Busting the myths. Why automated testing doesn’t replace manual testing

QTeam Solutions
4 min readFeb 26, 2024

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Busting the myths. Why automated testing doesn’t replace manual testing

In the age of lightning-fast development cycles and ever-evolving technologies, there is a continuous debate brewing between automated and manual testing. While automated testing promises speed and efficiency, it’s crucial to understand that it doesn’t render manual testing obsolete. Instead, these two approaches work best as a complementary team, tackling different aspects of software quality assurance. In our blog post, we’ll debunk some common myths and dive deeper into the unique value each brings.

What is manual testing

This involves a human tester interacting with the software to identify bugs or unexpected behavior. Activities include writing test cases based on requirements, executing those tests step-by-step, comparing actual results with expected outcomes, and logging any defects found. For example, a manual tester might check if a login form works correctly, if error messages appear in the right situations, and if the website looks good across multiple browsers.

What is automated testing

Here, software does the testing by running pre-programmed test scripts that mimic user behavior and check for issues. Examples include regression tests to ensure changes don’t break existing features, load testing to see how the system handles traffic spikes, and unit tests by developers to validate individual code components. An automated test might repeatedly enter invalid login credentials to ensure the correct error appears every time.

Myth #1: Automation catches all bugs

We’ve all been there. The app is visually stunning. Every box and button look great and you can’t wait to roll it out. But it turns out that those buttons don’t look so well on certain resolutions and the various dialogue boxes aren’t getting the right information across. So, your beautiful app becomes one that’s frustratingly clunky to use.

Automated tests excel at verifying core functionalities like logins and calculations. However, they lack the human eye and intuition needed to assess user experience (UX).

Imagine a beautifully designed onboarding flow riddled with confusing instructions and non-intuitive layouts. Automated tests wouldn’t catch these nuances, leaving a user lost and frustrated — which is not what you want. Only a manual tester, by following the actual user journey, can identify these usability roadblocks and ensure a smooth, intuitive experience.

Aspects like unclear button labelling, text-heavy pages, unclear error messages, lack of touch-friendly elements on mobile devices, or a non-responsive design, just to name a few, are the types of things that can be identified through manual testing.

Myth #2: Manual testing is slow and outdated

Yes, automated tests are undeniably faster. But speed shouldn’t be the sole focus. Manual testing offers the unique advantage of exploratory testing. This involves software testers freely exploring the software, uncovering unexpected issues and edge cases that might escape scripted tests. Like a complex data entry form with hidden validation rules. Automated tests might miss these, while a manual tester, through exploratory testing, might discover a combination of inputs that triggers an unexpected error message.

Plus, the challenges related to speed can be mitigated by developing customer personas that software testers can then use to guide their exploration towards areas with higher risk or potential for issues.

Myth #3: Automation is expensive and requires coding expertise

While the initial investment in tools and setup can be significant, the long-term benefits often outweigh the costs. Automated tests do save time and effort, especially for repetitive regression testing, freeing up manual testers for more strategic tasks like the exploratory testing we mentioned earlier. But the good news is, that automation is no longer the exclusive domain of software developers. Many modern tools offer user-friendly interfaces and visual scripting, making them accessible to software testers with varying technical backgrounds.

Startups or small companies can take advantage of this and do some of their automated software testing in-house. But in situations where your team lacks the expertise or time to learn to use an automated testing tool outsourcing is another way to go. In the end, it’s up to your organization to decide where it wants to focus its energy.

Automation and manual testing work together

Instead of viewing each of these software testing approaches as rivals, imagine automated and manual testing as complementary teammates, each with unique strengths:

  • Automated tests run first, providing a solid foundation by quickly identifying regressions and ensuring core functionalities are intact
  • Manual testers then build upon this foundation by exploring uncharted territory, assessing user experience, and delving into non-functional aspects like performance, security, and accessibility

It’s not about speed or automation alone, but about using the right tool for the right job. Leveraging the strengths of both automated and manual testing enables comprehensive software quality assurance, ultimately delivering exceptional experiences for your customers.

How can QTeam help?

Here at QTeam Software Solutions we go beyond just building and maintaining software — we also provide expert software testing services. With years of experience in the IT field, we craft solutions specific to your needs. Let’s discuss your software project — contact us today!

Get in touch with us — https://qteam.solutions/#contact

Image by DC Studio on Freepik

Originally published at https://qteam.solutions on February 26, 2024.

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QTeam Solutions

Our team delivers complex digital solutions in industries like e-learning, e-commerce and social media marketing