Blog   Manual vs. Automated Testing: The Eternal Debate is Over

Manual vs. Automated Testing: The Eternal Debate is Over

By Kate Punova
Reading Time: 4 minutes

We all agree that testing the software has become integral to any project seeking success. Software testing is a vast domain with the everlasting combination of manual and automated approaches. It`s essential to know the difference and the ways to apply each to achieve the best results. Manual testing (suggested by its name) requires executing test cases without the use of additional tools. Automated testing, by contrast, involves script writing, the use of tools and software.

The choice between the two depends on the project requirements, complexity, budget, timeline, etc. “Quality and cost-efficiency” describes best the core factors of any project today. Sometimes the right choice of a testing method may help to accomplish the goal better than another. Yet there are cases when an effective combination of manual and automation is the only way to release successfully.

Preferred options for manual and automated testing

Manual testing

“What happens if I do this?”- asks manual QA engineer when checking the software. Such monitoring may become one of the best ways to measure the level of software effectiveness and convenience.

In short, the following areas and scenarios suit best to be performed manually:

  • Exploratory testing. QA engineers don`t usually include these tests in the test plan. Such testing implies simultaneous overview of the project, its functional specifics, and test case design. The effectiveness of such testing depends on QA engineers previously experienced in checking a particular application type or platform. Their knowledge of the local accumulation capabilities and the risks associated with a product always come in handy during the exploratory tests.
  • Ad-hoc testing. There is no specific approach to the testing and, therefore, no ways to automate the process. Since it is an unplanned testing method, experience and skills of QA engineers are the only crucial factors.
  • GUI tests. GUI testing checks if the product user interface system works correctly. QA specialists also ensure if an app/software is easy to navigate from the users` perspective. That`s why manual approach is preferable here.

Manual testing

Automated testing

QA engineers automate the tests using dedicated tools to run predefined tests and actions written in the test script. Although the key objectives are the same, automated tests show their effectiveness in a bit different areas of software QA.

  • Regression Testing. The purpose of this test is to make sure that the software changes had no negative impact on the existing functions. QA engineers usually conduct a series of 3-5 testing sessions. Although manual testing can be applied, it might be expensive and time-consuming. That is why automation tools help to complete regression testing as soon as possible. It saves nearly 60% time for bug detection and 40% in costs.
  • Load testing. Automation helps to find out how a system can handle a large number of visitors. It’s rather difficult for a company to find thousands of users, who visit the page simultaneously, so QA specialists write scripts, simulating concurrent website visits.

A QA specialist, who performs manual testing, has to be attentive, innovative, resourceful. Some people may think that because of technological improvement the manual testing era is over, but in reality, this classic method has become vital for software development. Why? Let’s find out!

Advantages of manual testing:

  • requires less initial investment, if compared to automated;
  • delivers accurate interface feedback thank to QA engineer`s check-up and analysis;
  • checks even small modifications on the go;
  • handles complicated use case situations more effectively;
  • enables getting the exact replication of user behavior with websites and mobile apps.

automated testing importance

Automation testing is also very important, but it can’t replace human professionalism and that is why:

  1. Automated way isn’t able to become a universal tool. Manual testing can adapt to the special software features.
  2. Manual testing can check interface elements and pick up best solutions. A QA tester examines whether design components in the interface elements conform to each other in the conclusive layout.
  3. Automation does help optimizing human resources. E.g., AI-based automated tools can occupy nearly 70% of repetitive testing space. But QA engineers are required to control test outcomes and focus on the remaining 30% dealing with user scenario tests. Moreover, the human factor remains responsible for tooling, workflow modeling, and environment set up. While AI might be a smart assistant in running repetitive tests, it is a QA engineer who monitors the progress, considers test plan, takes control over QA strategy and objectives.

Yet that doesn`t mean automated testing plays little role in software quality. Our team of automation QA engineers points out the following advantages their work brings to the project growth:

  1. Automation is all about near-perfect test coverage. Unlike manual, automated test scripts deliver more accurate results.
  2. Time-efficiency is another benefit. By automating the repeating tests, QA engineers get results quickly and timely.
  3. Automation process can be recorded. This enables to reuse and execute the same testing operations.
  4. The method performs functional tests through the GUI test layer. QA engineers emulate the repeated, non-changing actions of the end user interacting with the software interface (e.g. entering address details).

A Happy Medium

Notably, automated and manual testing can’t exist separately. The team of automated QA engineers completes a test checklist following manual test cases. When QA specialists adopt multiple benefits and take into account drawbacks of these approaches, they conduct a complex, professional software quality assurance. Robust automation brings about efficiency in the whole testing process, while manual testing remains less costly and more helpful checking user interface.

There is no universal way of testing; each project requires a unique approach. Thanks to the combination of manual and automated testing, it’s possible to detect all the possible software failures at early stages. If you are to implement a combined QA strategy in your project, think of its budget, deadline, and team`s skillset. Looking for a QA team to test your software, choose the one that offers a combined strategy. In such a way, you will reap the advantages of both methods.

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