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The Power Duo: Why Manual and Automated Testing Are Both Essential

QA Engineer

Testing is a crucial phase in the software development life cycle, and there's no question about the importance of testing a product before it goes live. However, sometimes you may wonder what the best testing approach is: manual or automated. Why not both? Talking from experience, using a combination of manual and automated testing has shown to be the most comprehensive and effective form of quality assurance.

Keep reading to learn more about this powerful duo and how to make the most out of both. 

Human Touch in QA: Manual Testing

When we think about manual testing, the first thing that comes to mind is browsing the app and navigating through its features. However, manual testing plays a much more significant role in software quality.

It brings a unique set of skills, intuition, and adaptability into a project that automated tools may struggle to replicate. It brings a human touch to the quality assurance process. Most importantly, without thorough manual testing and resolving all reported bugs, you can’t even begin with automated testing. 

The most common types of manual testing are:

  • Exploratory testing: A dynamic type of testing that allows the QA engineer to test outside the test cases.
  • Usability testing: Ensures that the app is intuitive for its end users and meets their needs and expectations.  
  • User-acceptance testing: A type of testing where the end users or clients participate in product testing to validate the product’s requirements.
  • Functional testing: This is when we make sure that every feature in the app works as intended based on the specified software requirements. 

Of course, there are many more types of testing that you can use, depending on the app and situation. In certain cases, what appears logical to automation tools may not align with the human perspective. That’s why it’s important to be creative and think outside the box in manual testing.

Automated Testing

As apps grow in size and complexity, manual testing becomes more challenging, extensive, and time-consuming. Given these factors, there’s a higher chance of encountering errors that could potentially lead to the release of a production version with bugs. This is when automated testing comes into play. By incorporating automated testing into your project, you can ensure that any previously developed features are tested daily and work properly. 

The most common types of automated testing are:

  • Load testing: Determines the system’s capacity and potential bottlenecks.
  • Stress testing: Identifies the breaking point of the feature or system.
  • Regression testing: Makes sure that changes or updates to already existing features haven’t led to any new errors. 

Nowadays, there are plenty of frameworks used for automated testing. For example, Playwright and Cypress are the most popular ones for web apps. For mobile apps, however, it’s Appium and Maestro.

In the end, you can't go wrong with whatever decision you make. The beginning might be a bit challenging, but there are plenty of online resources to provide you the initial support, so there's no need to stress over it. 

Let’s Explore the Benefits

Every project will require different testing demands. So, before starting a project, make sure to define everything with the team: What type of app are you testing? Is it a web or mobile app? Which devices need to be covered?

It’s important to note that testing is very context-dependent. Depending on the application type, you might use a different approach, methodologies, techniques, and types of testing. For example, when working on a banking app, the QA engineer will have to think about all the crucial testing types that will be needed in the banking sector. In this scenario, it's crucial to test aspects like security, authentication, and error handling in great detail.

On the other hand, there are apps that don’t store as much personal data, like a weather app, which then leads to a different testing approach. Here, it’s crucial to test UI, location, and offline functionality.

Right now, you might be wondering: How do I know which approach to choose? No worries, after an initial kick-off workshop with your project team, the QA engineer will provide you a bigger picture of the QA process. They’ll guide you through the best approach to enhance your app's quality, integrating both automated and manual testing. This approach offers several benefits, such as: 

  1. Cost efficiency: Strategic use of both manual and automated testing will prove beneficial in the long run. This way, you’ll be able to redirect resources to other parts of the app, whether redesigning old features or refactoring the code.
  2. Wide test coverage: Automated testing will cover repetitive testing, focusing on features that undergo infrequent changes, such as Login, Registration, and similar aspects of the app. On the other hand, manual testing comes into play when a more hands-on, human approach is necessary.
  3. Detecting critical issues and bugs early in the development process: Identifying problems at an early stage will lead to greater satisfaction when it comes to the team's progress and project approach.
  4. Being more flexible in an agile environment: You can use manual testing for changes in certain features and automated testing for unchanged features.
  5. Validating complex scenarios: Some cases are complex and harder to automate. This way, the QA team will have more time to manually test them.
  6. Regular feedback: This approach promotes a continuous feedback loop between manual and automated testing. All insights that you gain from manual testing can be used to enhance and update automated test scripts, fostering ongoing improvement.
  7. Confidence in the release: Releases can be stressful, but combining automated and manual testing boosts confidence in the software's quality and reliability for both clients and developers.

Wrapping It Up

To sum up, both manual and automated testing are essential for achieving the highest standards in software quality assurance. While manual testing offers a unique set of skills, intuition, and a human touch, automated testing provides efficiency and precision in the QA process, especially when the app’s complexity grows. 

Embracing both methodologies ensures a comprehensive approach to testing, mitigating the risks associated with human limitations, increasing productivity, satisfaction of end users, and better utilization of the QA budget. By recognizing the complementary strengths of manual and automated testing, you set the stage for projects to succeed in the dynamic software development environment. 

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About the author

Filip is a QA Engineer. Apart from testing, he enjoys mentoring and keeping up with the latest technology trends. In his free time, he likes to cook and work on his squash techniques.


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