Automated testing isn’t something new. It’s well over 20 years old. So why aren’t more companies investing in automated testing?

When it comes to automated testing, most tech companies would usually invest in automation after setting up a long procedure of manual testing first.

So why should companies invest in test automation if it's not mandatory to complete testing?

Take the case where you're working on a project which keeps evolving over time. Sprint after sprint, new feature after new feature. There will inevitably be additional functionality that’ll be added to the regression pack to test. Plus, several bugs which you’ll want to capture should they arise again.

Sooner or later the list of test cases per deployment will get excessively long. If automated testing was set up, it would significantly reduce testing time, even though the test coverage is still expanding over time. This point has been covered in a previous article, why use regression pack automation.

Automated testing trumps manual testing. There are five key aspects on why investing in web automation testing can benefit your business and improve ROI.

  1. Catches bugs sooner
  2. Eliminates human error
  3. Allows for overnight test runs
  4. Gives faster feedback
  5. Includes cross browser testing

1. Catches bugs sooner

Regarding regression testing, this is usually done before and after a deployment to ensure the deployed code is stable.

However, there is a case where one new feature will affect another area of the site completely without it being mentioned on a ticket.

If we had automated the regression pack, and had it been triggered overnight before testing, we could’ve identified the issue before testing any new features.

As QAs, we know that the further an issue goes up towards the production environment, the higher the cost to fix - and the fix will need to be accommodated in a later sprint.

However, if it was found earlier in the sprint, it could have been resolved sooner and would cost less. The chart below demonstrates this.

Illustration on resolving bugs for web automation 
Image source: Raygun

2. Eliminates human error

Human error can be due to a variety of reasons such as:

  • Reduced time to test everything causing the user to rush
  • Users may have used incorrect test data causing false positives
  • A new team member who needs training and upskilling

All these can be eliminated with automated testing. Some test scenarios which require pinpoint testing could include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Completing registration
  • Making payments
  • Updating a user profile
  • Using a site search
  • Completing form submissions
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3. Allows for overnight test runs

Manual (i.e. human) testers will only usually test during working hours. But with automated testing we can schedule testing to occur overnight and program it to deliver a test report for review before we start our day.

This way we can confirm that our code is stable, with no extra costs for delivering the same test results, whilst alleviating pressure from the manual testing team during sprints. If any issues do arise, they can be addressed first thing in the morning.

4. Gives faster feedback

Automated testing is fast. Exceptionally fast in comparison to executing manual test cases. With manual testing we know we must do test cases one by one.

Automated testing on the other hand can execute test cases more swiftly. It can even be further enhanced by running parallel testing to run multiple tests simultaneously. To take it one step further, if we trigger web automated tests in a headless browser, tests run even quicker.

5. Includes cross browser testing

Let's say we want to perform cross browser testing to ensure our website is stable. If it takes one hour to complete the tests for each web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari), then it will take four users testing in parallel one hour, or a single user four hours to complete this test.

With browser automated testing, we could spin up multiple agents to run all browsers in parallel. This means we’ll get the results for all browsers in an hour if they all ran at the same time. Most likely even quicker since the scripts will run faster than a human.

Illustration of cross browser testing 

Limitations and drawbacks

These five areas describing how automated testing is beneficial for the QA team are extremely helpful. However, there are drawbacks.

One question which always comes up from stakeholders is “How long will it take to automate our manual regression test pack?”

The short answer is, “we can't give a universal estimate for all manual test packs”. Here are two reasons why we must estimate each pack case by case:

  • Each manual regression test pack is unique, and the script complexity will differ
  • We can't give one fixed estimation for a brochure site in comparison to an ecommerce site

There are also other drawbacks regarding automated testing which will be covered in the next article. Stay tuned!

Working with Codehouse

Our expert Quality Assurance team is dedicated to streamlining the deployment process. We've helped many customers across many industries with this approach. Contact us when you’re ready to find out more.