Best Practices for Automation Testing

What are the benefits of automation testing? How can you conduct automation testing? What are the drawbacks? Learn all about automation testing with our best practices guide. 

 

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In March 2019, the UK Office for National Statistics said that automation could replace 1.5 million jobs across a number of industries. We are living in an increasingly automated world, and in the field of software testing, this is no exception. There is huge pressure on QA teams, CTOs, and C-suite executives to automate their testing process, with a common belief that automated testing is always faster, cheaper and more effective. 

But, when should you actually automate? Is it always cheaper to automate? How can you automate? 

We, at Global App Testing, are here to answer your burning questions and help equip you with the automation best practices. Learn how to 1 up your QA process, find the bugs impacting your users, save time and money in our ultimate guide to test automation in software testing

Let’s jump straight in.

What is automated testing?

So what is meant by automation testing? Automation testing is a method of testing that uses specialist software to execute pre-scripted test cases. While manual testing is performed by a human using a phone or computer to carefully test an app, an automation tool will execute test cases during automation testing. This means that you can program software to run thousands of test cases at once, to try and discover bugs that could potentially affect your users.

Automation tools, such as Global App Testing's 'ALAN', can also compare expected and actual results, providing users with a detailed test report of bugs discovered. 

How does automated testing work?

Automation testing works by executing thousands of test cases at once by pre-scripted test suites. A common misconception of automation is that it removes the human element completely. But who writes the test cases or scripts? Automated testing needs human input to function properly. At least until the machines take over permanently!

 

What are automated software testing best practices?

Automated testing can make your product better, customer experience heightened and reduce the number of bugs in your software. 

1) Ensure your test case has a long life

If your test case will constantly need to be changed or edited, automation could be a costly error to make. If your app is constantly updating and changing, or your functionalities may develop over time, it will be incredibly time-consuming to write, and re-write test cases. 

For example, if you are in the early stages of developing your product, you will need a flexible QA strategy. It would be ineffective to set up an expensive automation sequence when you were still in the process of deciding what works with your app and updating it frequently. Maybe you are developing a game, and you are unsure if it will be a huge success

2) Don’t force automation

In a number of cases, it is comparatively easier to use manual testing rather than automated testing. In that case, forcing automation is unnecessary and could well be a very costly and time-consuming mistake.

For example, if you are launching your app in a different country, in a different language, automated testing will not pick up on localization issues. You will need real-life testers to confirm if a translation isn’t quite right, or maybe a cultural nuance has been missed. Automated testing won’t pick up on these details that human testers would notice.

3) Plan costs

Automation can save you time and money if planned properly and executed correctly. But, automation is not always more cost-effective than using manual testers. Some automation tools can be expensive, and outsourcing manual testing could potentially save you money. That’s why costs need detailed planning to ensure you aren’t making a mistake. 

4) Don’t 100% automate

As our world becomes more automated, so does testing. But automation shouldn’t be the only tool in your testing toolkit. Manual testing on its own does not scale, and equally, automation alone does not scale. Using a careful blend of the two will help your product grow, and ensure you deliver a great customer experience. 

For example, King, the company behind the game ‘Candy Crush’, use a wide range of testing types when scaling their games. In order to test battery, network, CPU consumption and more, they need to use a blend of a number of different methods to achieve full testing coverage.

5) Partner with a testing platform that helps you scale

Developers and in-house testers can sometimes be so invested in the application that sometimes bugs get missed. This is no one's fault - it’s inevitable. External testers can provide a set of fresh eyes to catch bugs the in-house team may have missed. 

Global App Testing allow you to manage, execute and analyse test results to help you release high quality software anywhere in the world. Using a blend of automated and manual testing through the crowd of 25,000+ testers in 109 countries, you can recieve amazing test coverage and results within 48 hours. 

Benefits of automated testing

  • Using automated testing can be much faster than manual testing. You can run thousands of tests at once again and again, and recieve extremely fast results. 
  • Even though set up costs are high, automated testing can save money in the long-term.
  • Repetitive tasks are inefficient when executed by manual testers.
  • Manual testing increases the chance of human error.

Drawbacks of automated testing

  • Initial set up costs (automation tool purchase, training, maintenance of test scripts) are expensive. 
  • If your app or website changes regularly, the cost and time associated with script maintenance will increase considerably.

Conclusion

Automated testing is an effective solution that continues to improve QA testing as a whole. It can certainly save time, and cost, when executed correctly. Repetitive tasks take a long time and if conducted by a human tester, could lead to human errors. Automating these processes can increase accuracy and speed of release.

However, you still need human intervention to write test cases, and many types of testing, like exploratory testing, can’t truly be automated at all. Relying on 100% automated testing is a surefire way to miss bugs you should’ve caught. 

Whether your testing and releases rely on speed or quality, a mix of automated testing and manual testing will  create the outcome you want - a better quality application

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