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In this age of Hyper-Automation why Manual testing is still a boon for enterprise app testing?


Test automation has gained much attention recently. Many of the Testers and Developers are using test automation to achieve speed and also organizations prefer automation to deliver on-time services. Automated testing can reduce testing efforts and can be seen as a replacement for manual testing.

According to QA Lead “2020 Software Testing Trends: QA Technologies, Data, &Statics”( 24 Actionable Software Testing Trends and Statistics for 2020 (theqalead.com)) 78% of organizations use test automation for functional or regression testing. Its benefits include executing recurring tasks, identifying bugs quicker, precision, and non-stop feedback — all of which save time, personnel, and ultimately lead to a lower software testing budget.

However, manual testing still holds a prominent place in the Quality Assurance process. Automation testing doesn’t have decision making capabilities. By making use of automated testing, testers will lose chances to improve the quality of product, while by interacting and visualizing during the testing process.  So, by using both manual testing and automated testing with different permutations and combinations will greatly improve the production quality of the software.

Why choose manual testing in this age of Hyper-automation?

A suite of test automation looks impressive but it can never replace a manual testing. Manual testing, is required for initial verification of system, so manual testing is required to automate and can never be replaced.

From the bar chart we can say that manual testing requires less efforts to train and need less number of tools to do testing as its USP(unique selling point) compared to automation testing, but manual testing requires more resources, time and infrastructure. Coming to automation testing it requires more tools and training slightly less infrastructure compared to manual testing and need very less time and human resource. So, from this we can say that manual testing has its own advantages from automation testing.

Let’s see some reasons why automated testing can’t fully replace manual testing

  • Manual testers can quickly reproduce customer-caught errors.
  • Automation can’t catch issues that humans aren’t aware of.
  • Automations is too expensive for small projects.
  • Manual testers learn more about user perspective.
  • Humans are creative and analytical.
  • There is a whole bunch of testing that simply must be manual.
  • There are scenarios that can’t be automated by their nature, for example, mobile applications with a big amount of tapping interaction or captcha verifications.
  • The key advantage of manual testing over automation is its ability to handle complex and nuanced test scenarios. This is achieved by manual creation and execution of tests.

Which scenarios ‘need’ Automation?

In general tests that take a lot of time and effort to perform manual testing and the scenarios which are more repeatable are most suitable for automation testing.

Some of them are:

  • Scenarios which are repeatable on each build, Eg: smoke and sanity tests
  • Scenarios repeatable on different browsers and operating systems, Ex: Comparability Testing
  • Tests that are impossible to perform manually, Ex: Performance testing
  • Tests that have significant downtime between steps, 
  • Scenarios which require multiple set of test data to validate, Ex: Data driven Test
  • Testing non-functionality of an application, Ex: Load testing and Performance testing
  • Test scenarios having low risk, stable codes that are not likely to change often
  • Test scenarios that are prone to human errors

Scenarios which can’t be automated?

In current times humans interact with apps and products in multiple ways- broadly through touch and touch-less.

Here are some examples of test cases that cannot be automated:

  • Using the camera feature of an app to take pictures in different lighting conditions.
  • Performing negative testing to test the reliability of the applications. (Negative mindset to break the application)
  • Hackers are adopting newer techniques and these scenarios have to be tested manually.
  • Applications that are touch-enabled cannot be automated.
  • Testing external features of hardware products, embedded systems etc.
  • Verifying whether a software product is accessible to the people having disabilities (deaf, blind, mentally disabled etc.)
  • Exploratory Testing is completely based on human experience, instincts, and observation while exploring the app as an end-user. Ideally, nothing can compete with the human eye. It is best to perform exploratory testing using a manual approach under any given situation.
  • Installation and setup testing system needs to test with different hardware and software such as loading CD-ROM, memory disks, and tapes. Such type of systems also require manual testing.

As we can see, some tests should be performed manually. This especially relates to tests that focus on user interfaces and usability. Although we could automate literally everything, manual testing still provides an effective and quality check of bugs and improprieties.

Scenarios which are expensive to automate?

The Bottom Line

It has been a fabulous experience so far sharing our thoughts around this topic.

This article gives an overall view about why we still have manual testing despite the existence of hyper-automation. Automated testing requires coding and test maintenance, but on the plus side, it is much faster and covers many more permutations. On the other hand manual testing is slow, but since it handles more complex scenarios, it still survives in the market today. So, no matter how great test automation evolved you can’t automate everything. Manual testing is still in use and there are still cases where it is the best choice. So, it’s important to consider both manual and automation approaches while you design your QA strategy. One of the key testing principles is that 100% testing automation is impossible, manual testing is still necessary. So, the final verdict is that automation won’t replace manual, but neither will manually obviate automation.

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