Automation Testing vs Manual Testing: Which One Is Better?

calender May 31, 2023
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Pankaj Pandit

QA Engineer

When it comes down to it, the difference between manual vs. automation testing is that in automation testing, app testing is a process conducted automatically through a programmed system/framework. While in manual software testing, an actual human tester performs app testing to identify flaws and determine good functionality.

Software testing requires a microscopic level of attention, experience, and appropriate skills to do it right. It is the only way to ensure error-free and secure functionality and an overall convenient user experience for the target audience. 69% of smartphone users purchase products/services from companies with a user-friendly mobile app and website.

Ensuring such a user interface and experience requires a good amount of both automated and manual software testing. However, choosing between them can be confusing without all the required information.

Most experienced developers recommend going with both automated and manual software testing. But for startups, the first job is to lower costs where you can without affecting the quality of the solutions you provide.

This article will help you with that by explaining how manual and automated software testing affects the testing process differently. It should enable you to understand which one to go within your development process.

What is Manual Testing?

Manual software testing is a process that includes human QA engineers/testers for testing the software manually and without the use of any automated tools. Manual software testing is a QA engineer/tester evaluating the performance of an application from an end-user perspective, which allows them to ensure the application meets all the target user requirements. The reports of such cases are also generated manually by the QA and tester team.

Manual software testing involves a predefined set of actions to evaluate various elements of software in order to test its functional capabilities and user experience in multiple scenarios and by different breeds of users.

A food delivery app can have a large target user base, and software testing for such an app requires a manual testing process from the perspective of all types of users. For example, a particular group of people would prefer browsing through restaurants, while another would prefer just searching for what they want. The predetermined rules in the manual testing process must cover such aspects before software testing begins.

Any differences in the performance besides the expected one are due to bugs and coding errors. Developers then deal with them and ensure the app has error-free functionality. Although manual software testing is an effective way to evaluate software, it can be time-consuming if the development process follows an ineffective approach.

Types of Testing in Manual

Manual software testing has many branches that QA specialists/testers can explore according to their project requirements and goals. Some of them are most suitable for mobile application testing, while some are recognized as types of web application testing.

White-box Testing

White box testing includes internal elements of an application, such as its code, third-party integrations, data structures, backend, and infrastructure. Its other terms are open box testing, glass box testing, Clear box testing, code-based application testing, and transparent box testing for your reference.

Black Box Testing

Black box testing is an approach that involves the functional testing of an application to evaluate its capability to meet target user requirements. The QA specialists test the application from the perspective of end users to understand how they would perceive it, identify bugs and deal with them, and find elements that can add to a bad user experience. It does not include any testing of internal systems directly, nor does it require advanced coding knowledge.

Gray Box Testing

Grey box testing is an approach created with the elements of the white box and black box testing approach. It usually includes an expert with some or more coding and testing experience. Grey box testing helps identify application flaws caused by a poorly developed structure or improper/unprecedented application usage.

Unit Testing

Unit testing is an individual evaluation of every small element (Unit) of an application by testing the performance of its outcome. Developers/testers/QA specialists perform this software testing during the development process(for example, code reviews).

Integration Testing

Integration software testing involves evaluating the interaction between two elements/components of an application through the user interface to analyze how they can perform as one system. It does not require advanced coding skills/experience or a deep understanding of the backend since software testing takes place via the interface.

System Testing

System testing is a process where the QA engineers/testers evaluate the interaction of various and all software components with each other to test the integrated software systems as a whole. It enables QA specialists to identify any defects between the integrated elements of an application and the entire application system.

Usability Testing

Usability testing is an approach a team takes from the early days of development towards the end to understand how users interact with the software, what they feel is lacking, and what creates a bad user experience. It better helps understand user behavior, needs, and expectations from software.

User Acceptance Testing

There are a lot of similarities between usability and user acceptance testing. While usability testing is more about the technical functionality of the application, user acceptance testing (UAT) focuses on whether the software meets target user requirements/expectations through a convenient user experience.

For example, user acceptance testing for a marketplace website or app would include users Search/Browse for a Product, Add to Cart, Choose a Location, Make the Payment, and Track the Order. Such software testing allows you to understand the ease of use of your application from the end-user perspective and improve the user experience further.

What is Automated Testing?

Automation testing is a software testing approach that uses a programmed system to evaluate the various internal elements of the application to ensure it can provide the intended functionality and performance. It uses automated testing software with scripted sequences to examine an application.

