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UI Testing Tools and Techniques

Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack -

Table of Contents

Before starting with this article, have a look at UI Testing: Part I, which discusses the basics of UI Testing, it’s types, and test scenarios.

Part II discusses the challenges of UI testing, as well as tools and techniques that are used to accomplish effective user interface verification.

Challenges of UI Testing

  • Selecting the right automated UI testing tool: Without the right automated UI testing tool, testers would have to manually test the user interface, which would be enormously time-consuming and effort-intensive. Not to mention, manual testing opens the door to human error. However, it is important to choose a tool that fits into the testing team’s existing workflow. 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 huge number of automation testing tools and frameworks in the market, one can see why making the choice would be a challenge.
  • Complications of testing web components: Most websites now include functionalities that require several web components to run. Testing complex elements such as maps, flowcharts, diagrams, etc. add significant difficulty to the process.
  • 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.
  • Handling multiple errors: Since UI Testing is almost always an extensive process, it takes maximum time to create UI test scripts for automated UI testing. Thus, when errors do show up, handling them becomes difficult. Since much of the time and effort has gone into creating the test script, testers find themselves short on time and resources when it comes to error resolution.
  • ROI calculation for automated UI testing: Since the UI of any software keeps changing, evolving, and upgrading, tests must be changed accordingly to keep up. Testing upgrades almost always involves more investment of time and money, thus making it hard to offer a definite estimate of ROI. Naturally, this causes trouble when it comes to planning finances for the testing process.

UI Testing Tools

While there are multiple UI Testing tools in the present market, this article will discuss two that are sure to yield the best results:

  • In-house device lab: This one should be obvious. If testers have access to an in-house device lab, they can run UI tests on real devices and verify the software GUI themselves. 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 any software will be accessed by a massive range of different devices and browsers. Keep in mind that each device and browser has multiple versions, as does each operating system. When one does the math, that means that the lab must be able to accommodate thousands of device-browser-OS combinations for both manual and automated testing. Even for the most cash-rich of companies, this can be a tall order.
  • 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 such as the one provided by BrowserStack, testers can get quick and accurate results – all without hosting any on-premise devices. It allows iOS and Android UI testing on 2000+ real browsers and devices. By performing Selenium UI testing on these devices, testers can monitor exactly how their website functions in real user conditions.

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While putting their UI through automated Selenium testing, testers can take advantage of BrowserStack’s myriad integrations, as well as a variety of debugging tools to streamline tests, identify bugs and neutralize them before they can disrupt user experience.

Testers can also use BrowserStack’s real device cloud for manual testing. The same logic applies: manually test a website across 2000+ real browsers and devices.

UI Testing Techniques

UI Testing techniques refer to the processes and methods that can be used to verify a website’s user interface.

  • Exploratory Testing: This is usually done manually. One or more testers “explore” a website, going through its features and functions to ensure that all of them are working properly. Usually, exploratory tests do not involve too much pre-planning. 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 its flexible nature. The purpose of each exploratory test depends on the nature of the website, and the related user journeys it provides. Fundamentally, it helps identify flaws or bugs that wouldn’t usually show up planned automated tests.
  • Scripted Testing: This refers to automated UI tests. 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 exact opposite of exploratory testing, it 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.
  • User Experience Testing: In this form of UI testing, the website is tested from the perspective of an end-user. 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 terms of user experience.Another option is releasing a beta version of the product to end-users in order to collect feedback. This is especially useful when feedback is required from users in different geographical locations. In this case, however, it is important to notify users that they are using a beta version. This is so that users do not think the actual product is ridden with bugs.Needless to say, user experience testing is performed manually.

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Before commencing on a UI Testing process, take the time to decide which tools and techniques will best serve the developers’, testers’ and end-users’ purpose. This article provides an overview of those so that testers can use it as a starting point for making the right choices in these categories.

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