Automated vs Manual Testing

Manual testing

Manual testing is the process in which the test cases are performed manually. It requires a tester to play the role of an end user, use most of the software’s
features and ensure that they function as expected.
This process doesn’t necessarily require the support of scripts or tools.

Test automation

Test automation is the process of using software, tools or scripts to write tests, execute them and analyze their outcomes.
Being done through a testing software, less time is spent on executing the tests but more time for writing the tests scripts.
This increases overall tests coverage.

On the long run, manual tests require more physical time and effort. The testers have to record their findings, which means checking log files, external services and the database for errors.
Automation tests require more time for the implementation phase, but on the long run they are more efficient.
Further, we’ll detail some scenarios in which manual and automation testing perform best.

When to use manual testing?

Although manual testing is less accurate than automated testing, it gives testers more flexibility in their operation.
If a tester wants to test something right away, a manual test will be very easy to execute.
Manual tests are used to verify the usability because this part of the testing process requires creativity and original thought.

Automation tools can’t deviate from the testing script and won’t be able to provide the type of feedback a human tester would, when using the software.
Here are some approaches in which manual testing is recommended:

  • Exploratory testing
    This approach requires the knowledge and creativity of a human tester that seeks to find how the software really works and how it will handle the difficult situations. During exploratory testing, the team acquires valuable information about the software, that can later be used to find the right moments for automated tests.
  • Usability testing
    As we mentioned earlier, when the usability of the software is tested, manual tests will offer the best feedback. While automated tests are better at detecting errors in code, manual tests help testers to better understand how a user would interact with a certain feature or how people will navigate on the software’s interface.
  • Ad-hoc testing
    Here, there is no playbook. This is an unplanned approach in which the most valuable factors are the intuition and the knowledge of the tester. For this approach, testers don’t want to spend a lot of time on implementing the test cases, therefore, manual tests are the best option.

When to use automation tests?

Automation tests are convenient for medium to large projects (more than 3 months) that require constant testing for the same areas. They will help you avoid repetitive tasks, shorten the development time and improve overall software quality. While manual testing is prone to human errors, automated tests are expected to deliver the same results with every execution. Let’s see a couple approaches in which automation testing is recommended:

  • Regression testing
    Regression testing is the approach that verifies the whole software after a change was made. The change can be a new functionality, a bug fix or a configuration change. Automation testing will deliver the best results when used in this approach. It will execute a lot of tests in a short amount of time.
  • Performance testing
    Performance testing is used to examine responsiveness, stability, scalability, reliability, speed and resource usage of the software. There are different types of performance testing that can provide different data. One of them is load testing, that will measure how the system handle heavy load volumes.
    Automation testing can perform repetitive tasks in a short amount of time and analyze the results, therefore is well-suited for performance tests.
    Different scenarios require different types of testing. While automation testing is about the quantity of tests, manual testing is about the quality and require a deeper understanding of the user experience. Each approach is very important and if combined, they complete each other to create a sustainable testing process. WithTesterum, you can easily combine both approaches in a friendly UI. Learn more about it *here.