It looks for bugs, errors, security vulnerabilities, and other problems caused by a mistake or a previously unknown element in the product development process.

Types of Mobile App Testing in Automation

Automation testing primarily focuses on commands a framework can perform to test various components and functionalities of an application.

Functional Testing

Functional software testing verifies that the application interacts well with network applications and connected databases. It also helps evaluate the proper functionality of the application front-end.

Nonfunctional Testing

Functional tests help evaluate the functionality of the internal elements of an application, while nonfunctional tests focus on testing the external components.

Keyword-Driven Testing

Keyword-driven application testing includes verbs from a spreadsheet or table to state the execution of each performed test. It does not require complex technical skills as it uses human language to define the processes of applications.

QA specialists/testers can create numerous scripts from the keywords because every word describes a specific action. As a result, application test results are easy to read and compatible with updates and reuse.

Integration Testing

Integration software testing verifies the functionality of various application modules after code revisions. It also identifies any errors in communication between application elements that can function well as a single unit.

Unit Testing

Unit testing verifies that each code can function without any or continued support from functional modules or any external code.

Smoke Testing

Smoke testing is about identifying major functional bugs in the software before deployment. It helps identify problems that users could face while using the app. Smoke testing also helps deal with issues in the front end caused by source code updates.

Regression Testing

Regression testing includes double-checking the non-functional and functional application elements after code changes/updates to identify and deal with any unexpected impact on the performance. It allows the team to identify factors that lead to unprecedented and disadvantageous results.

Performance Testing

Performance testing evaluates how an application functions under various conditions. The test analyzes AUT’s speed, stability, and latency to evaluate the reliability of the application system.

In performance testing, the system pushes the limits of the application to understand how it would do in the real world after deployment. They gather and evaluate the results to identify the cause of functional issues.

Security Testing

Security testing helps detect potential vulnerabilities in a system before hackers exploit them. Automated security enables the team to identify if there are security vulnerabilities in every development stage, making it easy to create a secure app that can protect user data and privacy.

Data-Driven Testing

Data-driven testing includes a list of conditions to describe the test processes and record the outcomes. It helps create a framework where the recorded data helps improve the testing process for each unit of data under evaluation.

Automation Testing Life Cycle (ATLC)

Automation testing includes stages of the testing cycle with more phases for managing application testing preparation and test automation.

Define Test Automation Scope

The first stage of this cycle focuses on identifying the feasibility of automation testing. Each viewpoint must be thought of while examining the workability. Application elements that are automation-compatible must be set apart from incompatible ones.

Consider crucial aspects such as the test automation tool cost, application testing personnel, and automation process expertise. Automation feasibility evaluations are mandatory in every test automation process.

Choose Test Automation Tools

Choosing the best test automation tools is crucial for the ATLC since automation testing can only happen with the required tools. Developers must consider budget constraints, testing team skills and experience, and available resources.

The innovative and flexible approach of the team helps select the most effective test automation tools. QA engineers should determine and analyze the criteria for the tests and the automation tool. The testing team can then choose the frameworks/tools according to the determined requirements for mobile application testing.

Some automation testing tools are Selenium, Katalon Studio, Appium, Cucumber, SoapUI, and Lambda Test.

Create a Test Plan and Strategy

This phase involves test automation framework preparation. To support and manage the testing environment, the team must determine the test standards/guidelines with the software, hardware, and network.

It helps create a testing timeline, test framework data requirements, tracking tool, and an approach to better manage the test staging and configuration.

Strategy for Test Management:

  1. Get all test cases (manual) from the test automation tracking and management tools and identify the test case which needs to be automated.
  2. Identify the benefits and disadvantages of testing tools and the framework.
  3. Identify risks, background data, and dependent elements between replication.
  4. Prepare a test suite/validation suite in the automation tool for a test case, enabling test management.

Test Plan, Design, and Strategy is a stage of the ATLC that characterizes how to approach and achieve the objective of test automation.

Setting Up the Test Environment

QA specialists and testers must track and plan the test timelines, prepare the test automation software, and connect hardware and network resources.

Test Environment Preparation:

  • The data components must match the test environment, or it can lead to a problem when there are code changes.
  • Create a list of all applications, models, and systems for testing.
  • A front-end environment should enable load testing for application capacity analysis.
  • Application testing should happen on all intended operating systems.
  • Use elements such as a database server to create a staging environment.
  • Store all configuration and installation instructions and user manuals in the primary database.

