Automated UI Testing Tools and Techniques
By Shreya Bose, Community Contributor - February 22, 2023
Before starting with this follow-up article, look at the Detailed UI Testing Guide, which discusses the basics of UI Testing, the scope of UI testing, manual & automated UI testing approaches, and how one can create practical UI test scenarios.
This follow-up guide delves into the challenges of UI testing and tools & techniques that can be used to accomplish adequate user interface verification.
Challenges of UI Testing
1. Choosing the Right tools for UI testing
Without the right UI automation tools, testers would have to manually test the user interface, which would be time-consuming and effort-intensive. Not to mention, manual testing is prone to human error. However, choosing a tool that fits into the testing team’s existing workflow is essential. It should also have record/playback abilities, support reusable tests, and require minimal maintenance. It should also have in-built mechanisms for reporting and tracking bugs. Given the massive number of automation frameworks in the market, one can see why making a choice would be challenging.
2. Complications of Testing Web Components
Most websites now include functionalities requiring several complex and unique web components. Testing complex elements such as maps, flowcharts, diagrams, etc., create another layer of difficulting during UI testing.
Follow-Up Read: 5 Common Bugs Faced in UI Testing
3. Testing Constant UI Upgrades
Modern websites must be upgraded constantly to adapt to users’ ever-evolving needs and preferences. Often these upgrades involve integration with third-party tools or their newer versions. Naturally, this gives rise to a new set of functionalities that must be tested. Repeat this process with every upgrade, and one realizes where the challenge lies. However, visual regression testing has solved this for many testing teams going through a repeated cycle.
4. Handling Multiple Errors
Since UI Testing is almost always an extensive process, creating UI test scripts for automated UI testing takes maximum time. Thus, when errors do show up, handling them becomes problematic. Since much of the time and effort has gone into creating the test script, testers find themselves short on time and resources regarding error resolution.
5. ROI Calculation for Automated UI testing
Since the UI of any software keeps changing, evolving, and upgrading, UI automation testing tools must be updated accordingly to keep up. Testing upgrades almost always involves more time and money, thus making it hard to offer a definite estimate of ROI. Naturally, this causes trouble when planning finances for the testing process.
Must-Read: Calculating Test Automation ROI
Automated UI Testing Tools
While there are multiple UI Testing tools in the present market, this guide will shed insights that will yield the best results.
1. In-House Device Lab
This one should be obvious. Testers can run UI tests on real devices and verify the software GUI themselves if they can access an in-house mobile testing lab. Of course, this is usually not an option for individual testers or small organizations because setting up such a lab incurs significant monetary investment. The lab must be populated with as many devices as possible since the current state of global device fragmentation means that a massive range of different devices and browsers will access any software.
Remember that each device and browser has multiple versions, as does each operating system. When one does the math, the lab must be able to accommodate thousands of device-browser-OS combinations for both manual and automated testing. This can be a tall order even for the most cash-rich of companies.
2. Cloud-Based UI Testing
Of course, this applies to all kinds of software testing. But given the necessity and expanse of UI testing, this deserves special mention. By running UI tests on a cloud Selenium grid like the one provided by BrowserStack, testers can get quick and accurate results without hosting any on-premise devices. It allows iOS and Android UI testing on 3000+ real browsers and devices. By performing Selenium UI testing on these devices, testers can monitor how their website functions in real user conditions.
While putting their UI through automated Selenium testing, testers can take advantage of BrowserStack’s myriad integrations and UI automation software, as well as a variety of debugging tools to streamline tests, identify bugs and neutralize them before they can disrupt the user experience.
Testers can also use BrowserStack’s real device cloud for manual testing. The same logic applies: manually test a website across 3000+ real browsers and devices.
UI Testing Techniques
UI Testing techniques refer to the processes and methods used to verify a website’s user interface. Here are a few UI Testing techniques:
1. Exploratory Testing
Exploratory testing is done manually, where one or more testers “explore” a website, going through its features and functions to ensure they are working correctly. It does not involve too much pre-planning as they focus on various aspects of user experience and outline user journeys that must be tested. The parameters for exploratory testing usually differ from project to project because of their flexibility. Each exploratory test’s purpose depends on the website’s nature and the related user journeys it provides. Fundamentally, it helps identify flaws or bugs that wouldn’t usually show up in planned automated tests.
Also Read: Common Reasons for Automation Tests Failure
2. Scripted Testing
This refers to automated UI tests when test frameworks and tools need to be given specific directions regarding what to test and how to test it, and this is done through test scripts. The opposite of exploratory testing requires extensive planning, crafting test cases, and writing test scripts accordingly. Test scripts are run through automation frameworks such as Selenium. Scripts define test parameters as well as the expected output. This helps the framework compare actual results with expected ones so that they can pronounce tests as passed or failed.
3. User Experience Testing
The website is tested from an end-user perspective in UI testing. This can be done directly by a potential end-user who is given access to the completed but not released website. They can use the website and provide feedback. Conversely, testers can talk to end-users and create user personas. By understanding what users want from a website, testers can create test scenarios and go through them to gauge how the software fares in user experience.
Another option is releasing a beta version of the product to end-users to collect feedback. This is especially useful when feedback is required from users in different geographical locations. In this case, it is essential to notify users that they are using a beta version. This is so users do not think the product is ridden with bugs. User experience testing is performed manually.
Before commencing a process, take the time to decide which UI testing tools and techniques will best serve the developers’, testers’, and end-user purposes. This article provides an overview so testers can use it as a starting point for making the right choices for interface testing tools.
Pro-Tip: Run parallel tests to get faster results without compromising on accuracy. Detect the bugs faster and offer a high-end user interface by testing in real user conditions with BrowserStack Automate.
- Similarly, Percy by BrowserStack has helped Canva augment its manual UI testing efforts with an automated visual testing solution.
- Canva’s teams now have insight into how their UI is impacted every time their product is updated.
- Applying the same automation culture to the appearance of their UI helps them maintain consistency, especially as new developers join the team.