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Visual UI Testing tools: Do they address the needs of online businesses?

The Dilemma of Manual Testing

Prior to automated tools, visual testing was often performed manually by web developers themselves. In recent times, QA teams have started incorporating visual regression testing into their test plans, but only to a limited degree.

With the manual method, testers would manually perform actions and interact on every page of an ecommerce site while inspecting for visual errors. This is a very resource-intensive process, not only due to the number of visual elements that need to be scanned, but also because of the different operating systems, browser dimensions, screen orientations and device configurations involved.

Manual testing is generally detested by most organizations due to the excessive time and effort needed, even if somewhat necessary. With all the test variables and permutations involved, it is almost impossible to have full test coverage. The manual testing process itself is also prone to human error.

This has become one of the main reasons why we are now seeing an increase in the use of automated visual testing tools, which offer speed, repeatability, and reliability in execution across a wide range of test scenarios.

Automation in Visual UI testing

We have seen how necessary automation is to testing, and specifically in the world of visual UI testing.

Considering the advancement of automation in the software industry, it is almost implied that most, if not all visual testing tools are automated, else it would not be very successful in this day and age.

Before we talk further about the visual testing tools out there in today’s market…

… What exactly is automated visual testing?

Automated visual testing uses software to automate the process of identifying visual errors. The software would ideally perform comparisons of visual elements across various screen and test configurations. The comparison is done by capturing the visual appearance of an entire screen or parts of it, and reviewing it against a baseline or intended appearance.

Automated visual testing eliminates the man-hours needed for manual checking of UI/UX defects, thus increasing business productivity. It is also much less prone to errors in the testing process, compared to manual testing.

The above are some of the essential features of a visual testing tool. And then there are others that provide even more features, such as:

  • The ability to execute tests at a high volume and frequency, in some cases offering unlimited testing
  • The ability to run tests on real devices with different browser and resolution settings
  • The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in visual comparisons

Are Visual UI Testing Tools good enough?

However, visual testing tools in today’s market may have one or more of the following deficiencies:

Not fit for ecommerce

Current visual testing tools are not suitable for use by ecommerce businesses. This can be because their features are not focused on verifying ecommerce UX/UI functionality, or that the tools do not have the flexibility to be adapted to the needs of ecommerce testing.

Not comprehensive

Most tools, while having best-in-class testing features, are only built for just that – testing. They do not have a complete solution that takes into importance the monitoring and management of test results, or the use of analytics.

Not user friendly

A large number of visual testing applications involve test scripts or code to simulate user actions. Such tools alienate the non-technical audience base, especially commercial stakeholders who are looking for simplicity in executing, managing, and monitoring visual tests by themselves.

Taking note of the above, it is absolutely necessary to address such challenges in order for a Visual testing tool to succeed in the market.

Finding a Visual UI Testing solution fit for your ecommerce

Technology is always an important factor in creating great visual testing applications. However it is also essential that these solutions also address the unique needs of ecommerce businesses, for example the flexibility to create personalized tests for important use cases such as checkout, catalog navigation, account management, keyword search, and more.

A visual testing tool should allow testing across various device, browser and screen sizes, taking into consideration the testing needs for multi-country ecommerce sites. The ability to test websites in different geographical locations allows quick detection of unintentional UI errors that may occur during campaign executions or catalog changes for multiple markets.

User-friendliness is an important factor; the visual tests and simulation of online user actions should be simple to configure, customize and to get up and running. In addition to its visual testing features, dashboard and visualization features can greatly help online businesses to actively monitor their web UI/UX in real-time.

There are certainly quite a number of factors to consider when choosing a testing solution for your business. Reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you in your ecommerce testing journey.

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