our team knows how to write and implement test automation and perform automated test cases after reaching a deep understanding of your project, and will advise you on how to improve the entire project cycle.

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