Raul Sales

QA Engeneer

Jun 26, 2024

9 min read

In the evolving landscape of software development, ensuring quality and performance is crucial. Among various testing methods, manual testing stands out for its unique approach and significant advantages. This blog post will explore what manual testing is, the types of manual testing, when it is needed, and the steps involved in performing manual testing.

What is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is a software testing process where Quality Assurance (QA) testers manually execute test cases without the assistance of automated tools. Testers interact with the software as end users would to identify bugs, defects, and usability issues. The primary goal is to ensure that the software behaves as expected and provides a smooth user experience.

Characteristics of Manual Testing

  • Human Involvement: Unlike automated testing, which relies on scripts and tools, manual testing requires human effort and intuition.

  • No Scripting Needed: Testers do not write scripts; they follow test plans and perform tests manually.

  • Exploratory in Nature: Allows testers to explore the application dynamically without predefined scripts.

  • Direct Interaction: Testers interact directly with the software, providing a real-world user perspective.

For more information on the differences between manual and automated testing, read Manual vs. Automated Testing.

Key Activities in Manual Testing

  • Requirement Analysis: Understanding what needs to be tested.

  • Test Planning: Developing a strategy for testing.

  • Test Case Development: Writing detailed test cases based on requirements.

  • Test Execution: Manually executing the test cases.

  • Defect Reporting: Documenting any issues found.

  • Retesting and Regression Testing: Verifying fixes and ensuring new changes do not introduce new issues.

Key Benefits of Manual Testing

Manual testing offers several benefits that make it an essential part of the software testing lifecycle:

1. Human Insight

Manual testing provides a human touch that automated testing lacks. Human testers can observe and analyze the software in ways that automated scripts cannot. They can identify issues related to user experience, such as confusing navigation, poor usability, and aesthetic problems, which are crucial for ensuring that the software meets user expectations.

2. Flexibility

Manual testing is highly adaptable to changing requirements and scenarios. Unlike automated tests, which require script modifications when changes occur, manual testing can quickly adjust to new test cases and conditions. This flexibility is particularly valuable in agile development environments, where requirements often evolve rapidly.

3. Exploratory Testing

Manual testing excels in exploratory testing, where testers actively engage with the software to discover potential issues without predefined test cases. This type of testing is essential in the early stages of development, helping to uncover hidden bugs and gain a deeper understanding of the software's functionality.

4. User Experience Validation

Automated tests can verify functionality, but they cannot assess the quality of the user experience. Manual testers can provide insights into how real users will interact with the software, identifying usability issues and areas for improvement. This validation is crucial for delivering a product that meets user needs and expectations.

5. Cost-Effectiveness for Small Projects

For small projects or applications with limited functionality, manual testing can be more cost-effective than investing in automated testing tools and scripts. It allows for immediate feedback and quick iterations, helping to ensure that the software meets its requirements without the overhead of automation setup.

6. Low Initial Setup Cost

Manual testing requires minimal setup compared to automated testing. There is no need for specialized tools or scripts, making it accessible for teams with limited resources or those working on tight budgets.

If you want to improve the quality of your product, bring in experts with over 10 years of QA experience and start testing now! Reach out through our form!

Why Do We Need Manual Testing?

The recent decade has witnessed a tremendous shift in the Software Testing industry from manual testing to automation testing. Many people claim that manual testing belongs to the past, and manual testers will be replaced by automation testing tools, especially now that AI, Machine Learning, and many other disruptive technologies are on the rise. However, manual testing remains indispensable for several reasons:

1. Human Creativity and Intuition

Manual testing leverages human creativity and intuition to uncover issues that automated tests might miss. Exploratory and ad-hoc testing rely heavily on the tester’s ability to think outside the box and test the software in unexpected ways. This creative approach often reveals subtle bugs and usability issues that automated scripts cannot detect.

2. User Experience Assessment

Manual testing is essential for evaluating the overall user experience. Human testers can assess how intuitive and enjoyable the software is to use, providing feedback on aspects like design, navigation, and ease of use. Automated tests can verify functionality but cannot judge the user experience effectively.

3. Adaptability to Change

Software development is a dynamic process with requirements frequently changing. Manual testing can quickly adapt to these changes without the need for extensive rework on test scripts. This adaptability makes manual testing particularly valuable in agile development environments where continuous feedback and iteration are crucial.

