Manual Testing involves the execution of test cases by a tester without the use of automated tools. Its primary purpose is to detect bugs, issues, and defects in a software application. Manual testing, although more time-consuming, is a crucial process to uncover critical bugs in the software.
Before a new application can be automated, it must undergo manual testing. This step is essential to evaluate its suitability for automation. Unlike automated testing, manual testing does not rely on specialized testing tools. It adheres to the fundamental principle in software testing that “100% Automation is not possible,” highlighting the importance of manual testing.
Goal of Manual Testing
The primary goal of Manual Testing is to thoroughly assess a software application to identify and report any defects, discrepancies, or issues. It involves executing test cases manually without the use of automation tools.
Uncover any discrepancies between expected and actual behavior of the software, including functionality, usability, and performance issues.
Verify Functional Correctness:
Ensure that the software functions according to the specified requirements and meets user expectations.
Assess the user-friendliness of the application, including navigation, accessibility, and overall user experience.
Check for Security Vulnerabilities:
Identify potential security risks or vulnerabilities in the application that could be exploited by malicious actors.
Test the software’s compatibility with different operating systems, browsers, devices, and network environments.
Measure the application’s responsiveness, speed, and stability under different conditions and loads.
Verify Data Integrity:
Confirm that data is processed, stored, and retrieved accurately and securely.
Ensure that the software adheres to industry standards, regulatory requirements, and organizational policies.
Validate Business Logic:
Confirm that the application’s business logic is implemented correctly and meets the specified business requirements.
Perform Exploratory Testing:
Explore the application to discover any unexpected or undocumented behaviors.
Confirm Documentation Accuracy:
Verify that user manuals, help guides, and other documentation accurately reflect the application’s functionality.
Provide Stakeholder Assurance:
Offer confidence to stakeholders, including clients, end-users, and project managers, that the software meets quality standards.
Prioritize Testing Efforts:
Focus testing efforts on critical areas, ensuring that the most important functionalities are thoroughly examined.
Support Automation Feasibility:
Determine if and how automation can be applied to testing processes in the future.
Types of Manual Testing
Objective: To ensure that the software meets the specified business requirements and is ready for user acceptance.
Description: Acceptance testing is performed to validate whether the software fulfills the business goals and meets the end-users’ needs. It can be further divided into two subtypes:
User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Conducted by end-users or stakeholders to verify if the software meets business requirements.
Alpha and Beta Testing: Done by a selected group of users (alpha) or a broader user base (beta) in a real-world environment.
Objective: To verify that the software functions as per the specified requirements.
Description: Functional testing involves executing test cases to ensure that the software performs its intended functions. This type of testing covers features, usability, accessibility, and user interface.
Objective: To assess non-functional aspects of the software, such as performance, usability, security, and compatibility.
Description: Non-functional testing focuses on factors like performance, load, stress, security, usability, and compatibility. It evaluates how well the software meets requirements related to these aspects.
Objective: To discover defects by exploring the software without predefined test cases.
Description: In exploratory testing, testers use their creativity and domain knowledge to interact with the application, exploring different features and functionalities to find defects. This approach is more flexible and intuitive compared to scripted testing.
Objective: To evaluate the user-friendliness and overall user experience of the software.
Objective: To verify that the software functions correctly across different platforms, browsers, and devices.
Description: Compatibility testing ensures that the software is compatible with various operating systems, browsers, mobile devices, and network environments. This type of testing helps identify any issues related to cross-platform functionality.
Objective: To uncover vulnerabilities and assess the security of the software.
Description: Security testing aims to identify potential security risks and weaknesses in the application. Testers simulate different attack scenarios to evaluate the software’s resistance to threats and ensure data protection.
Objective: To confirm that recent code changes or enhancements do not adversely affect existing functionality.
Description: Regression testing involves re-executing previously executed test cases after code changes to ensure that new updates do not introduce new defects or break existing features.
Objective: To quickly verify if the critical functionalities of the software are working before initiating detailed testing.
Description: Smoke testing is a preliminary check to ensure that the basic functionalities of the software are intact and stable. It is usually performed after a new build or release.
Objective: To perform testing without formal test cases or predefined test scenarios.
Description: Ad-hoc testing is unplanned and unstructured. Testers explore the application freely, often using their experience and creativity to identify defects.
How to perform Manual Testing?
Performing manual testing involves a systematic and organized approach to thoroughly evaluate a software application for defects, discrepancies, and usability issues. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to conduct manual testing:
Understand the Requirements:
Familiarize yourself with the software’s specifications, features, and functionalities by reviewing the requirement documents and any available user documentation.
Plan Test Scenarios:
Identify the different scenarios and functionalities that need to be tested based on the requirements. Break down the testing into logical units or modules.
Create Test Cases:
Develop detailed test cases for each identified scenario. Each test case should include steps to execute, expected outcomes, and any preconditions required.
Prepare Test Data:
Gather or generate the necessary test data to be used during the execution of the test cases. Ensure that the data covers various scenarios.
Set Up the Test Environment:
Prepare the necessary infrastructure and configurations, including installing the application, configuring settings, and ensuring any required resources are available.
