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Home Guide What is GUI Testing? (Types & Best Practices)

What is GUI Testing? (Types & Best Practices)

By Sanghita Ganguly, Community Contributor -

GUI is the abbreviation of ‘Graphical User Interface’. It contains several visual elements, such as buttons, text boxes, menus, checkboxes, images, etc. GUI testing refers to the validating UI functions or features of an application that are visible to the users, and they should comply with business requirements. GUI testing is also known as UI testing. That means ‘User Interface testing. So, you can use both acronyms alternatively.

But why do we need GUI testing? GUI testing aims to ensure that the end-user gets a hassle-free experience. Since users are often unaware of the specific UIs, they focus on the design of the app, its colors, and whether it is easy to navigate. In this way, an app attracts more users day by day. For this reason, GUI testing became important.

You can perform UI testing both manually and automatically. But automated UI Testing is the most reliable solution in many cases.

Types of GUI testing

1. Functional Testing

It determines whether a UI works according to its function requirements. First, you have to specify the functions you want to test. Then you need to determine input data and output as per the requirements. After that, you can execute test cases and compare your actual result to the prior expected result.

If the original and previously determined output matches, it indicates the app’s functions are running as per our expectations. Ex. Textbox allows users to enter the text within it and displays them on the screen. Functional testing checks whether it is happening correctly or not

2. Usability Testing

This ensures how easily a user can handle an application. TThe main factors for this graphical user interface testing are-

Faster access: The response time of the software must be speedy. We have to ensure the software will load within 3-6 seconds.

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Readability: The application layout will be clear, and the content should be simple and user-friendly.

Satisfaction: To test the users’ satisfaction with the apps’ functions, and offerings.

Navigation: The navigation steps should be easy. It includes- a search bar, header, footer, and effective internal linking.

Experience: Ensure the correct error messages are shown. It empowers the usability and user experience of the application. 

Pro-Tip: Visual Regression testing streamlines this by checking if new code contradicts or scrambles older features. It ensures that new code enhances or leaves old code unaffected with every build.

3. Compatibility Testing

This testing displays the balance of the app’s design, layouts, and behavior throughout several OS, browsers, mobile devices, databases, hardware platforms, networks, etc. Furthermore, compatibility testing checks if the app can meet the expectations of different OS browsers and devices. This is a robust way to identify bugs before the final product launch.

What is GUI Testing? (Types & Best Practices)

4. Accessibility Testing

Accessibility testing ensures that all users (including most disabled persons) get entrance and interact with software with its maximum possibility. There are several accessibility criteria for this purpose ex. Accessibility of text and labels, image contrast ratio, navigations, and more. This testing aims to remove barriers to communicating with users who face problems with poorly designed UI.

Best Practices for GUI testing

Test Planning and Design Considerations: Making a test plan before writing test cases is necessary. Test planning emphasizes the principal areas of the UI for testing. Also, it includes-

  • Commencement date of testing
  • Human resources
  • Test environments – mobile, desktop, etc.
  • Testing goals that include criteria for measuring success or failure
  • Testing techniques- scripted testing, exploratory testing, UX testing, and more.

Test Case development: Start your test case with an accurate description of GUI events like registration. Then execute the test by adding conditions and procedures. Finally, measure the result and compare it with the expected one. The best practices for GUI test cases are-

  • Separate the unnecessary test data from your test case. Also, create separate data for the test environment.
  • Create individual test cases for different modules. Let’s assume the modules of a shopping app- searching items, filtering items, adding to a cart, and more. So, create individual test cases for them.
  • Differentiate positive (valid data) and negative (invalid data) test cases.

Test Automation: Automation testing is faster and handles multiple test cases simultaneously. Also, automation frameworks support recording results, screen captures, and several modern features for testing. It allows parallel test execution making it a  good option for cross-browser testing.

What is GUI Testing? (Types & Best Practices)

Challenges and Limitations of GUI testing

Complexity of GUI systems: Visual noise raises the complexity of a UI system. Unnecessary white spaces and contrast are the cause of this problem. Also, additional elements and functions distract users and result in a poor user experience. 

Maintenance and scalability: Scalability of UI leverages the reusability of a component. That means the design and code should be able to adapt to the changes in features. In this way, maintenance of UI becomes easy. Otherwise, it would be costly to maintain your UI with changing requirements.

Integration with other testing types: One of the toughest challenges of GUI testing is to perform regression testing. Because code changes bother the regression testing to give the expected output. Another problem occurs in structural testing. It’s a kind of white-box testing that checks if all the components have appropriate test coverage. You will need to design additional tests if there is any coverage gap.

What is GUI Testing? (Types & Best Practices)

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