4. Testing Edge Cases and Unusual Scenarios

Manual testers can test edge cases and unusual scenarios that automated scripts may not cover. They can simulate real-world usage conditions, including how users with different levels of experience and various devices might interact with the software. This thorough testing helps ensure the software is robust and user-friendly under all conditions.

5. Lower Cost for Small and One-Time Projects

For small projects or one-time testing scenarios, manual testing is often more cost-effective than setting up automated tests. The initial setup and maintenance costs of automation can be high, making manual testing a more viable option for smaller projects with limited budgets.

6. Immediate Feedback and Quick Iterations

Manual testing provides immediate feedback, allowing developers to quickly address issues and make necessary adjustments. This rapid feedback loop is essential for maintaining high-quality standards and ensuring timely delivery of software products.

7. Human Perspective on Aesthetic and Usability Issues

Automated tests cannot evaluate the aesthetics and usability of software. Human testers can provide valuable insights into how visually appealing and user-friendly the software is, identifying areas that need improvement to enhance the overall user experience.

When Do You Need Manual Testing?

Despite the rise of automation, manual testing remains essential in various scenarios:

1. Exploratory and Ad-Hoc Testing

When the software is in its early development stages, detailed test cases may not be available. Manual testing allows testers to explore the application and identify potential issues. This flexibility is crucial for discovering new bugs and understanding the software’s overall functionality. An example being a type in before-launch site.

2. Usability Testing

Usability cannot be fully tested through automated scripts. Manual testing is required to assess the user interface and overall user experience. Human testers can provide valuable feedback on the software’s ease of use, visual appeal, and user satisfaction. They can spot nuances that automated tests might miss, such as visual inconsistencies, awkward navigation, or unclear instructions.

3. Small Projects

For small projects or applications with limited functionality, manual testing is often more cost-effective and quicker to implement than setting up automated tests. It allows for immediate feedback and faster iterations. Manual testing can be particularly advantageous for startups and small businesses with limited budgets and resources.

4. Dynamic and Changing Requirements

When requirements change frequently, manual testing is more adaptable and can quickly accommodate new scenarios without the need to update automated test scripts. This adaptability is essential for agile development environments where changes are common. Manual testers can quickly adjust their test cases and approach to match the evolving needs of the project.

5. One-Time Testing

For test cases that are executed only once or infrequently, manual testing is more practical than investing time and resources in automation. This includes specific scenarios that are not part of regular regression testing. Manual testing is ideal for situations where the cost of automation setup outweighs the benefits.

6. Complex Test Cases

Some test cases are too complex to automate effectively. Manual testing allows testers to handle intricate scenarios that require human judgment and flexibility. This includes tests that involve multiple steps, complex data input, or interactions with various system components.

7. Human-Centric Evaluation

Certain aspects of software, such as its appeal to users, emotional response, and overall satisfaction, are best evaluated by human testers. Manual testing provides the necessary human perspective to ensure that the software resonates well with its intended audience.

Example Scenario

Imagine you are testing a new e-commerce website's checkout process. Here are some test cases you might execute:

Positive Test Cases

  1. Complete the checkout process with valid payment information: Verify that the user can successfully complete the purchase with valid credit card details.

  2. Apply a discount code successfully: Ensure that entering a valid discount code applies the appropriate discount to the total amount.

  3. Order confirmation email received: Confirm that an email is sent to the user’s registered email address upon successful purchase.

Negative Test Cases

  1. Checkout with an expired credit card: Attempt to complete the purchase using an expired card and verify that the system displays an appropriate error message.

  2. Leave payment information fields blank: Try to proceed with the checkout without entering any payment details and ensure that the system prompts for the necessary information.

  3. Enter an invalid discount code: Use an invalid discount code and check that the system correctly notifies the user of the invalid code.

Usability Test Cases

  1. Accessibility of the checkout button: Ensure that the checkout button is prominently displayed and easily accessible on the page.

  2. Clarity of error messages: Verify that any error messages displayed during the checkout process are clear, helpful, and easy to understand.

Conclusion

Manual testing remains a vital part of the software testing process. It allows for human insight, creativity, and adaptability that automated testing cannot fully replicate. By understanding when and how to apply manual testing, QA teams can ensure that their software delivers a seamless and satisfactory user experience.

In the evolving landscape of software development, ensuring quality and performance is crucial. Among various testing methods, manual testing stands out for its unique approach and significant advantages. This blog post will explore what manual testing is, the types of manual testing, when it is needed, and the steps involved in performing manual testing.

