Manual Testing vs Automation Testing: Key Differences

The goal of any project is to get a high-quality and multifunctional project. To ensure proper quality, software testing is necessary, which is performed throughout the development of the project. Testing verifies the functionality of the product, identifies all defects, and ensures that all requirements are met. Initially, testing of a software product was carried out manually, but automatic testing has appeared with the development of technology. What are the benefits of automated testing? When to use manual testing and when to use automated testing? What's the difference between these two types of testing? These questions we break down in this article.

What Is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is a process in which QA analysts perform tests one by one individually. They validate key product features without using specialized automation tools, identify bugs and issues before launching the product to market, and generate summary bug reports.

Types of Manual Testing

  • Black Box Testing This type of testing is used at all levels of software testing, and it involves evaluating software functionality without analyzing the internal structure of the code.

  • White Box Testing This type of manual testing is also known as “Clear Box”, “Glass Box”, or “Structural Testing” and is based on the internal code structure of the application.

  • Unit Testing Also known as Component Testing, this type is used for checking the correct operation of a separate module.

  • System Testing This type tests the integrated application to verify that the system works as planned and meets all requirements.

  • Integration Testing This is the process of testing the interface between two software modules.

  • Acceptance Testing This is also known as pre-testing. There are different types of acceptance testing: alpha, beta, and gamma. This is done by end-users along with QA analysts to test the performance of the application and determine if the application designed meets the requirements set.

When to Use Manual Testing

  • Exploratory Testing This testing is done by subject matter experts. They don't know the requirements and investigate the functionality of the application.

  • Usability Testing This testing is performed to validate the usability of the application for end users.

  • Ad-hoc Testing Assumes testing the application in a random way without using test cases and without business requirements.

When Do You Prefer Manual Testing over Automation Testing?

  • For projects in the early stages of development
  • For testing visual aspects of user interfaces
  • For short-term projects
  • For conducting special testing

Manual Testing Benefits

  • It is less expensive compared to automated testing
  • Allows testers to get accurate visual feedback
  • Involves human judgment that benefits the whole process
  • Great for products where the GUI is constantly changing
  • Allows to perform ad-hoc testing
  • Great for projects with a short life cycle
  • It is suitable for all kinds of applications

Manual Testing Disadvantages

  • It is less reliable as people tend to make more mistakes while testing
  • The process of manual testing can’t be recorded, therefore, it can’t be reused
  • Requires more time as certain tasks are difficult to perform manually

What Is Automation Testing?

Automation testing is a process in which testers use special tools and scripts to automate testing. This type of testing allows you to run more test cases and also work more efficiently.

When to Use Automation Testing?

Regression Testing

Suitable for automated testing due to frequent code changes.

Load Testing

Used to test the system's capabilities: the ability to handle the number of expected operations and the behavior of the system during normal and peak loads.

Performance Testing

Checks the speed and stability characteristics of the application.

System Testing

This type of testing checks the finished system for functionality and the issue of errors. System testing ensures that the system functions properly.

Unit Testing

This approach is used to check the correct operation of individual modules.

When Do You Prefer Automation Testing over Manual Testing?

  • For repetitive and/or time-consuming tasks
  • For parallel testing
  • For getting more accurate results
  • For non-functional testing

Automation Testing Pros

  • Finds more bugs compared to manual testing
  • The process is fast and efficient
  • This process can be recorded and reused
  • Automation testing can work continuously as it does not depend on the person who needs time to rest
  • Test results are accurate
  • This type of testing supports various applications
  • Provides great testing coverage

Automation Testing Cons

  • Doesn’t require human observation, so it is difficult to understand the visual aspects (colors, fonts, sizes) of the user interface
  • Testing tools are expensive
  • Each automation tool has its own limitations that reduce the amount of automation
  • Suitable only for stable products

Difference Between Manual Testing and Automation Testing

Parameter Manual Testing Automation Testing
Definition The process is executed by a QA engineer without using software tools The testing is performed with the help of automation tools
Processing time Time-consuming Faster compared to the manual approach
Exploratory testing Possible Not possible
Initial investment Low, but the ROI is lower in the long run compared to automation testing High, but the ROI is higher in the long run
Reliability Not very accurate due to the presence of human errors Accurate and reliable as it is performed with the help of various automation tools
Test report visibility Manual tests are written in Excel or Word and test results are not always available Test results are stored in the automation system and all interested parties can check the test results by logging into the system
Human observation Involves human observation, which results in providing a user-friendly system It doesn’t involve human observation
Performance testing It is impossible manually Various performance tests (load testing, peak testing, etc.) must be verified with an automation tool
Parallel Execution Possible, but requires the increase of human resources Possible, it reduces test execution time
Batch testing Not possible Possible
Programming knowledge Required necessarily Not necessary
Deadlines Manual testing has a high risk of missing deadlines Automated tests have no risk of missing deadlines
Framework Doesn’t use frameworks Uses various frameworks (e.g. Hybrid, Keyword) to increase the processing speed
Ideal approach Useful when the test case only needs to be run once or twice Suitable for running the same set of test cases
Documentation Manual tests don’t provide training value Automated tests have educational value. New developers can explore unit testing examples and quickly understand the codebase

Frequently Asked Questions

So, you know the main differences between manual testing and automation testing, but if there are some questions that should be clarified, we’ll cover them in this section.

  • Can Automation Testing Replace Manual testing?

    The assertion that automatic testing can replace manual testing is erroneous, since both types are designed to improve the final quality of the product and, depending on the type of project, its goals, budget, and implementation timeline, you can choose one of the testing methods.

  • What are the popular automation testing tools in the market?

    Katalon Studio, Selenium, TestProject are some sought-after testing tools.

Conclusion

So, we have described the major characteristics of both manual testing and automation testing and highlighted key differences. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, and each of them should be chosen depending on the type of the project, its scope, requirements, timeline, and budget. Yojji has both QA analysts and QA automation analysts on board who can perform manual testing on a need basis. Our experts will perform any type of testing in the shortest possible time without compromising the quality of the testing process.

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