Manual Testing vs Automation Testing: Which One Should You Prefer?

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Most developers agree Software Testing is one of the best ways for quality control for any developed software. Unresolved software defects and bugs can do irrevocable damage to a brand’s reputation. Software failures in the US cost the economy USD 1.1 trillions in assets in 2016. These effects were felt amongst 4.4 billion customer base. This could be avoided by stringent testing of software throughout development, deployment and post launch phases in a software development cycle. Let’s have a look at the type of testing techniques:

Manual and Automated Testing

Two different approaches to software testing are Manual testing and automated testing. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let us have a look at both the testing techniques in detail.

What is Manual Testing ?

Manual testing is a software testing approach which involves developers as testers, creating and executing test cases all the while, validating the software’s behavior manually. These testers run the software from the user point of view and perform various actions and observations which help identify plausible defects, errors, and usability issues. The majority of the time, manual testing is carried out by executing established test cases or test scripts, but it can also include exploratory testing, in which testers freely browse the product to look for flaws.

Manual Testing has some notable advantages, such as:

  • Human intuition: One of the most underrated benefits of manual testing is the testers’ ability to use their expertise, intuition, and creativity and identify potential bugs that automated tests may miss.
  • Ad-hoc testing: Testers can perform ad-hoc testing which means that testing is done without any predetermined strategies and randomly carried out throughout the software.
  • Convenient User testing: Manual testing makes it easier to test for the software’s usability, user interface, and user experience and improve it simultaneously.
  • Testing from the earliest stages: In manual testing, one can test in phases even before the product is completely developed.
  • Manual testing can be performed even before the software is fully developed, allowing for early feedback.

However there are certain challenges to watch out for when it comes to Manual testing. Here are a few of them:

  • Manual testing is a time-consuming testing approach, especially for larger, more complex applications.
  • While Manual testing delivers on human intuition it also is subject to more human errors and inconsistencies.
  • Scalability in manual testing is not much as it is challenging to manually scale large-scale projects or frequent software releases.

Types of Manual Testing

There are various types of Manual testing that takes place throughout the software development cycle. Let us have a look at a few of them to better understand the manual testing approach to software testing.

  • Unit Testing: In Unit Testing, developers test individual units of the software in isolation and verifies its functions individually.
  • Integration Testing: Integration testing involves testing the interactions between different components and their interfaces to identify any integration issues or defects.
  • System Testing: This type of Manual testing checks the overall functionality and compliance with the set requirements of the software system. It involves evaluating multiple system interactions, interfaces, and functionality.
  • Acceptance Testing: Acceptance Testing ensures that the software satisfies the standards and requirements established by the stakeholders, such as customers or end users. It seeks to guarantee that the software satisfies user expectations and is prepared for deployment.
  • Regression Testing: Regression testing is done to make sure that the programme hasn’t developed any new flaws or regression issues as a result of changes or improvements. Retesting previously tested functions is necessary to make sure that they continue to perform properly after modifications have been made.
  • Functional Testing: The programme is functionally tested to ensure that it meets the outlined functional criteria. To make sure that the software carries out the specified tasks, testers check its features, inputs, outputs, and behavior.
  • User Interface (UI) Testing: UI testing assesses the software’s graphical user interface. To provide a unified and user-friendly interface, it evaluates the visual components, layout, responsiveness, and user interactions.
  • Usability Testing: The user experience, intuitiveness, and usability of the product being developed are assessed through usability testing. In order to evaluate aspects like navigation, error handling, and overall user satisfaction, testers replicate real-world user scenarios.
  • Exploratory Testing: In exploratory testing, testers freely explore the programme while utilizing their subject expertise and intuition to find bugs. Because it is unscripted, testing may be done in a more flexible and original way.

Depending on the software’s requirements, complexity, and other factors, different combinations of these testing types are often implemented to ensure top software quality.

What is Automated Testing?

Automated Testing, on the other hand, is a software testing approach that uses software tools and predefined test scripts to validate user behavior. Contrary to manual testing, automated testing does not require direct human intervention for test execution. It instead makes use of automation frameworks and scripts that mimic human behavior, input, and anticipated results.

Automated testing usually involves the following elements :

Writing test scripts: Writing test scripts or using testing frameworks are two ways to produce automated tests. The actions and interactions necessary to run test cases are automated by the scripts contained in these programmes.

Test execution: Scripts or testing frameworks are used to carry out automated tests. The scripts replicate user behaviors such as button clicks, data entry, and browsing through the features of the software.

Management of test data: Automated tests frequently need test data, which can be supplied via input files, databases, or data creation programmes. The scripts are made to work with various test data sets and variations.

While these are main phases, automation testing also includes:

Test script creation: Automated tests are created by developing scripts or using testing frameworks. These scripts contain instructions that automate the steps and interactions required to execute test cases.

Test execution: Automated tests are executed by running the scripts or utilizing testing frameworks. The scripts simulate user actions, such as clicking buttons, entering data, and navigating through the software’s functionalities.

