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Manual Testing vs Automation Testing: Pros and Cons

Manual Testing vs Automation Testing Pros and Cons

As we enter 2024, Manual Testing vs Automation Testing remains a hotly contested debate, closer than what many would think. 

In the realm of software testing, automation has helped transform the speed and efficiency of bringing new features to market and ensuring a flawless user experience. With its ability to enhance productivity and expand test coverage across diverse devices, browsers, and operating systems, automation testing has become essential for developers and QA testers, among others. Despite these advancements, manual testing continues to hold a significant role in the testing landscape.

This article explores manual testing vs automation testing in ecommerce, exploring the differences, advantages, and drawbacks of these methods to help guide your decision-making.

Contents:

What is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is a fundamental method in software testing where human testers execute test cases without automated tools. This hands-on approach relies on the tester’s intuition and attention to detail, making it valuable for scenarios requiring adaptability and spontaneous evaluations. 

Whether uncovering defects or assessing the user experience, manual testing remains a cost-effective and indispensable method in ensuring software / application functionality and quality.

What is Automation Testing?

Automation testing, also known as automated testing or test automation, is a software testing  method that leverages specialized tools and/or frameworks to execute predefined test cases. Unlike manual testing, this approach eliminates the need for human testers to perform repetitive tasks, leading to faster and more consistent results. 

Automation testing is particularly beneficial for large-scale projects, where efficiency and repeatability are essential. It is widely used to provide comprehensive test coverage, especially in the face of the expanding landscape of devices, browsers, and operating systems.

Differences Between Manual Testing vs Automation Testing

There are a number of factors for businesses to consider when choosing between manual testing and automation testing. The below table breaks down the differences between the two based on common software testing requirements.

CriteriaManual TestingAutomation Testing
AccuracyLess accurate due to human errors, excels in complex scenarios requiring judgement.Very accurate for repeatable scenarios, less accurate for tasks needing human judgement or interactions relying on integrated systems.
Cost EfficiencyCost-effective for complex, investigative, or usability tests, suitable for infrequent runs.Cost-effective for repetitive tests, especially regression tests, repeated across iterations or development cycles.
ReliabilityMore reliable for exploratory testing, identifying subtle issues or inconsistencies.More reliable for repetitive tests, ensuring consistency.
Test CoverageCovers a wide range of scenarios, including those needing human intervention. Inefficient for large, complex scenarios.Covers a wider range, including large and repetitive scenarios. Not suited for instances requiring human intuition.
ScalabilityNeeds time when testing is needed at a large scale.More efficient for large, routine, and repetitive tasks at scale.
AgilityRequires more time to complete a testing cycle, and thus the turnaround time is higher.Generally has fast execution times hence a low turnaround.
User ExperienceEffective in testing user experience through human observation and cognitive abilities.Ineffective in testing user experience as most automation tools lack human observation and cognitive abilities.
Human Resources/SkillsNo programming skills required, relies on hands-on testing experience.Some tools requires programming skills, although there are also no-code tools like Valido that eliminates coding requirements.

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Pros and Cons of Manual Testing vs Automation Testing

Manual Testing

Pros:

  • Human intuition: Manual testing leverages human intuition, excelling in exploratory scenarios to uncover unforeseen issues and provide a personal touch to testing.
  • Well-suited for ad-hoc testing: Manual testing is particularly effective for one-time or ad-hoc testing requirements, adapting to unique scenarios.
  • Cost-effective for small projects: Cost-effective for smaller-scale projects or instances where automated solutions may not be practical.

Cons:

  • Time-consuming: Manual testing is time-consuming, especially for repetitive tasks that could be streamlined with automation.
  • Prone to human error: Being dependent on human execution, manual testing is susceptible to human errors.
  • Limited scalability: While effective for smaller projects, manual testing faces limitations in scalability for larger and complex endeavours.

Automation Testing

Pros:

  • Rapid execution: Automation testing ensures faster execution of repetitive tasks, significantly reducing the time needed for testing cycles.
  • Consistent and repeatable results: Automation guarantees consistency and repeatability in test results, minimizing the chances of errors in execution.
  • Ideal for large-scale projects: Well-suited for large-scale projects where efficiency and reliability are paramount.

Cons:

  • Initial setup and maintenance costs: Automation testing may involve initial setup costs, a learning curve and ongoing maintenance, which may be a deterrent for smaller projects.
  • Not suitable for exploratory testing: While efficient for repetitive tasks, automation is not ideal for exploratory scenarios where human intuition is crucial, such as usability testing.
  • Limited adaptability to changes: Automated tests might face challenges adapting to changes, requiring continuous updates to maintain effectiveness.

When to Choose Manual Testing vs Automation Testing

In weighing the pros and cons of manual and automation testing, the choice depends not only on the organization, but also on the specific needs of the project, its complexity, team resources, and testing goals. 

Manual testing is beneficial for exploratory scenarios, uncovering unforeseen issues. It shines in scenarios requiring human intuition and adaptability. Manual testing is also a good option when dealing with one-time or ad-hoc testing, and smaller-scale projects.

On the other hand, automation testing excels in large-scale projects with repetitive tasks that require efficiency, consistency, and repeatability in execution. Automation is efficient for regression testing and scenarios where speed and reliability are both critical. 

Wrapping Things Up

The decision between Manual Testing vs Automation Testing is a critical decision that hinges on the project scope, testing objectives, and other factors. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that manual testing is not a bad thing. In fact, it still plays a critically important role in today’s software testing landscape, especially when the human eye can distinguish what even the best automation testing tools cannot.

Therefore, striking the right balance between manual and automation testing is crucial for streamlined development and quality assurance processes. The Valido App serves as a solution that strategically combines both testing methods, optimizing coverage, speed, and costs for a more efficient and effective testing strategy.

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