Best Practices for Manual Testing

 

Introduction to Manual Testing

With only 32% of users returning to an application 11 times and more, delivering the best quality app possible is vital to your business. Customers will return to your product if it works effectively, and app retention will only reduce if your software is full of bugs. Enter manual software testing: the method of discovering software issues that could affect your users, before they do. 

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What is manual testing?

Manual testing is a form of software testing where Testers manually execute test cases without the use of any automation tools. 

Manual testers will try to find as many bugs as possible by acting as the end-user of a web or mobile app. The bugs are then recorded on a bug report, which is passed on to the developers to review and fix them. Testers can conduct Manual Testing without any prior knowledge of testing tools: they are simply acting as a would-be user.

Difference between manual testing and automated testing

Manual testing requires human testers with a certain skillset. Patience and creativity are key attributes that successful manual testers need. But what is the difference between manual and automated testing? 

In Manual Testing

  • Test cases are executed by humans
  • Tests are sometimes time-consuming, as they require real testers executing real user scenarios
  • Test cycles can be longer
  • Manual testers can investigate software freely
  • Testers can use their creativity to find new bugs

In Automated Testing

  • Test cases are executed by automation tools
  • Thousands of tests can be run at once using  a programming tool
  • Test cycles are short
  • Automated testing is pre-scripted, only testing for expected scenarios
  • Automation can only be executed within the realms of what is expected by developers

Manual testing plays a crucial role in software testing. An application cannot be tested using automation exclusively. Find out more about this in our guest blog, QA Automation vs. Humans: Can You Automate Everything?

Aim of manual testing

The aim of manual testing is to ensure that a product delivers the best possible customer experience. Testers try to identify issues that could affect real world users, manually identifying software issues.  Overall, the aim is to catch as many bugs as possible, and the more bugs you fix, the less likely your company is to miss opportunities for growth. 

Types of manual testing

Exploratory Testing

What is Exploratory Testing?

Exploratory Testing is all about testers exploring an application in order to find bugs. In Exploratory Testing, testers have the freedom to run tests how and when they decide. This means that testers investigate an app, testing simultaneously and freely. 

What are the benefits?

Exploratory Testing finds more bugs! Testers are given freedom to conduct test cases as they investigate a product, meaning they may discover bugs that might not have been caught with automated scripts. Exploratory Testing is also a great testing method because it doesn’t require extensive planning. The scope of a test cycle needs to be clear but detailed test cases are not needed. That’s because testers are trusted to test what they believe needs testing.

Manual Regression Testing

What is Manual Regression Testing?

Regression Testing is a method of verification. It’s all about making sure that any recent updates, code changes or bug fixes have not negatively affected existing features. This technique is all about re-executing test cases make sure that functionalities are still working correctly after changes are made. 

What are the benefits?

Regression testing can maintain and improve quality. Ideally, it should be performed after every update. This ensures that your app quality doesn’t drop dramatically.

Agile Testing

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What is Agile Testing?

In Agile Testing, testing is integrated directly into the software development process, so that bugs are discovered as early and as often as possible. Agile Testing operates under the philosophy that testing is a crucial part of software development, on a par with coding.

What are the benefits?

Agile enables testers to detect more defects earlier in the development process. Agile Testing provides ‘continuous feedback’, meaning developers have an intricate knowledge of the product, and can fix any potential bugs during the development process.

How to perform manual testing

Manual tests should be performed by highly skilled and experienced testers who represent different user-profiles and use a wide range of devices and operating systems. This will ensure effective results are delivered. 

What are the benefits of manual testing?

  1. Manual testing enables developers to test a wide range of conditions and scenarios, including localization.
  2. With the benefit of testers creativity, more bugs can be discovered that developers may not have expected before. 
  3. You can achieve an exact replication of real user experience to discover how a customer will interact with your app. 
  4. You can begin manual testing almost immediately. In Exploratory Testing, for example, testers do not have to spend a long time planning what test cases to execute, they simply begin testing freely.
  5. Manual Testing is fluid. You can update test cases easily according to the direction of the product, without having to write a new set of test cases to be automated.

Manual and Automation: Which is better?

It’s the age-old debate: automation vs. humans! To answer the question, let’s first look at what automated testing is, and what the benefits are.

What is Automated Testing?

Automated QA testing uses software to execute pre-scripted test cases.  This means that you can run thousands of tests at once via a specialised tool. Automation is used to confirm or deny any preconceived expectations of how a product will behave.

What are the benefits of Automation?

If a test case is expected to have a long life without needing to be changed, automation can keep costs low. Similarly, if test cases are simple to automate, and what you are testing isn’t too complex, this can keep costs low and deliver results quickly.  

Should you use manual testing or automated testing?

Automation can be a valuable part of your testing strategy. When implemented correctly, it can be a fast way of testing for bugs that could affect your users. Similarly, as we have shown, manual testing can be hugely beneficial in terms of discovering new bugs, and replicating a real user experience. So why choose one technique?

Automation is crucial for verifying a checklist of what the developer expects a product to do. But, the creativity of a tester is required to investigate the ways a software may not work, and to think up scenarios where an app may not perform as expected. Where suited, a blend of manual testing and automation is the way forward.

Conclusion

Manual software testing is a crucial part of your QA strategy. Customers return to products that work seamlessly, effectively, and without fault. Implementing a test strategy that uses manual testers means that you will be able to discover the bugs that could affect real-life users, and may reveal potential software issues you may not have anticipated before. Find the right method of manual testing for you, and you will see results. 

 

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