Manual-Auto Testing

There are two main methods of software testing; manual testing and automated testing. Manual testing engages human testers who meticulously navigate software interfaces, emulate user actions, and evaluate overall user experience. It excels in flexible, exploratory testing, often uncovering intricate issues. On the other hand, automated testing employs scripts and tools to swiftly execute predetermined test cases, making it effective for repetitive tasks, regression testing, and extensive projects. 

The choice between automated testing and manual testing is a frequent debate in the software testing landscape. Advocates of automated testing highlight its efficiency in repeating tests, catching regressions, and handling large-scale projects. It speeds up testing and provides a consistent approach, saving time and effort. However, it’s less effective at detecting subtle UI/UX issues and may require significant initial setup. 

On the other hand, proponents of manual testing emphasise its human touch, intuition, and adaptability. Manual testing excels at exploratory testing, uncovering unique issues, and assessing real user experience. It’s flexible and can validate non-functional aspects like visual design and usability. But it’s slower for repetitive tasks and might miss unnoticed defects. 

A Merit expert says, “Ultimately, we believe that the choice depends on factors like project scope and complexity, repetitiveness, testing frequency, budget and resources, user experience, human judgement and adaptability, and data variability.” 

In this blog, we look at manual testing vs automated testing in greater detail and explore the factors that help ease this choice for software development teams. 

Matching Testing Methods to Project Complexity 

Let’s say you’re working on a software project. One project is a budgeting app, where users input their income and expenses to track their finances. It’s relatively simple, with basic calculations and straightforward user interactions. On the other hand, you’re also working on a complex trading platform for financial markets.  

This platform involves intricate algorithms to execute trades, real-time data feeds, and complex user interactions. Here, the software’s functionality is much more intricate and requires precise handling of financial transactions in real time. 

In the case of the budgeting app, manual testing could be a reasonable choice. Testers can follow the app’s steps, input numbers, and check if the calculations match. They can also look at how easy it is to use and whether buttons work as expected. Since the app is relatively simple, testers can cover all its aspects manually without much difficulty. 

For the complex trading platform, manual testing becomes a challenge due to the intricate nature of its functions. Manually simulating real-time trades and data feeds for different scenarios is not only time-consuming but also prone to human error. This is where automated testing shines. Automated tests can simulate multiple trades, monitor real-time data, and ensure that the complex algorithms execute transactions correctly. 

Frequency of Testing: Impact on Approach 

Now, let’s consider how often these projects need testing. The budgeting app may not change very frequently. Updates might include adding new categories or improving the user interface. Since these changes aren’t constant, manual testing is manageable. Testers can go through the app each time there’s an update to make sure everything is still working as it should. 

In contrast, the trading platform operates in a dynamic financial market. It’s not just about occasional updates; it’s about real-time data and constantly evolving algorithms. The trading platform might get new features, bug fixes, or adjustments to the algorithms on a regular basis.  

This rapid pace of change requires frequent testing. Automated testing is much better suited for this situation. It can run tests quickly whenever there’s a new update, making sure that the complex algorithms and real-time data interactions still perform flawlessly. 

Evaluating Resource Demands for Effective Testing 

Let’s think about the resources needed for testing. For the budgeting app, manual testing is a feasible option. The app’s simplicity means that testers can manually go through each feature without needing a lot of specialised tools or extensive training. This keeps the cost and resource requirements low. 

On the other hand, the trading platform involves complex algorithms and real-time data feeds. Setting up manual tests for each possible trading scenario would be labour-intensive and prone to errors.  

Here, automated testing tools might require an upfront investment in terms of licences, training, and scripting. However, considering the ongoing need for frequent and reliable testing, the time saved and the accuracy achieved justify the initial expense. 

Subjectivity in Testing: Balancing User Experience 

When it comes to user experience, the budgeting app’s success depends on how user-friendly and intuitive it is. Manual testing is highly effective here. Testers can navigate through the app, ensuring that buttons are in the right place, the layout is clear, and the process of inputting data is smooth. They can provide subjective feedback on whether the app feels comfortable and easy to use. 

Conversely, the trading platform’s user experience is equally important, but it’s more complex due to its real-time data feeds and intricate features. While automated tests can handle functional aspects like executing trades, they might miss the subtleties of user experience.  

A human tester’s judgement is essential to evaluate the trading platform’s usability, ensuring that it’s not only functional but also intuitive for traders who need to make quick decisions in a high-pressure environment. 

Testing Agility: Human Adaptability and Judgment 

As the budgeting app evolves over time, manual testers can quickly adapt their approach. When new features are added or changes are made, testers can explore the app thoroughly and adjust their testing process accordingly. Since the app is relatively simple, manual testers can use their judgement to catch any issues that might arise. 

For the trading platform with its intricate algorithms, human judgement can be limited in catching subtle defects. Automated tests can rigorously verify complex calculations and interactions, ensuring precise execution of trades. With each update to the trading platform’s algorithms, automated tests provide consistent and adaptable validation, even in cases where human testers might overlook intricate issues. 

Navigating Complexity: Automated Testing’s Strengths 

In the trading platform, specific areas like the core trading algorithms and real-time data processing are absolutely critical. Here, automated testing shines. It can simulate numerous trading scenarios, ensuring that the platform accurately processes data and executes trades without errors. The platform also deals with a wide range of data variations, including different trade sizes, market conditions, and order types. Automated tests can handle these variations more efficiently and thoroughly than manual testers. 

In contrast, the budgeting app’s core calculations are straightforward and less intricate. While manual testing can cover these calculations effectively, the app’s simplicity means that automated testing might not add significant value. Automated tests might be overkill for something this basic, where manual testers can verify calculations without much effort. 

Embracing Balance: Hybrid Testing for Software Success 

In conclusion, in the intricate dance between manual and automated testing, while no one-size-fits-all approach exists, a strategic hybrid testing approach often holds the key.  

By harnessing the strengths of both manual and automated testing, teams can optimise their testing efforts. Manual testing brings human intuition and adaptability to explore new functionalities, while automated testing ensures precision in repetitive tasks and comprehensive validation of critical areas.  

The successful harmony of these factors results in a robust software testing strategy that meets the diverse demands of modern software development. 

Merit’s Expertise in Software Testing 

Merit is a trusted QA and Test Automation services provider that enables quicker deployment of new software and upgrades. 

Reliable QA solutions and agile test automation is imperative for software development teams to enable quicker releases. We ensure compatibility and contention testing that covers all target devices, infrastructures and networks. Merit’s innovative testing solutions help clients confidently deploy their solutions, guaranteeing prevention of defects at a very early stage.  

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