The new norm in testing is to automate aggressively. It makes sense from a time-management perspective. Automated testing allows teams to increase testing cadence and volume by avoiding repetitive manual task load that piles up each release, in turn saving vast amounts of time and money, and getting to market faster. These benefits have us looking for more and more opportunities to automate, and can even create pressure to automate “everything”.  

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Despite the many advantages of automation, humans are still the best at manually evaluating the vast number of bugs and errors that inevitably crop up.

Physical interfaces

User interactions with a physical device vary from person-to-person. Things like the force one uses to press a button, or the duration spent holding it down, varies wildly. Plus each individual will have a different perception of the usability. These are all difficult factors to program into a script.

Any type of manual manipulation of physical objects should be tested by people, at least for functional testing. Of course, if you are testing the durability of a button, you don’t want a person to press it 10,000 times (perfect for a robot). For most functional and usability testing with software that interacts in the real world, manual testing can’t be beaten.

Complex tests

Related: What to do about flaky tests?

Testing across Apps

Switching between apps during testing can be difficult in most test automation frameworks. For example, imagine testing a marketplace app, where a buyer & seller each have to take some action in their respective apps to complete a transaction. This scenario can be automated, but often the investment to make a repeatable test is pretty high.  

Media testing

If you’ve ever changed your profile picture on Facebook and then used that same picture on Twitter, you’ll see why this has to be done manually. You’re interacting with different platforms, each with their own parameters. In order to ensure that your media works correctly with each, you’ll need to test manually to find the optimal format. Media formats and display surfaces vary widely, so it’s much easier and more cost-effective to test for each format manually.

The human eye is still the most effective visual processor on the planet. Once you’ve established a visual baseline, there are tools that help check that your UI is consistent across different platforms – but it’s the human that needs to establish that baseline.

Very early in your product’s cycle

You have a great idea for a product (or feature in an existing product), so you build it. In the very early stage, you believe its a great idea but you don’t know if your users or customers share your enthusiasm. In this early phase of the product, it’s most important to get your product into the hands of some customers and get their feedback. In feature/product ideation and growth phase, your product is about to change very often based on rapid feedback from the customers or by the team itself. By introducing automation testing investment in this phase of the SDLC, you will probably double the engineering cost to areas that will change drastically – would you be ok to maintain changes or even refactor on weekly basis your feature and automated test scripts simultaneously?   

Say yes to a combination

If you’re ready to take your testing to a new level, contact us today for a demo. Testlio leads the way in hybrid manual and automation testing services. We’d love to talk.

Dog owner, expat, gin lover. Allegedly wise to the ways of digital marketing, PR, and social media. Currently waging a war on mediocrity in communication and storytelling.