Test data management: Automated tests often require test data, which can be provided through input files, databases, or data generation tools. The scripts are designed to handle different test data sets and variations.

Assertions and verifications: Automated tests include assertions and verifications to compare the actual results with the expected results. These assertions check if the software behaves as intended and identify any discrepancies.

Test reporting: Automated testing tools generate detailed test reports, which document the test execution, pass/fail status, and any errors or issues encountered during the tests.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Automation Testing

Automation Testing techniques are preferred by developers for a variety of benefits. Some of them happen to be :

  • Efficiency and speed: Automated tests run swiftly, iteratively, and consistently, saving time and effort
  • Test coverage: Automated tests can cover a wide range of scenarios and perform repetitive tasks that are difficult for manual testers.
  • Regression testing: Automated tests can easily detect regression bugs, ensuring that previously fixed issues do not reappear.
  • Scalability: Automated tests can be easily scaled to handle large projects and frequent software releases.

Inspite of its myriad benefits, automation testing also comes with its set of challenges:

  • Lack of human intuition: Automated tests rely on predefined scripts and may not catch subtle issues that require human intuition.
  • Initial setup and maintenance: Developing and maintaining automated test scripts require time and resources.
  • Limited usability testing: Automated tests focus more on functional aspects and may not capture usability issues effectively.

It’s important to note that a balanced approach to testing often combines both manual and automated testing techniques. Manual testing is beneficial for exploratory testing, usability testing, and scenarios that require human judgment, while automated testing excels in repetitive tasks, regression testing, and large-scale test execution. The choice between manual and automated testing depends on a variety of factors such as project requirements, time constraints, complexity, and available resources.

Manual testingAutomated testing
PROSEveryone can testSimplest way of testingFocused on customers experience and workflow, i.e. customer centricNo Formal Testing experience requiredFaster Test cyclesDetects failures in shorter time frameIs best suited for agile developmentHigh product quality in less development time
CONSCan fail to run all test casesLower products because higher defectsMay miss out on defectsAutomated more precise test scriptsRequires  manual test cases to be written firstRequires automation testing platformsLess cost effective for first three cycles

When to choose Manual Testing or Automated Testing?

It can be confusing for developers and companies to choose between Manual and Automated testing techniques. Following pointers can help them decide when to opt for Manual and when to opt for automated testing.

Choose Manual testing when:

  • If you want more flexibility in your product. Manual testing might not be as accurate as automation but it’s surely more flexible than the latter.
  • If your project has a short timeline. Automated testing can be expensive and resource consuming for short, simple products and should be preferred for bigger, more complex projects.
  • If you are testing for usability, Manual Testing is usually preferred. This is because human testers can better understand a user’s pov given their ability to emote. Machines cannot empathize and hence lack human touch.

Choose Automated Testing when:

  • If your project is a complex one. When working with longer timelines, automating a few repetitive tasks is surely an advantage.
  • Number of iterations is a lot more. When the same features or tasks are being added or executed, choosing to automate a part or entire testing process is a great time-saving solution.
  • Opting for Functional testing. Automated Functional testing helps quickly and easily detect the actual performance of the functional requirements of an application.

Top 5 Automation Testing Tools of 2023

There are many automation testing tools in the market . However, few stand out more than the others for their reliability and efficacy.

1. Selenium

Selenium is an open source web automation tool which can easily work with several operating systems including Mac OS X, Linux, Windows etc. It is also versatile when it comes to working with different browsers. Its web extension, Selenium IDE, provides record and playback capabilities.

2. Appium

One of the most widely used open-source frameworks is Appium. Appium is popular as it automates mobile apps with full access to databases and Api’s in the test code irrespective of the language or environment it is being tested in. Another added advantage is that it works with most native, cross platform and hybrid apps.

3. Protractor

An efficient BDT (Behavior driven testing) and animation Tool, Protractor is another crowd favorite amongst developers. It successfully combines potent technologies like Selenium, Jasmine, etc.

4. Katalon Studio

Known for being Gartner’s Customer Choice of Test Automation, Katalan Studio is another tool to watch out for. Also based on the open source framework of selenium, Appium etc, Katalan Studio comes with a specialized IDE extension for web API and mobile Testing application.

5. TestComplete

Created by The SmartBear Company, TestComplete is a well-known functional automated testing platform which allows testers to automate functional UI testing for desktop, mobile, and online apps as well as tests for Microsoft Windows, the online, Android, and iOS. TestComplete can manage and detect dynamic UI components in the majority of accessible technologies thanks to built-in support for 500+ controls and third-party frameworks.


Testing is necessary if you are looking to build a superior product in the market. The better your product , the more chances it has to be popular with the masses. Which is why it is extremely important to pick which type of testing, manual or automated, is best suited for your project. The right Testing technique can help you greatly save on money, time and manpower. OpenXcell is a company which delivers great software testing services. It follows the best software development practices and provides best automation testing services along with reliable manual testing services.

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Samragyi Chamoli

Zealous, enthusiastic, and consistent, Samragyi is an ardent reader and an experienced writer. She loves animals and adventure.


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