Quality assurance is a fundamental stage of mobile app development. Overall, it is a complex process that includes determining quality parameters, developing a testing strategy, conducting various app checks, detecting and describing defects, measuring the results, optimizing processes and making the necessary changes. One of the questions that are important to resolve before starting work on a project is whether to perform manual checks or implement automation?

With a manual approach, test cases are started manually without using software tools. With automated testing, test cases are launched using specially designed scripts. Both approaches have advantages and their own complexities that you need to know about to make an informed decision. Read on to find out when to use automated and manual mobile application testing and how each approach can affect the deadline, cost, and quality or your project. 

Automated vs Manual Mobile Application Testing

Manual app testing means that the process of checking the quality of an application is carried out directly by a tester. First of all, the specialist examines the test environment, creates a plan and develops test cases for conducting manual testing of Android applications. 

Here are the main advantages of this approach: 

  • Lower price and higher cost-efficiency compared to automated testing
  • Accurate user interface feedback generated by a human
  • Ability to make small quick fixes on the go
  • A good insight into the real user experience on the app
  • Tests difficult use case situations better than automated testing

Manual mobile application testing comes with its disadvantages though. These include less reliable results due to human factors, slower and more labor-intensive process of testing. 

Automation of application testing presupposes using specialized automation tools for a software verification process. This includes the implementation of basic functions and test steps such as planning, analysis and design, implementation and execution, reporting and test closure. 

Here are the advantages of app testing automation: 

  • Unmistakable results due to lack of human factor 
  • Testing is automatic and, thus, faster and more efficient
  • Test cases run regularly over a long period of time, which allows constant debugging 
  • The process of automated testing can be recorded and reused. 

Among the disadvantages that come with this type of testing, the high price is number one. The mobile app development company doing automated testing will have to pay for both the testing tools and their maintenance to avoid operation flaws. What is more, automated testing will not provide any insight into the visual aspects of the interface and overall user experience.  

Manual or Automated App Testing: When to Use?

Software testing can be performed by the mobile app development company by various methods: the black or white box method conducted according to pre-prepared scripts, or intuitively. Testing can also be of various levels (modular, system, integration), aimed at checking various aspects of quality (performance, security, etc). While it is worth investing in automation for some types of testing, other types should better be carried out using manual testing. 

When to Use Manual Checks

Manual checks are recommended for the following types of testing:

  1. Research testing. Scenarios for testing are selected based on the experience of an engineer, his logical conclusions and intuition. At the same time, the tester does not have high-quality documentation, and testing should be completed in a short time. This type of testing helps to detect the most critical defects in a short time.
  2. Usability testing. When conducting this type of testing, the tester needs to determine how convenient the product will be for the end-user. Naturally, tests should be conducted and analyzed by a person.
  3. Intuitive testing. This type of testing is performed without a pre-designed scenario and certain results. Performing checks, the tester improvises and relies on common sense, his experience and knowledge of the product.
  4. Localization testing. If the product will be introduced to the global market, it must be adapted to the cultural aspects of different countries. Localization includes the translation of all interface elements, service elements, adaptation of the display mode of the date, time, units, currency and it should better be assessed by a human. 

When To Use Testing Automation

Automated checks are recommended for the following types of software testing:

  1. Regression testing. This type of testing is the first candidate for automation due to the regular launch of tests. On long-term projects, automation can significantly reduce the cost of ensuring product quality.
  2. Stress Testing. Stress or load testing shows how the app will react under extremely heavy load conditions. Automation allows to get the results of load testing faster and identify all the stability issues even if they happen simultaneously.  
  3. Regular tests. If the product is regularly updated and new functionality is added, it is more efficient to conduct testing in an automatic mode.

Concluding Ideas

So what is the best option for testing your mobile application? You can manually test almost any application, sometimes even without preliminary preparation. Automated scripts allow you to get more accurate results and are available for reuse though. 

Thus, often, the most winning scenario is a combination of two approaches. At the same time, the proportion of automatic and manual tests will vary depending on the requirements of the project, the budget, the time frame for testing, the team’s expertise. A competent combination of approaches will allow you to optimize your testing budget and get a high-quality product.