What is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is a software testing process where Quality Assurance (QA) testers manually execute test cases without the assistance of automated tools. Testers interact with the software as end users would to identify bugs, defects, and usability issues. The primary goal is to ensure that the software behaves as expected and provides a smooth user experience.

Characteristics of Manual Testing

  • Human Involvement: Unlike automated testing, which relies on scripts and tools, manual testing requires human effort and intuition.

  • No Scripting Needed: Testers do not write scripts; they follow test plans and perform tests manually.

  • Exploratory in Nature: Allows testers to explore the application dynamically without predefined scripts.

  • Direct Interaction: Testers interact directly with the software, providing a real-world user perspective.

For more information on the differences between manual and automated testing, read Manual vs. Automated Testing.

Key Activities in Manual Testing

  • Requirement Analysis: Understanding what needs to be tested.

  • Test Planning: Developing a strategy for testing.

  • Test Case Development: Writing detailed test cases based on requirements.

  • Test Execution: Manually executing the test cases.

  • Defect Reporting: Documenting any issues found.

  • Retesting and Regression Testing: Verifying fixes and ensuring new changes do not introduce new issues.

Key Benefits of Manual Testing

Manual testing offers several benefits that make it an essential part of the software testing lifecycle:

1. Human Insight

Manual testing provides a human touch that automated testing lacks. Human testers can observe and analyze the software in ways that automated scripts cannot. They can identify issues related to user experience, such as confusing navigation, poor usability, and aesthetic problems, which are crucial for ensuring that the software meets user expectations.

2. Flexibility

Manual testing is highly adaptable to changing requirements and scenarios. Unlike automated tests, which require script modifications when changes occur, manual testing can quickly adjust to new test cases and conditions. This flexibility is particularly valuable in agile development environments, where requirements often evolve rapidly.

3. Exploratory Testing

Manual testing excels in exploratory testing, where testers actively engage with the software to discover potential issues without predefined test cases. This type of testing is essential in the early stages of development, helping to uncover hidden bugs and gain a deeper understanding of the software's functionality.

4. User Experience Validation

Automated tests can verify functionality, but they cannot assess the quality of the user experience. Manual testers can provide insights into how real users will interact with the software, identifying usability issues and areas for improvement. This validation is crucial for delivering a product that meets user needs and expectations.

5. Cost-Effectiveness for Small Projects

For small projects or applications with limited functionality, manual testing can be more cost-effective than investing in automated testing tools and scripts. It allows for immediate feedback and quick iterations, helping to ensure that the software meets its requirements without the overhead of automation setup.

6. Low Initial Setup Cost

Manual testing requires minimal setup compared to automated testing. There is no need for specialized tools or scripts, making it accessible for teams with limited resources or those working on tight budgets.

If you want to improve the quality of your product, bring in experts with over 10 years of QA experience and start testing now! Reach out through our form!

Why Do We Need Manual Testing?

The recent decade has witnessed a tremendous shift in the Software Testing industry from manual testing to automation testing. Many people claim that manual testing belongs to the past, and manual testers will be replaced by automation testing tools, especially now that AI, Machine Learning, and many other disruptive technologies are on the rise. However, manual testing remains indispensable for several reasons:

1. Human Creativity and Intuition

Manual testing leverages human creativity and intuition to uncover issues that automated tests might miss. Exploratory and ad-hoc testing rely heavily on the tester’s ability to think outside the box and test the software in unexpected ways. This creative approach often reveals subtle bugs and usability issues that automated scripts cannot detect.

2. User Experience Assessment

Manual testing is essential for evaluating the overall user experience. Human testers can assess how intuitive and enjoyable the software is to use, providing feedback on aspects like design, navigation, and ease of use. Automated tests can verify functionality but cannot judge the user experience effectively.

3. Adaptability to Change

Software development is a dynamic process with requirements frequently changing. Manual testing can quickly adapt to these changes without the need for extensive rework on test scripts. This adaptability makes manual testing particularly valuable in agile development environments where continuous feedback and iteration are crucial.

4. Testing Edge Cases and Unusual Scenarios

Manual testers can test edge cases and unusual scenarios that automated scripts may not cover. They can simulate real-world usage conditions, including how users with different levels of experience and various devices might interact with the software. This thorough testing helps ensure the software is robust and user-friendly under all conditions.

5. Lower Cost for Small and One-Time Projects

For small projects or one-time testing scenarios, manual testing is often more cost-effective than setting up automated tests. The initial setup and maintenance costs of automation can be high, making manual testing a more viable option for smaller projects with limited budgets.

