What is the difference between manual testing and automated testing?

What is the difference between manual testing and automated testing?


SKP Tutorials

6/23/20233 min read

person using black laptop computer
person using black laptop computer

Manual testing and automated testing are two approaches used in software testing. Here's an explanation of their differences:

Manual Testing: Manual testing refers to the process of manually executing test cases without the assistance of any tools or scripts. It involves human intervention to perform various test activities. Testers interact with the software or application being tested and validate its behavior against specified requirements. Key characteristics of manual testing include:

Flexibility: Manual testing allows testers to adapt and explore different test scenarios based on their experience and intuition.

User Experience Testing: Testers can assess the user interface, usability, and overall user experience during manual testing.

Ad Hoc Testing: Testers can perform ad hoc testing, which involves unplanned and improvised test cases to identify defects.

However, manual testing has some limitations, such as being time-consuming, resource-intensive, and prone to human error. It may not be suitable for repetitive or large-scale testing efforts.

Automated Testing: Automated testing involves using software tools, scripts, or frameworks to execute test cases and compare the actual results with the expected outcomes. Testers write scripts or use record-and-playback tools to automate the test execution process. Key characteristics of automated testing include:

Efficiency: Automated tests can be executed quickly and repeatedly, saving time and effort.

Regression Testing: Automated tests are effective for performing regression testing, ensuring that previously working features continue to function correctly after changes or updates.

Large-Scale Testing: Automated testing is well-suited for large-scale or repetitive testing tasks, as it can run tests across multiple configurations, platforms, or environments.

Automated testing helps in improving efficiency and test coverage. However, it requires initial setup time, maintenance of test scripts, and may not be suitable for all types of testing, especially those involving subjective evaluation or usability.

In practice, a combination of manual and automated testing is often used to achieve the best results. Manual testing is valuable for exploratory testing, usability assessment, and scenarios requiring human intuition, while automated testing is beneficial for repetitive tasks, regression testing, and scalability. The choice between manual and automated testing depends on factors like project requirements, time constraints, budget, and the nature of the software being tested.

Manual testing and automated testing are two approaches used in software testing, and they differ in how they are conducted and the level of human involvement. Here's an overview of the differences between the two:

Methodology and Execution:

Manual Testing: In manual testing, human testers manually execute test cases, observe the application's behavior, and compare it against expected results. Testers interact with the software as end-users, performing various actions and validating the system's responses.

Automated Testing: Automated testing involves the use of specialized tools and scripts to execute test cases. Testers develop test scripts or use testing frameworks to automate the execution of test cases, reducing the need for manual intervention.

Test Coverage:

Manual Testing: Manual testing allows for exploratory testing, where testers can identify unexpected issues or bugs by actively exploring the software. Testers can adapt their testing strategies based on their observations and make real-time decisions about what areas to focus on.

Automated Testing: Automated testing focuses on executing predefined test scripts and verifying expected outcomes. It is suitable for repetitive and well-defined tests, ensuring that all steps are consistently executed and reducing the possibility of human error.

Speed and Efficiency:

Manual Testing: Manual testing is time-consuming, especially when dealing with large or complex systems. Testers need to repeat the same steps for every test execution, which can be tedious and prone to human error.

Automated Testing: Automated testing can significantly accelerate the testing process. Once test scripts are created, they can be executed repeatedly, saving time and effort. Automated tests also provide faster feedback, enabling quicker identification and resolution of issues.

Maintenance and Reusability:

Manual Testing: Test cases in manual testing are typically documented as step-by-step procedures, which may need to be updated and maintained as the software evolves or changes. Reusing manual test cases might require manual effort to modify them for different scenarios.

Automated Testing: Automated tests are script-based, making them easily maintainable and reusable. If there are changes in the application, modifications can be made in the test scripts, reducing the overall maintenance effort.

Human Judgment and Flexibility:

Manual Testing: Manual testing allows testers to apply their knowledge, experience, and intuition to identify potential issues that automated tests might miss. Testers can make on-the-spot decisions about test coverage, exploratory testing, and usability aspects.

Automated Testing: Automated tests strictly follow predefined steps and expected outcomes. While they are efficient and consistent, they lack human judgment and flexibility to adapt to unexpected scenarios.