Create Test Automation Scripts for Execution

The test automation team must confirm that all test scripts run effectively. They must follow the mentioned processes.

  1. Create test scripts according to requirements.
  2. Create a function method for use during the testing process.
  3. Create a reusable script to make it easy for all the team members to understand.
  4. Review the test script codes to ensure efficient quality assurance.
  5. The testing should include all the functional elements of the application.
  6. Plan test scripts in many environments and platforms.
  7. Save resources and time by executing test scripts in batches.
  8. Create a detailed report for bugs and issues after failure.
  9. Prepare all documentation in this phase.
  10. Ensure that the test content includes all practical angles as indicated by the experiment.

Test Results and Reports Analysis and Generation

Once the test is complete, the team evaluates and finds specific functional elements that display multiple problems in test reports. The test result analysis helps determine requirements for more tests or better execution.

It also helps identify any flaws/errors in the test scripts or procedures. It is the last stage of the ATLC and involves report sharing with stakeholders and clients.

Difference Between Automated and Manual Testing

A mobile app has many elements, like a source code, UI design, or a particular feature that requires evaluation before it gets approved for release. Test automation vs. manual testing help ensures that the goal is in different ways.

App Size

Automated testing examples have proven that they can effortlessly test a large-scale app with unparalleled efficiency, whereas manual testing needs more time and is not always possible when large-scale testing is required.


Manual testing examples show lower accuracy due to the higher possibility of human errors. Automation testing has better accuracy and no errors in its results since a programmed system conducts the process.

Testing Turnaround time

Manual software testing takes more time to complete due to the limitations of the human element, increasing the turnaround time.

Automation testing is faster and completes the process within a predetermined period of time, providing a better turnaround time.

Cost Efficiency

Manual software testing is costly as it involves the hiring of expert professionals to perform software testing.

Automation testing does not cost less than manual, but its ROI is significantly better.

User Experience

Manual software testing promises a high-end user experience since it includes a human-driven process. Test automation is program-driven testing that may or may not understand how to ensure a user-friendly experience for target customers.


Manual software testing is compatible with exploratory, usability testing, and Ad-hoc Testing to get the most effective results. Automation testing is most suitable for regression, load, and performance testing, providing better results by allowing multiple testing iterations.

Required Skills

In manual software testing, users must be able to mimic user behavior and create test plans to cover all the scenarios.

In automation testing, users must be highly skilled at programming and scripting to build test cases and automate as many scenarios as possible.

Testing Iterations

With Automation testing, you can conduct as many testing interactions as required since frequent repetition is possible, cost-effective, and easy with test automation. However, it is not a practical expectation in manual software testing since humans have physical and mental limitations.

Human-friendly Testing

Only a human user can tell whether the interface design, features, and functionality of a software application meet human expectations.

Manual software testing enables such a process, but test automation does not since a programmed system does all the software testing.


Application testing is a big industry where manual and automation are equally necessary. There are many apps where automation tools cannot help determine software quality correctly, and manual software testing is required. Similarly, some apps need automation testing to ensure they meet requirements.

When you require skilled testers, you can go with manual software testing, and where you need to automate the test case, you should choose test automation. It is because manual vs. automation testing has pros and cons, and choosing between them depends on your project requirements and budget.

Such requirement analysis and cost estimation are easy to determine with the assistance of an established mobile app development company, housing skilled QA engineers and testers to ensure a one-stop experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of automated software testing over manual?

Automation testing is less time-consuming and removes the possibility of human errors in application testing. It also saves costs, and company resources/time, enabling multiple testing iterations, a task not always possible with manual software testing.

Why is manual software testing more effective than automation testing?

The end users of applications are humans, so an app tested by a human (manual software testing) provides better insights into what an application lacks and needs to have for better functionality and user experience.

Is manual software testing easier than automatic?

Yes. Manual software testing is generally easier than automation testing as it mostly requires a process where QA specialists have to evaluate the application functionality and performance from the perspective of end users. Automation testing requires an expert understanding of programming languages.

How to choose between manual and automated software testing?

Automated and manual software testing is both beneficial for your application testing process. Determine your project and business goals along with the budget. It will help you decide the most beneficial one for your project and whether you can incorporate both into your development process.

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