6. Immediate Feedback and Quick Iterations

Manual testing provides immediate feedback, allowing developers to quickly address issues and make necessary adjustments. This rapid feedback loop is essential for maintaining high-quality standards and ensuring timely delivery of software products.

7. Human Perspective on Aesthetic and Usability Issues

Automated tests cannot evaluate the aesthetics and usability of software. Human testers can provide valuable insights into how visually appealing and user-friendly the software is, identifying areas that need improvement to enhance the overall user experience.

When Do You Need Manual Testing?

Despite the rise of automation, manual testing remains essential in various scenarios:

1. Exploratory and Ad-Hoc Testing

When the software is in its early development stages, detailed test cases may not be available. Manual testing allows testers to explore the application and identify potential issues. This flexibility is crucial for discovering new bugs and understanding the software’s overall functionality. An example being a type in before-launch site.

2. Usability Testing

Usability cannot be fully tested through automated scripts. Manual testing is required to assess the user interface and overall user experience. Human testers can provide valuable feedback on the software’s ease of use, visual appeal, and user satisfaction. They can spot nuances that automated tests might miss, such as visual inconsistencies, awkward navigation, or unclear instructions.

3. Small Projects

For small projects or applications with limited functionality, manual testing is often more cost-effective and quicker to implement than setting up automated tests. It allows for immediate feedback and faster iterations. Manual testing can be particularly advantageous for startups and small businesses with limited budgets and resources.

4. Dynamic and Changing Requirements

When requirements change frequently, manual testing is more adaptable and can quickly accommodate new scenarios without the need to update automated test scripts. This adaptability is essential for agile development environments where changes are common. Manual testers can quickly adjust their test cases and approach to match the evolving needs of the project.

5. One-Time Testing

For test cases that are executed only once or infrequently, manual testing is more practical than investing time and resources in automation. This includes specific scenarios that are not part of regular regression testing. Manual testing is ideal for situations where the cost of automation setup outweighs the benefits.

6. Complex Test Cases

Some test cases are too complex to automate effectively. Manual testing allows testers to handle intricate scenarios that require human judgment and flexibility. This includes tests that involve multiple steps, complex data input, or interactions with various system components.

7. Human-Centric Evaluation

Certain aspects of software, such as its appeal to users, emotional response, and overall satisfaction, are best evaluated by human testers. Manual testing provides the necessary human perspective to ensure that the software resonates well with its intended audience.

Example Scenario

Imagine you are testing a new e-commerce website's checkout process. Here are some test cases you might execute:

Positive Test Cases

  1. Complete the checkout process with valid payment information: Verify that the user can successfully complete the purchase with valid credit card details.

  2. Apply a discount code successfully: Ensure that entering a valid discount code applies the appropriate discount to the total amount.

  3. Order confirmation email received: Confirm that an email is sent to the user’s registered email address upon successful purchase.

Negative Test Cases

  1. Checkout with an expired credit card: Attempt to complete the purchase using an expired card and verify that the system displays an appropriate error message.

  2. Leave payment information fields blank: Try to proceed with the checkout without entering any payment details and ensure that the system prompts for the necessary information.

  3. Enter an invalid discount code: Use an invalid discount code and check that the system correctly notifies the user of the invalid code.

Usability Test Cases

  1. Accessibility of the checkout button: Ensure that the checkout button is prominently displayed and easily accessible on the page.

  2. Clarity of error messages: Verify that any error messages displayed during the checkout process are clear, helpful, and easy to understand.

Conclusion

Manual testing remains a vital part of the software testing process. It allows for human insight, creativity, and adaptability that automated testing cannot fully replicate. By understanding when and how to apply manual testing, QA teams can ensure that their software delivers a seamless and satisfactory user experience.

Raul Sales

QA Specialist

Jun 26, 2024

9 min read

Ralfs J. Gaigulis

Ralfs J. Gaigulis

COO at HiQality

COO at HiQality

Are you considering introducing or improving QA practices in your operations? Make sure you get it right with our team of QA experts by your side. Reach out for a free consultation by using the contact form below!

Are you considering introducing or improving QA practices in your operations? Make sure you get it right with our team of QA experts by your side. Reach out for a free consultation by using the contact form below!

Interested in manual QA?
Let us know!

Interested in manual QA?
Let us know!

Interested in manual QA?
Let us know!

Interested in manual QA?
Let us know!

Interested in manual QA?
Let us know!

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