Execute Test Cases:
Run the test cases according to the specified steps, entering test data as necessary. Document the actual outcomes and any discrepancies from expected results.
If a test case reveals a defect, log it in the defect tracking system. Provide detailed information about the defect, including steps to reproduce it, expected and actual results, and any relevant screenshots or logs.
Assign Priority and Severity:
Evaluate the impact of each defect and assign priority levels (e.g., high, medium, low) based on their importance. Additionally, assign severity levels to indicate the seriousness of the defects.
Retest Fixed Defects:
After the development team resolves a reported defect, re-run the specific test case(s) that initially identified the defect to ensure it has been successfully fixed.
Perform Regression Testing:
Conduct regression testing to ensure that the recent changes (bug fixes or new features) have not caused any unintended side effects on existing functionality.
Validate Non-Functional Aspects:
Evaluate non-functional aspects such as performance, usability, security, and compatibility based on the defined test scenarios.
Document Test Results:
Maintain detailed records of the test results, including which test cases were executed, their outcomes, any defects found, and the overall status of the testing.
Generate Test Reports:
Create test summary reports to provide stakeholders with a clear overview of the testing activities, including execution status, defect metrics, and any important observations.
Seek Feedback and Approval:
Share the test results and reports with relevant stakeholders, including project managers, business analysts, and developers. Seek formal sign-offs to confirm that the testing activities have been completed satisfactorily.
Myths of Manual Testing
Manual Testing is Outdated:
Myth: Some believe that manual testing has become obsolete in the face of automated testing tools and practices.
Reality: Manual testing remains a crucial aspect of testing. It allows for exploratory testing, usability assessments, and the evaluation of subjective factors like user experience.
Manual Testing is Time–Consuming:
Myth: People often assume that manual testing is slower compared to automated testing.
Reality: While manual testing may require more time for repetitive tasks, it is efficient for exploratory and ad-hoc testing, and it is essential for early-stage testing when automation may not be feasible.
Automation Can Replace Manual Testing Completely:
Myth: There’s a misconception that automation can entirely replace manual testing, leading to a belief that manual testing is unnecessary.
Reality: Automation is valuable for repetitive and regression testing. However, it cannot replace the creativity, intuition, and usability assessments that manual testing provides.
Manual Testing is Error–Prone:
Myth: Some assume that manual testing is more prone to human error compared to automated testing.
Reality: While humans can make mistakes, skilled testers can also identify unexpected behaviors, usability issues, and scenarios that automated tests may not cover.
Manual Testing is Monotonous:
Myth: People may think that manual testing involves repetitive, monotonous tasks.
Reality: Manual testing can be dynamic and engaging, especially when exploratory testing is involved. Testers need to think creatively to identify defects and assess user experience.
Manual Testers Don’t Need Technical Skills:
Myth: Some believe that manual testers do not require technical skills since they do not directly work with automation tools.
Reality: Manual testers still benefit from understanding the technical aspects of the application, its architecture, and the technology stack used.
Manual Testing is Inefficient for Large–Scale Projects:
Myth: It is sometimes assumed that manual testing is impractical for large-scale or complex projects.
Reality: Manual testing can be adapted and scaled effectively for large projects, especially when combined with targeted automated testing for repetitive tasks.
Only New Testers Perform Manual Testing:
Myth: There’s a misconception that manual testing is an entry-level role and experienced testers primarily focus on automation.
Reality: Experienced testers often play a critical role in manual testing, especially in complex scenarios that require a deep understanding of the application’s functionality.
Manual Testing vs. Automation Testing
Basis of Comparison
Testing is performed manually by human testers.
Testing is executed by automated testing tools or scripts without human intervention.
Speed and Efficiency
Slower and more time-consuming for repetitive tasks.
Faster and highly efficient for repetitive tasks and regression testing.
Initial Setup Time
Quick to set up as it doesn’t require scripting or tool configuration.
Initial setup time can be significant, especially for complex applications and test scripts.
Well-suited for exploratory testing to uncover unforeseen issues.
Limited in its ability to perform exploratory testing effectively.
Usability and UserExperience
Effective for assessing usability and user experience.
Limited in its ability to provide subjective feedback on usability.
Early Stage Testing
Ideal for early-stage testing when automation may not be feasible.
Automation is often applied after manual testing has been conducted in the initial stages.
Initial costs are lower as it doesn’t require investment in automation tools.
Over the long term, automation can be cost-effective for repetitive tasks and regression testing.
Suitable for testers without strong technical skills.
Automation testing may require testers to have programming or scripting knowledge.
Adapting to Changes
More adaptable to frequent changes in the software as test cases can be modified easily.
Less adaptable to frequent changes, as updating and maintaining automated scripts can be time-consuming.
Intermittent and One-time Testing
Suitable for one-time or intermittent testing efforts.
May not be efficient for one-time testing efforts due to the time required for initial automation setup.
Effective for visual validation, especially in scenarios where UI elements need to be inspected manually.
Limited in its ability to perform detailed visual validation without additional tools.
Skill Level Required
Requires less technical expertise and is accessible to a broader range of testers.
Automation testing may require specialized skills in programming and tool usage.
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