Automation testing refers to using specialized software programs to execute test cases and validate that a system functions as expected.
The different types of automation testing include User Interface (UI) testing, database testing, Application Programming Interface (API) testing, and performance and security testing.
Inarguably, automation testing is a powerful tool. It saves software development teams time and costs. It also helps improve testing coverage—improving overall product quality.
Unfortunately, automation testing also has its limitations. It hasn’t reached the stage where it can fully replicate human behavior. Without the input of humans, it may not produce satisfactory results.
In this article, let’s acknowledge those limits. We’ll also focus on its benefits, why human intervention is needed.
Automation testing leads to faster test execution. Automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks increases the efficiency and effectiveness of your testing process.
Below are ways to take advantage of the time-saving benefits of automation testing.
Reduce manual testing time: Use automation tools, input the variables, and the tool will provide you with the answer. For instance, testing for the slope formula is not only faster but much easier, too.
Allow parallel execution: Check out test parallelization libraries. You can also refer to cloud-based solutions (like TestingBot and Sauce Labs), tools (like Selenium Grid and Tricentis Tosca), and automation servers (like Jenkins and TeamCity).
Use the right framework: Ensure it’s maintainable and easy to understand. Examples of frameworks include JUnit and TestNG. At the same time, ensure that the platform is optimized for speed and security. For instance, using cloud-based solutions for automation testing allows developers to use cloud computing environments to test software parts or whole systems rapidly and make sure they work the way they are supposed to.
Automation testing requires an initial investment. This investment can include the cost of the automation testing tools and frameworks, the cost of developing and maintaining the automated test scripts, and the costs associated with training the staff.
Below are ways to take advantage of the cost-saving benefits of automation testing.
Reduce labor costs: Automation testing can reduce the need for manual testing—both of which are time-consuming and labor-intensive. As a result, it can cut the costs of human labor.
Increase efficiency and accuracy: For instance, using an automated testing API to determine if emails are sent in a fast and efficient way to determine deliverability rates. Not only that but implementing it is much cheaper compared to other methods.
Improve ROI: Using automated testing APIs and test automation frameworks allows you to focus on the results. From here, you can further refine the processes to help you generate even better results.
Improved Testing Coverage
Automation testing can help ensure all aspects of a system are thoroughly tested—reducing the likelihood of bugs or other issues going unnoticed.
Below are three ways to take advantage of the improved testing coverage of automation testing.
Run tests repeatedly: Automation testing allows repeatable and consistent test results. It lets you measure time-sensitive systems and various test automation metrics quickly and easily.
Detect bugs early: Because identifying anomalies improves quality and reduces risk, the earlier you detect bugs in the development cycle, the better. This feature also increases the confidence of the development team in the product’s quality and readiness for release.
Test multiple scenarios: Ensure that the software works correctly in a variety of different situations, including situations that may be difficult or impossible for humans to replicate. For instance, the implementation of manual processes with automation is much more convenient nowadays. You can create reusable test scripts stored in your library and pull out the ones relevant to your upcoming project.
The Role of Human Intervention
Hiring people as part of your testing initiatives remains one of the most important parts of your test automation. You need a team of individuals with the necessary skills and experience to design, implement, and maintain automated tests. Below are the limitations and disadvantages of automation.
Intelligence: Automated systems cannot think critically or make decisions like humans. They can only follow predetermined instructions—they can’t discern if these instructions are incorrect.
High initial cost: Automating a process can be expensive. It also requires a significant upfront investment.
Adaptability: Not only are automated systems inflexible, but they are also difficult to change. They cannot identify certain types of issues like usability problems or user experience issues.
One example of the need for human intervention is in email marketing. Yes, you can set the campaigns on autopilot and your tool will take care of sending the emails to the correct recipients.
However, it’s not a task you can just set and forget–you need to be hands-on as human intervention is part of a high-performing email marketing campaign.
This is true especially when it comes to monitoring the results of your campaign.
For example, if the results are unsatisfactory, you need to tweak different variables in your campaign, which includes some of the automation settings you initially set.
That said, below are three ways to integrate human testing with automation testing on other campaigns and systems.
Invest in exploratory testing: Identify areas of the program that automated tests didn’t cover. Humans can also create new test cases and find ways to use them.
Leverage usability testing: Ensure the program is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Ways to do this include involving users, using a variety of testing methods, and making future decisions based on testing data.
Perform accessibility testing: Evaluate if the program is accessible to users with disabilities. Learn accessibility guidelines, test with assistive technology, and work to accommodate multiple disabilities.
The future of automation testing looks bright.
Based on how the process can streamline developmental phases, there may be an increased focus on test automation for non-functional testing. The adoption of cloud-based test automation platforms and tools will also rise. After all, these tools enable teams to collaborate and share resources more easily.
As companies continue to shift towards agile and continuous delivery methodologies, the integration of test automation into pipelines will also become more common. Remember, automation testing processes (and other forms of automation) are here to help. While they can make lives easier, they still need humans to function.
Hesitant to use automation testing for your software development process?
Don’t be. As long as you manage automated systems with the help of humans, you can ensure a seamless process.