If a website or an app has to succeed in today's digital-first market, then it needs to provide a bug-free experience on every device, every browser (only for websites), and every operating system. However, as sites and apps become increasingly sophisticated, manual testing becomes complicated and time-consuming.

That's where Automation Testing comes in. If you ask experts, they'll tell you that test automation has simplified and accelerated the software testing world. 

But is automation testing the right choice for me?

What test automation best practices should I follow to get the best results?

Read this best practices guide (written by a QA tester) to know the answers. But first, let's get some basics right: 

Manual VS Automated Testing: The Basics

An actual tester needs to perform manual testing. A tester can analyze specific features and UX-related issues or do an exploratory test. Unlike manual testing, automated testing is done without human interruption and is much quicker as you can use ready scripts. The human workforce prepares and starts the check, but the machine performs the necessary testing. Automated tests require a determinant that helps deliver a positive or negative result.

Why Do You Need Automatic Software Testing?

Test automation took the software industry by storm. It only took a short time to become a huge trend, and here's why:

  • Maximum reliability and no risk of human error. Manual testers might miss an important detail, but computers will follow issued commands to the smallest detail.
  • Excellent for large-scope projects. Automated tests process large data quantities at a fast rate. Computers can work 24/7, ensuring maximum efficiency.
  • Suitable for repetitive tests. Repetitive checks are boring for humans, but machines will execute them without complaining. Additionally, an automatic test created once can efficiently be rerun.
  • The only option for some tests. You can't automate all tests, but there are cases when they are the sole option. A typical example is when you are testing app stability when hundreds of customers use the software simultaneously.
  • Ensures you release the software according to schedule. You'll secure enough time to iron out the issues by receiving fast and reliable feedback. Thanks to that, you can release the software as planned.

How Does Automated Testing Work?

Automation testing works by executing hundreds and thousands of tests at once by using pre-scripted sequences. Who writes these test cases or scripts? It's the QA engineer who does it. After all, automated testing still needs some human input to function correctly.

10 Test Automation Best Practices You Should Follow

Here are a few test automation best practices that our QA team lead recommends you follow when joining this new trend of automation testing:

1. Identify the Right Tool

The selection of automated testing tools is impressive. It makes deciding on a suitable tool difficult, but it comes down to your preferences. If cross-platform support is imperative, you need a tool to check how your software works on Windows, Mac, and other devices. 

And if you are working on a web-based app, it should function well regardless of the browser. Some test automation tools can run the same test on different browsers and systems.

2. Hire a Specialized Automated Testing Engineer

Automated tests don't require human involvement. But you still need a person to adjust the tool and necessary parameters. So it helps to have a staff member specializing in automated tests, especially if you have a large team.

That person can become a true expert at working with test automation tools. It ensures setting the tests will go smoothly and minimize the risk of badly-created tests delivering unreliable results.

3. Don't Hesitate to Test in Early Phases

The beauty of test automation is reusability. Once you create a specific test, you can run it as often as necessary. Therefore, you should implement automated tests as early in development as possible.

Let's say you start developing a new feature. Run tests as often as possible during the creation process. It ensures you uncover and resolve bugs before pushing them into the main branch. It improves the software and minimizes the risk of complex issues appearing, especially before the release.

4. False Positives Require Your Attention

Automated tests are reliable when it comes to discovering errors and bugs. But occasionally, you might notice a false positive or negative. If there's inconsistency, it's time to review the test. Adjusting the parameters will ensure those uncertainties don't happen again.

False results will usually occur while your team gets used to automatic tests. As the engineer preparing the tests becomes more experienced, there'll be less risk of anything going wrong.

5. Use the Comment Section for Notes

Big teams will have multiple engineers working on automated tests. A team member might encounter the code someone else created. That might be hard to understand, so adding comments is crucial. The person making a test should explain their intentions to avoid guesswork. 

Comments could also be helpful if you have one engineer working on automated tests. It's not easy to remember your thinking from several months ago. Notes are reminders that will ensure you avoid confusion.

6. Divide tasks based on skill

When creating test cases or scripts, assigning tasks based on each individual's technical expertise is essential. For instance, if the test requires a proprietary tool to be executed, any team member with minimal technical skills can do it easily. However, if you decide to run the same test using an open-source tool, you would need to align someone who has extensively worked with that tool, which is mostly a senior QA engineer or Tool expert.

7. Keep Records for Better Debugging

According to a recent survey by Cigniti, for every test you run, there's a 64% chance that it will not perform as per your expectations. So, it's essential to keep track of the failures and text and video logs of the failed test so that testers can identify the reasons for the failure. Not keeping records of the tests is one of the most underrated test automation best practices! 

8. Always Test on Real Devices

When running test automation, it's important to run tests using real browsers, devices and OS because device fragmentation is every developer and tester's worst nightmare. Additionally, it's equally important to run tests that simulate real-life situations like low battery, brightness, internet instability, etc.  

9. Execute test automation

You might be wondering, how is executing a test automation best practice? Logically executing a test is a process, but certain points and factors need to be followed to prevent your test from failing due to errors. 

So, when you start executing the test, always remember to:

  • Parallelize automated test cases that require no interdependency. This helps in saving time and resources.
  • Use a scheduling tool to run tests in parallel mode. 
  • Always use a stable server and network when running a test. This helps avoid unexpected failure and reduces eat time. 

One of the Most Underrated Test Automation Best Practices: Learning from Failed Tests

When it comes to automated testing, most testers focus on reading the reports (for failed tests) and verifying the results (for successful tests), but what they don't focus on, is analyzing the reasons behind the failed tests. Analyzing the failed tests can help you identify the root cause of the error and rectifying it can improve your software/website/app in a significant manner.

Final Thoughts

Automated software testing speeds up the process and delivers accurate results. It helps improve the software while ensuring you stay on track with the schedule. If you can automate a test, industry experts advise going ahead with it. Test automation can't replace manual testers completely. But the technology has developed enough to do most tests automatically. So don't hesitate to integrate test automation into your working process and experience the competitive advantage it brings!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article written by our friends from the QA team.