Manual Testing

Definition of manual testing

Manual testing is a software examination and utilization from the end-user perspective to assess its quality, detect existing defects, and uncover possible weaknesses. In contrast to automated testing that utilizes a software program to conduct tests, manual testing reckons upon human’s actions.

Manual testing process -

As a rule, to provide professional and comprehensive testing, most manual testers organize their workflow in the following way:

Requirement studying

Manual testers must get acquainted with the requirements to ensure a successful QA process. Thus, they can understand the software’s objective, operation principles, main functions, and possible vulnerabilities. Testers can make up excellent test cases and identify more defects using this information. However, project specifications and user stories are not always available. In this case, manual testers should be more inventive and check other information resources to realize how an application should work.

Drawing up of test cases

As soon as manual testers have gotten acquainted with project requirements, they start to draw up test cases using various test design techniques. Test cases are used as instructions for manual testers, as they contain the consecutive steps for a particular function or scenario testing. They should be rather detailed. Therefore, other testers will also be able to carry out your tests, not asking clarification questions. Some manual testers still use an Excel document to file their test cases. However, various case management tools are available; they can significantly simplify test case creation, storage, and management.

Test conduction and bug reporting

After all test cases have been made up, and the test environment has been prepared, manual testers go ahead with test conduction. If manual testers detect bugs during testing, they must log bug reports using a bug tracking system. The bug reports must also be detailed and contain reproduction steps, an expected result, an actual result, and relevant attachments (screenshots, screen recording, etc.). Therefore, a developer can get bug essence right and quickly reproduce it.

Analysis of testing results

As a rule, after testing completion, manual testers undertake an analysis to receive useful metrics that can help make the right consequences and plan future activities. It can take just a few clicks if you use one of the various test case management systems.

Types of Manual Testing

In our manual testing guide, we cannot leave out the manual testing types. Frankly speaking, there are countless manual testing types, but we will consider the most widely used.

Usability Testing

There is no chance to effectively carry out usability testing without engaging people because the user-friendliness of software is evaluated on the ground of users behavior and emotions. During usability testing, manual testers make sure that an application is simple, convenient, and intuitive to avoid end-users confusion and frustration.

GUI testing

In the process of GUI testing manual testers check fonts, color palette, windows, buttons, and all other GUI elements and characteristics to guarantee that there are no errors or confusions and provide the best user experience.

Compatibility testing

Compatibility testing is conducted to ensure that an application works properly with other software, different hardware, network, etc. Compatibility testing is rather time-intensive. For this reason, most QA teams tend to automate this process. Still, if there is a need to carry it out manually, it is advised to define the top-priority browsers and platforms and concentrate on them.

Smoke Testing

Smoke testing verifies only the key functionality of the application to define whether it corresponds to its primary objective and does not contain critical bugs. Smoke testing is a kind of preliminary checking that is carried out before more critical, in-depth testing.

Regression Testing

Regression testing is executed before every release to check whether updates have not affected existing functionalities. Regression testing of large, sophisticated applications can be extremely time-consuming. For this reason, if there are opportunities, many companies try to automate it.

Main Manual Testing Techniques

Three manual testing techniques are differentiated. So, let’s consider each of them one by one.

Black box testing

Black box testing is conducted in a way that resembles end-users interaction with a system. It doesn’t require knowledge of the internal structure and coding skills. Conducting black-box testing, QA engineers interact with UI, test functionality, and verify whether outputs coincide with expected results.

White box testing

White box testing technique is usually utilized by developers to review code and dataflows and detect possible hidden bugs. This technique requires good coding skills.

Grey Box testing

This manual testing technique is a balanced combination of either black box testing or white box testing. Grey box testing covers all aspects and deals with everything but in a more superficial manner.

Importance of Manual Testing

As was mentioned earlier, some people have doubts about the importance of manual testing. Nevertheless, any professional QA engineer can easily refute this statement. There are many reasons why manual testing is indispensable, so let’s consider some of them.

Certain tests must be conducted only manually

User experience plays an important role in quality assurance. In some situations, just a human can properly conduct certain tasks and provide an appropriate assessment. For instance, it is impossible to imagine the conduction of usability testing or localization testing without human involvement. Compatibility and interactions with mobile devices can’t be checked with automated testing as well. Application performance during wi-fi turning off and turning on, simultaneous running with other apps, incoming calls or messages, etc. can be checked only by a human too.

Automated testing only supports human testers

Automated testing cannot substitute manual testing but can be and even must be effectively used in combination with it. While automated tests save time with repetitive tasks, manual testing efforts can concentrate on more creative work.

Most bugs are hidden in unexpected places

Even keeping up with the previously prepared test cases, manual testers can still uncover bugs in places they have not expected to find. That is very important. Testers detect many bugs while they are checking something else. In its turn, automated testing can’t spot defects that it hasn’t been programmed to search.

Automation is not budget-friendly for small-scale projects

Automation requires not only considerable initial investments but also high maintenance expenses. For large scale projects, automation can be indeed beneficial in a long-term perspective. However, for small projects, automation is still a waste of either time or money.

Automation often falls behind sprints

Due to continuous script updating, it is difficult for automated testing to keep up with sprints. Only perfectly managed automation can manage to do this.

Manual testers assess product from the end-users perspective

Manual testers usually act as end-users, so they not only ensure correct work of application and help define new ways of product improvement with their pieces of advice and suggestions.

Repetition and variability are of great importance

Repetition and variability are two characteristics of effective testing. Automated testing is appropriate for the repetitive testing process, but it’s not enough. Manual testing, in its turn, can provide needed variability.

Thanks for reading! Hope this article will help you to start learning Manual Testing. keep exploring and happy learning!

Senior Software Engineer @Persistent Systems

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Senior Software Engineer @Persistent Systems

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