Manual Testing vs Test Automation: Key Differences

Testing vs Test Automation

The growing popularity of test automation is now a matter of concern for many professional testers who are worried about the prospect of their employment. Although the demand for human supervision has decreased, manual testing is still used in the industry. Learn the possibilities and limitations of both testing methods to make the best choice.

Fundamental Differences between Manual and Automated Testing

As the name suggests, manual testing is performed manually by technical experts. No matter whether it is a website, mobile, web, or desktop application, first, testers conduct a review and identify any anomalies and undesired behavior, such as errors and bugs. Usually, the procedure requires a predefined plan and a collection of test cases.

After the completion of the analysis, any observations are reported to the development team for fixes. To make the corrections, developers have to replicate the abnormalities detected by testers.

Automated testing identifies problems in a website or software with tests executed automatically. The complexity and universality of a tool for automated testing depend on its purpose and determine the required level of programming knowledge.

For example, Selenium is a leading framework used as a foundation of a testing environment for diverse projects. Yet, adjusting a testing process to the needs of a specific business cannot be handled without technical expertise.

An opposite approach is used by Executive Automats ( This tool has more than a framework layer. With the abstraction and a graphical user interface, it can be used for test automation without coding skills. This testing tool has been designed specifically for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Dynamics AX testing.

When Can You Benefit from Manual Testing?

Automated testing with free frameworks such as Selenium is very promising, but it still requires financial investment, as these tools need the creation and maintenance of a testing environment. Often, deploying this approach turns out to be more costly than implementing ready-to-use automation tools.

At the same time, when a project is small, short-term, or does not expect frequent modifications, performing tests manually can be more practical.

Furthermore, even for complex projects, manual testing has an advantage when it comes to the evaluation of usability. For instance, while effective testing tools can judge the technical side of software or website performance, an assessment of visual attractiveness or ease of interaction cannot be completed without a human. Be it just usability testing or an entire UX audit, it is performed manually.

When Should You Switch to Automated Testing?

Despite the initial costs of deployment of an automated testing tool, assessing larger and more complex digital products is much more cost-effective with automation. This is particularly true for no-code testing solutions earmarked for several types of tests and featuring high reusability of test cases and automatic report generation.

Automation is a must for executing repetitive tests as well as high-volume testing. An illustration of the first scenario is regression testing of a continually-improved enterprise resource system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 that undergoes frequent updates. An example of the second scenario is performance testing. Of course, an automated testing tool is an absolute necessity if performance testing lies within the scope of regression testing.

Manual Testing, Selenium-Like Frameworks, or No-Code Tools?

As mentioned above, there are certain cases, for instance, user accessibility testing, when manual testing is a single available option. Meanwhile, there are numerous situations requiring the automation of other types of testing.

If you are considering automating your testing procedures, the most efficient option available for you is a no-code tool. A proper solution will adapt to a growing test volume, help you to lower setup and maintenance costs, and provide you with higher accuracy and instant feedback. On top of that, you will be able to schedule testing for any hour and day of the week.

Assuming no such tool is available for your particular software, you may consider building your environment for automated testing with dedicated frameworks. Still, if you need a flexible approach, for instance, for exploratory or ad-hoc testing, manual testing might be even more cost-effective than testing within a Selenium-based environment.


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