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Ensuring Software Quality: The Eternal Importance of Manual Testing

One could wonder if manual testing is still necessary in a time when automation and sophisticated testing methods are so prevalent. Manual testing is still an essential part of the software development lifecycle, despite the rise of automated testing methods.

The quality, usefulness, and general performance of software applications depend on the human touch and critical thinking skills involved in manual testing. In this post, we'll look at manual testing's historical relevance and the reasons it's still a crucial technique in the rapidly changing technological environment of today.


What is Manual Testing?

"Manual testing" refers to software testing techniques where a tester performs test cases without the assistance of automated technologies. The objective of manual testing is to identify flaws, problems, and defects in the software application. Manual software testing is the most basic method, which helps find critical flaws in the software program.


Before automation can be applied, a new application must first go through manual testing. Although manual software testing requires more labor, it is very important to assess the feasibility of automation. Understanding testing tools is not necessary for manual testing principles. The statement "100% Automation is not possible" is one of the fundamental principles of software testing, emphasizing the importance of manual testing.


Why is Manual Testing Still Important?


Time

While automated tests may run faster and require less intervention from testers, the setup of the automation infrastructure can be time-consuming. In certain scenarios, manual testing may be more efficient than automated testing. During the early stages of a project, when the setup of the automation environment and automated testing is relatively straightforward and less time-consuming, manual testing can be a quicker option.


However, for complex projects with numerous interconnected components, the automation environment and test setup can become more time-consuming and resource intensive. In some cases, the complexity of the project may make it challenging or excessively expensive to develop an automated environment and automated tests.


Exploratory Testing

In exploratory testing, system checks are made as they go along rather than using pre-written test cases. It can aid the tester in quickly identifying significant problems, assisting in the creation of a product that is genuinely required. Exploratory testing is relatively simple to perform, however, it cannot be done with automated testing because the latter uses test cases created by a test engineer. These situations are rigid, and the machine will only verify and check the things that are specified to be verified and examined - nothing else.


Experience in Automation

Incorrectly written and poorly executed automated tests can give misleading results, rendering them ineffective. Based on my personal experience working on multiple test automation projects, it is crucial to assign skilled engineers for the planning and execution of test automation. These engineers will design tests, build test environments, and maintain the code following recommended practices. Regular maintenance and review are necessary for ensuring the effectiveness of automated tests.


Security

For intricate projects, you should carefully consider each permission required for test execution. In some projects, test automation engineers may not have complete access to the system and may place limits on which environments and systems the tester is allowed access to. In these situations, it's critical to consider whether employing automated testing is worthwhile. On systems where you don't have the required access level, testing cannot be automated.


User Story Validation

User stories need to be manually tested for validation. In this scenario, the functionality must be carefully examined and verified using the provided documentation. Only a test engineer has the expertise to perform this task, as they need to manually test newly added features or modifications to ensure they are functioning correctly. Creating automated tests too early in the process can lead to issues. Test scenarios are written once manual tests for the specified functionality are completed. Defects must be addressed before conducting an unbiased functional test. Only after reaching this stage can automated tests be developed.


Human Sense

Human senses are absent from automated tests. After all, tests and value checks are performed by the computer. An app's visual appeal and the proper operation of its functionality are equally important to end users. The majority of the time, automated tests would merely verify that a text label's value was displayed on the screen, for example, but not its exact location.


In these circumstances, manual testing is practical because it is simple to confirm the element's visual appearance. To verify that there are no regressions in the business logic, it is much faster and less expensive to test the user interface manually when it is complicated (e.g., contains numerous animations or interactive features). There are visual automated testing solutions that evaluate the visual details of the software, but they will take some time and effort to set up and use.


Types of manual testing

image pie diagram for different types of manual testing such as Black box texting, white box texting, unit testing, system testing, integration testing, acceptance testing that are majorly used for seamless software testing
Different types of manual testing

Black Box Testing

Black box testing is a kind of software testing that looks only at the software's functionality without looking at its coding or internal structure. A customer-stated requirement specification serves as the main source for black box testing.


White Box Testing

It is based on an application's internal operations and centers on internal structure testing. The creation of test cases for this kind of testing necessitates programming knowledge. Focusing on the inputs and outputs through the software and enhancing its security are the main objectives of white box testing.


Unit Testing

Software testing with a focus on individual software system units or components is known as unit testing. Unit testing checks that each piece of software operates as intended and complies with specifications. Developers often carry out unit testing, which is done before the code is merged and tested as a whole system and is done early in the development process.


Each time the code is modified, unit tests are automatically run to make sure that the new code won't break any functionality already in place. A function or method, for example, can be tested independently from the rest of the system using unit tests, which are created to check the smallest possible unit of code. This enables programmers to quickly.


System Testing

System testing (ST) is a type of "black box" testing that assesses the system as a whole and its compliance with predetermined standards. Systems are tested end-to-end to ensure all of their capabilities work as intended. To measure system quality objectively, system testing is typically performed by a team that is separate from the development team. Testing is conducted in both functional and non-functional areas.


Integration Testing

After unit testing, the software testing process moves on to integration testing. Units or individual software components are tested collectively during this testing. The goal of the integration testing level is to identify flaws when integrated components or units interact.


Modules are used in unit testing for testing purposes, and integration testing combines and tests these modules. The Software is created using a variety of software modules that were created by various programmers or coders. Integrity testing is done to ensure that all of the modules are communicating properly.


Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing is a type of formal testing that is based on user requirements and function processing. It establishes whether the software complies with all necessary specifications and user needs. With the necessary users involved, it is carried out as a form of "Black Box" testing to determine the system's acceptance level. Before approving the finished product, the client does user acceptability testing (UAT), a sort of testing. The customer (domain expert) typically performs UAT to ensure customer satisfaction and to determine whether the application is functioning under real-world, business circumstances.


Manual Testing Vs Automation Testing

image that explains the difference between manual testing and automation testing
Difference between Manual testing and Automation testing

Automation testing involves using specialized software tools and scripts to carry out pre-defined test cases, whereas manual testing relies on human testers to confirm software operation through hands-on investigation. Large, complicated projects with regular changes are best served by automation testing because of its speed, dependability, and adaptability for repetitive work. However, manual testing gives testers the opportunity to use their creativity, intuition, and subject knowledge, making it useful for usability assessment and finding subtle flaws that automated scripts could overlook. The choice will rely on criteria including project size, money, and testing objectives. Both strategies are necessary in a

thorough testing plan.


Manual testing still plays a critical role in assuring software quality, even though automation testing has unquestionably altered the software testing landscape. It is an essential component of the testing process due to its capacity to identify UX flaws, test real-world scenarios, support exploratory testing, find bugs quickly, and encourage collaboration. Organizations can accomplish a thorough and successful approach to software quality assurance by combining the benefits of automated and human testing, producing strong, user-friendly, and dependable software applications.

 

Read my previous article to understand the significance of strong APIs in protecting your UI from unauthorized access and potential risks.


2 Comments


Guest
Aug 17, 2023

Good one!

Like

Guest
Aug 17, 2023

Insightful article

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