ui automation testing
May 26, 2020

UI Automation Testing: A Guide

Scriptless Testing

Not long ago, most software tests were performed locally by replicating an ideal environment and running several UI tests. Today, with rapid development models and short release cycles, organizations are replacing conventional manual testing techniques with more effective approaches. Automated UI testing is quickly becoming the new norm.

This comprehensive guide dives into UI automation, one of the hottest trends in the world of software testing. It is designed to provide you with knowledge across the broader UI test automation spectrum, including what it means, how to perform it, and the various challenges it presents.

As you will realize, this guide provides valuable insights for decision-makers looking to invest in test automation as well as developers who want to increase their knowledge in this field.

Read along or jump ahead to the section that interests you most. 

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What Is Automated UI Testing?

To understand the concept of automated UI testing, you first need to understand what UI testing means. So, let’s start by breaking everything down.

user interface (UI) is the front-end of an application that facilitates interaction with users on their screens. 

UI testing is the process used to verify whether the end-user interface is running correctly.

When performing UI tests, we check that every bit of logic, UI feature, or flow of actions works as expected. Here, testers focus on validating every click of a button, data entry, navigation, calculation of values, and other functionalities used for user interaction.

UI automation testing is a technique where these testing processes are performed using an automation tool. Instead of having testers click through the application to verify data and action flows visually, test scripts are written for each test case. A series of steps to follow when the verifying data is then added.

A simple example would be something like this:

UI automation test script
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Common Mobile and Web UI Test Automation Challenges 

1. Finding the Right UI Automation Tools

Today’s marketplace is filled with tons of open-source and commercial UI automation testing tools. Although these tools are designed to support different types of tests and technologies, choosing the right tool to support an application under test becomes a challenge.

It is therefore important to perform enough research before selecting a UI automation tool. Choosing a suitable automation tool that satisfies your technical and business needs will make your testing efforts more productive.

2. High Maintenance Due to Changing UI

A common development practice when developing applications is making constant changes and improvements to the UI and the app logic. This creates a contact challenge of adapting the test automation to those changes.

3. Complex Development Environment

Just like in manual UI testing, the increasingly diverse combinations of devices, operating systems, and other software are a serious challenge when automating UI tests.

4. Demand for Skilled Resources

There’s a common myth that UI test automation can be handled by anyone because it involves recording test scripts and playing them back. This is utterly wrong.

Most automation tools require a substantial level of technical expertise and strong knowledge of the testing framework. Without the required technical skills, creating accurate test scripts and maintaining becomes a top challenge.

5. Selecting a Proper Testing Approach

For successful UI testing, you must use the right tool and employ the correct automation approach. This should always be one of the top concerns for test automation engineers.

Testing teams should think about reducing the effort required to implement and maintain test scripts. It is important for testers to develop an automation solution that detects issues automatically and revalidates the tests without human intervention.

Another thing to consider when selecting a proper testing approach is the generation of useful test metrics and reports.

6. High Initial Investment

Automated testing is crucial for quality assurance in today’s agile development. However, despite its huge payoff in terms of long-term benefits, the cost of implementing test automation in the initial phases is usually high.

7. Choosing the Right Devices 

Creating a test lab with the right devices, browsers, and OS's is your foundation for testing your mobile and web applications. But lab issues alone cause more than fifteen percent of automated tests to fail.

Related Reading: Advanced Automation Solutions

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The Solution: Automated Mobile and Web UI Testing With Perfecto

While the above are not the only challenges found in UI test automation, they are the most common. Testing teams should, therefore, find solutions that can overcome these shortcomings to ensure the test automation project is successful.

Automation tools like Perfecto Scriptless Mobile can help address these challenges by providing a more efficient way of testing. This is because they are built to empower every tester, including those with the least testing knowledge.

In addition, Perfecto offers a robust testing platform that offers everything you will need to succeed at UI automation, from thousands of real devices in Perfecto’s Smart Lab to integrations with all the major solutions making up your DevOps toolchain.

Other important benefits of UI automation with Perfecto include:

  • The ability to automate UI tests with code, scriptless capabilities, or both. 
  • Parallel execution across real and virtual mobile devices, and web browsers. 
  • Unified test reporting with AI-powered detection and classification of errors.
  • Root-cause analysis to find bugs and resolve them quickly. 
  • Enhanced scope of UI automation.

UI test automation is an efficient and cost-saving way to verify the performance and functionality of your application’s interface. Although setting up automated UI tests and creating the necessary scripts requires a considerable amount of effort, it will streamline your testing cycle in the long run.

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