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Manual Testing vs Automated Testing

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The article focuses on discussing the difference between Manual Testing and Automation Testing. Before proceeding with the difference between the two terminologies, let’s discuss the terms in detail.

What is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is a type of testing in which we do not take the help of any tools (automation) to perform the testing. In this testing, testers make test cases for the codes test the software, and give the final report about that software. Manual testing is time-consuming testing because it is done by humans and there is a chance of human errors. 

  • Manual testing is conducted to discover bugs in the developed software application.
  • The tester checks all the essential features of the application.
  • The tester executes test cases and generates test reports without any help from the automation tools.
  • It is conducted by the experienced tester to accomplish the testing process. 

When to Perform Manual Testing?

Manual testing works well for testing:

  • Functionalities.
  • User Interface.
  • Website Behavior.
  • Application Behavior.
  • User Acceptance.
  • User Experience.

Manual testing should be conducted when:

  • Flexibility is required: With manual tests, QA can quickly test and provide fast feedback. 
  • Short-term projects: It is not advisable to invest more money and effort to set up short-term projects that focus on minor features because such setup will require huge effort and money that would be too high for such small projects. 
  • When testing end-user usability: Humans can use their sensibilities to understand the application behavior if the application offers a satisfactory user journey. No machine can perform this task as humans can.

Benefits of Manual Testing

  • Easy hiring: In manual testing, anyone can test so it helps in easy hiring.
  • Fast feedback: Manual testing helps to provide fast and accurate feedback.
  • Versatile: Manua test cases can be applied to many test cases.
  • Flexible: Manual testing is flexible as it can adapt easily to changes in the user interface.
  • Less expensive: Manual testing is less expensive as one does not need to spend a budget on automation tools and processes.

Limitations of Manual Testing

  • Not all defects detected: In manual cases, there is no assurance that there will be 100% test coverage as a result some of the defects may not be detected.
  • High expertise: Although manual testing can be done by anyone, in some complex cases high expertise is required.
  • Lots of time: Manual testing times extensive activity. It requires a lot of time to manually develop test cases so that all the functionalities are covered and tested.
  • Cannot be recorded: Manual testing process cannot be recorded so it is not possible to reuse the manual test cases.
  • Less reliable: Manual testing is less reliable as it is conducted by humans and all test cases are designed by humans so there are chances for human error. 

What is Automation Testing?

Automation testing is a type of testing in which we take the help of tools (automation) to perform the testing. It is faster than manual testing because it is done with some automation tools. There is no chance of any human errors.

  • It relies entirely on pre-scripted test which runs automatically to compare actual results with expected results.
  • Automation testing helps the tester determine whether the application performs as expected or not.
  • It allows the execution of repetitive tasks and regression tests.
  • Automation requires manual effort to create initial testing scripts.

When to Perform Automation Testing?

  • When need to run repetitive tasks: Automated tests are the best option in scenarios where there is a requirement to run repetitive tests. For example, in the case of regression tests must be executed periodically to make sure that the newly added code does not disrupt the existing functionality of the software.
  • When human resources are scarce: Automated tests are viable and the best option to get tests executed within deadlines when there are only a limited number of dedicated testers. 

Benefits of Automation Testing

  • Finds more bugs: Automation testing helps to find more bugs and defects in the software.
  • Reduce time for regression tests: Automated tests are suitable for regression tests as the tests can be executed in a repetitive manner periodically.
  • The process can be recorded: This is one of the benefits of using automation tests as these tests can be recorded and thus allows to reuse of the tests.
  • No fatigue: As automation, tests are executed using software tools so there is no fatigue or tiring factor as in manual testing.
  • Increased test coverage: Automation tests help to increase the test coverage as using the tool for testing helps to make sure that not even the smallest unit is left for testing.

Limitations of Automation Testing

  • Difficult to inspect visual elements: In automated tests, it is difficult to get insight into the visual elements like color, font size, font type, button sizes, etc as there is no human intervention.
  • High cost: Automation tests have a high cost of implementation as tools are required for testing, thus adding the cost to the project budget.
  • Test maintenance is costly: In automation tests, test maintenance is costly.
  • Not false proof: Automation tests also have some limitations and mistakes in automated tests can lead to errors and omissions.
  • Trained employees required: For conducting automated tests, trained employees with knowledge of programming languages and testing knowledge are required.

Difference Between Manual Testing and Automated Testing

Parameters Manual Testing Automation Testing
Definition In manual testing, the test cases are executed by the human tester. In automated testing, the test cases are executed by the software tools.
Processing Time  Manual testing is time-consuming. Automation testing is faster than manual testing.
Resources requirement Manual testing takes up human resources. Automation testing takes up automation tools and trained employees.
Exploratory testing Exploratory testing is possible in manual testing. Exploratory testing is not possible in automation testing.
Framework requirement Manual testing doesn’t use frameworks. Automation testing uses frameworks like Data Drive, Keyword, etc.
Reliability Manual testing is not reliable due to the possibility of manual errors. Automated testing is more reliable due to the use of automated tools and scripts.
Investment In manual testing, investment is required for human resources. In automated testing, investment is required for tools and automated engineers.
Test results availability In manual testing, the test results are recorded in an excel sheet so they are not readily available. In automated testing, the test results are readily available to all the stakeholders in the dashboard of the automated tool.
Human Intervention Manual testing allows human observation, thus it is useful in developing user-friendly systems. Automated testing is conducted by automated tools and scripts so it does not involve assurance of user-friendliness.
Performance testing Performance testing is not possible with manual testing. Performance testing like load testing, stress testing, spike testing, etc. 
Batch Testing In manual testing, batch testing is not possible. You can batch multiple tests for fast execution.
Programming knowledge There is no need for programming knowledge in manual testing. Programming knowledge is a must in case of automation testing as using tools requires trained staff. 
Documentation In manual testing, there is no documentation. In automation testing, the documentation acts as a training resource for new developer. He/ She can look into unit test cases and understand the code base quickly. 
When to Use? Manual testing is usable for Exploratory testing, Usability testing, and Adhoc testing. Automated testing is suitable for Regression testing, Load testing, and Performance testing.

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Last Updated : 07 Dec, 2023
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