A Plea for Manual Testing – Don’t Underestimate It!

by | May 28, 2019 | How To, Usability | 0 comments

Today, we want to talk about manual testing, because it has a lot of advantages and use cases in which test automation simply can’t compete.

Everybody’s talking about test automation (including us in this recent blog post)– after all, it’s fast, reduces long-term costs, and therefore ensures higher quality of your software. But still, manual software testing has some things to offer.

First, let’s start at the very beginning with some basics about manual testing.

What is Manual Testing?

From Wikipedia: “Manual testing is the process of manually testing software for defects. It requires a tester to play the role of an end user whereby they use most of the application’s features to ensure correct behaviour. To guarantee completeness of testing, the tester often follows a written test plan that leads them through a set of important test cases.”

This means that you need at least one person or, even better, a lot of people, that follow test cases written down in excel sheets, for example. Those sheets normally contain things like:

  • Use cases to describe the situation of the user.
  • Pre-conditions to describe the circumstances.
  • Steps that need to be executed.
  • Expected results to define how the software is expected to behave.
  • Stages of Manual Tests

    You can test different stages of your software manually, the most common ones are:

  • Unit Testing: Units are the smallest testable parts of the software. The developer performs unit testing by using a programming language before handing over the release to QA.
  • Integration Testing: This ensures that the different units, components, and other parts of the software are integrated seamlessly. Integration testing makes sure the modules are working together in a stable and reliable way.
  • System Testing: This tests the complete software product and should be performed in an environment that matches the future users’ environment.
  • Acceptance testing: This is the real-world-test of your product. How do users like the software? Are they able to perform certain tasks (e.g., logging in)?
  • Manual Testing Techniques

    There are many techniques to perform software tests manually. We want to show you an overview of the following three: Exploratory Testing, Usability Testing, and Regression Testing.

    Exploratory Testing: When testing exploratively, the testers don’t follow a pre-written script but explores the software by themselves. The quality of the outcome depends a lot on the testers’ experience level. To learn more, read our blog article How exploratory testing accelerates agile

    Usability Testing: Testing the usability of a software or product means finding out how users get along with it and how easy they can perform certain tasks. Learn how we support companies with usability testing: Usability and UX Testing at Testbirds

    Regression Testing: After modifications to your software and/or code, regression testing is needed to ensure that further development doesn´t have a negative impact on other parts of the system. To learn more, read our blog article How regression testing can help optimise your software

    Manual Tests with Device Cloud

    Especially when we talk about regression tests and constantly changing software in a significant manner, our Device Cloud is the perfect tool to easily perform manual tests. You can test your browser, app, or desktop app on over 2.5 million device, operating system, and software combinations. You can perform your front-end tests on an individual virtual machine or emulator with just a few clicks.

    Do you want to know how this looks in practice? Check the video about manual testing below that shows how to create Virtual Machines (VM) in the Testbirds Device Cloud. It covers getting familiar with the Nest and the Device Cloud, starting a new manual test and possibilities of the virtual machine view.

    Our Plea for Testing Software Manually

    When do we use manual testing and why should we use it at all? Wouldn’t it make sense to automate software testing completely?

    The answer is simple: No, it wouldn’t!

    Here’s why:

    The initial investment in test automation is quite high in terms of resources and budget. If you don’t plan to do the same test at least a few times, it doesn’t make sense to automate it. Additionally, new features should ALWAYS be tested manually for the first time.

    Further advantages include that you can start very quickly (as soon as you found a tester, which could be you, by the way) and that initial costs aren’t too high. Furthermore, manual testing is highly adaptable – something that can’t be said about automated testing.

    In summary, manual testing is best for: AdHoc-Testing, Exploratory Testing, Usability Testing, and early stage User Interface Testing.

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    About the author

    Simone Groß

    Simone Groß

    Content Manager

    When Simone is not working on superb texts for Testbirds, she and her horse live it up on the tournament areas in Bavaria.

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    Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.

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