Home TECHNOLOGY Manual vs. Automated: Which Testing Method Is Best?

Manual vs. Automated: Which Testing Method Is Best?

Test manually or automatically? All software developers face this question sooner or later. Today, we find out the advantages and disadvantages of both types of testing. Which approach is better? Look for the answer at the end of the article.

Manual testing features

Manual testing is the process of finding errors in an application manually, without the use of special software. The tester imitates real user actions. He tries to cover as many product features as possible and find software mistakes. The specialist looks for errors in the UI, functionality, and logic of the application, and checks its reliability and convenience.

Manual testing benefits:

  • It doesn’t require a large initial investment. Some early-stage startups don’t have a professional tester on their team. The whole team participates in testing. Thus, the initial investment in manual testing can be $0.
  • It’s convenient for user interface testing. Small changes in the UI (such as changing the identifier, buttons, etc.) do not interfere with the manual testing process.
  • There is no need for programming skills.
  • Simple test execution setup.
  • It’s handy for testing non-repetitive test cases.

Manual testing downsides:

  • It’s time-consuming.
  • It requires a lot of human resources.
  • The ROI of manual testing is lower compared to automation testing in the long-term period.
  • Lower accuracy compared to automated testing because of the high risk of human error.
  • It is not economically viable to conduct some types of tests, such as regression testing, cross-browser and cross-platform testing, and performance testing due to the huge time costs.
  • Test results are not always available to all stakeholders.
  • High risks of missed deadlines.

When to use manual testing

Manual testing is the only solution available when you have a very tight testing budget. Manual testing allows you to get fast and accurate user interface feedback. This is a good choice for small projects and startups. With manual testing, you do not need to spend money on special software. However, a good test case management system can simplify your routine. Here you can read more about how it works.

Automated testing features

Automated testing is performed using specialized software. A QA automation engineer writes scripts in a programming language. Then they are executed automatically. The purpose of automated testing is to reduce testing time, detect the maximum number of bugs, and cover the most critical functionality with tests.

Automated testing helps you perform repetitive tasks. With automation, you can perform some testing types (regression, cross-browser and cross-platform testing, E2E, API testing, and others) that are almost impossible to do manually. At the same time, automation requires significant costs for creating test scripts and for setting up automation tools.

Benefits of automated testing:

  • Speed. Automation can speed up the testing process up to 1000 times.
  • High ROI in the long-term period.
  • Reliability, because the possibility of human error is minimized. Testing is done by tools and scripts. Thus, there is no risk that the tester will miss a bug due to fatigue.
  • Automated reporting that is available to all stakeholders.
  • It allows you to test the application from all possible sides. Automation enables regression testing, performance testing, load testing, cross-browser and cross-platform testing, and many other testing types.
  • Ability to run tests in parallel.
  • The possibility to schedule large volumes of tests to execute outside business hours. Before the end of the working day, the tester runs the tests, and the next day he receives the results.
  • Parallel testing.

Automated testing downsides:

  • The huge amount of initial investment in testing software and in hiring automation engineers/retraining existing teams.
  • Not cost-effective for small products with little regression testing.
  • Mandatory knowledge of programming.

When to use

Automated testing is a smart choice if you are developing a complicated project. Automation provides high test coverage. It means that we can find more bugs in the software than if we tested it manually.

Another key benefit that automation provides is speed. You boost up the entire testing process, bring the release time closer and gain a competitive advantage. You need automation if you have a multi-component application and the cost of missing an error is high.

Which testing type is best?

There is no definite answer to this question. Test automation has many advantages. However, it is impossible to automate everything. Moreover, some types of tests can be performed only manually. On the other hand, manual testing is a good choice for testing small products. The best option for most projects is a combination of manual and automated testing. When your QA team has specialists for both areas, you have everything you need to release a high-quality product.

Software plays a key role in organizing testing. It speeds up QA workflow, provides reporting, facilitates the testing process, and easily integrates with other tools that the team uses. Zebrunner testing platform allows you to plan, execute tests, analyze and get reports on all QA activities. The solution is suitable for both manual, and automated testing. The platform provides you with a complete overview of QA activities with an intuitive interface.

Also Read: How To Perform Mobile Web Testing?

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