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April 16, 2020

What Is Non Functional Testing?

Continuous Testing

Nonfunctional testing is important. But what's the difference between functional and nonfunctional testing? Find out in this blog.

What Is Nonfunctional Testing?

Nonfunctional testing verifies how applications work by examining things like performance, accessibility, and UX.

Difference Between Functional and Nonfunctional Testing

The difference between functional and nonfunctional testing is what they test.

Functional testing ensures that functions and features of the application work properly. Nonfunctional testing examines other aspects of how well the application works.

Functional testing tests the functionality of an app. Nonfunctional testing tests the performance of these functions.

Some examples of functional testing include unit testing, integration testing, API testing, exploratory testing, and critical business flows testing, These all test functional aspects of the website or mobile app.

Examples of nonfunctional testing types are listed down below.

Why You Need Nonfunctional Testing

Nonfunctional testing is just as critical as functional testing. And because teams need to conduct a mix of different types of testing, you need to be doing both.

Nonfunctional testing makes applications more usable and more reliable. Unfortunately, it can often be rushed in an effort to meet release deadlines.

When nonfunctional testing is overlooked, performance and UX defects can leave users with a bad experience and cause brand damage. Worse, applications could crash with an influx of users. Accessibility defects can result in compliance fines. And their security could be at risk.

What Are Nonfunctional Testing Types?

Nonfunctional testing is an umbrella term. There are many nonfunctional testing types. Here are a few.

  • Accessibility testing — Tests how usable the app is to users with disabilities, such as vision impairment.
  • Availability testing — Tests how often the app is accessible and readily available for use.
  • Compliance testing — Tests whether an app meets specified requirements or regulations.
  • Configuration testing — Tests an app against software and hardware variations.
  • Disaster recovery testing — Tests recovery of business-critical applications in emergency situations.
  • Endurance testing — Tests an app under a heavy load over an extended period of time.
  • Failover testing — Tests an app’s backup system in the event of a system failure. 
  • Geolocation testing — Tests location-based scenarios on an app.
  • Internationalization testing — Tests if an app can adapt to regional languages and other factors based on location.
  • Load testing — Tests an app’s performance under peak conditions.
  • Maintainability testing — Tests the app’s ability to update.
  • Performance testing — Tests the speed and responsiveness of an app under various conditions.
  • Portability testing — Tests how an app transfers from one software or operational environment to another.
  • Resilience testing — Tests an app’s ability to perform under stressed conditions.
  • Security testing — Tests an app’s security mechanisms to reveal vulnerabilities.
  • Scalability testing — Tests an app’s ability to scale up or down as user requests vary.
  • Stress testing — Tests an app’s stability under heavy loads or extreme conditions.
  • Usability testing — Tests an app’s ease of use.

The Risks of Testing Too Late

The traditional approach towards non-functional testing means it occurs at the end of the software delivery process, sometimes even extending beyond. Too often, nonfunctional testing is either left to the end of the cycle or done only partially. Or, it’s outsourced externally, where it is performed manually due to a lack of time and automation abilities. 

In these cases, critical tests don’t run in time to fully guarantee the delivery readiness of upcoming releases. This risks brand damage, compliance issues, and worse.

Shifting Nonfunctional Testing Left

What can be done to fix this?

Modern testing frameworks and cloud-based solutions allow earlier testing in the SDLC. These allow for identification and resolution of nonfunctional testing defects. Without nonfunctional testing early in the cycle, these defects have the potential to delay release. Nonfunctional testing thus reduces costs, unnecessary effort, and risk.

Early testing also smooths the transition from development to functional and nonfunctional testing.

Technology is only one half of the equation though. A cultural commitment to Agile principles is also needed. Teams need to constantly monitor and fine tune their tests so that they are aligned, well-perceived, and trusted.

Bottom Line

Nonfunctional testing is a critical part of any testing strategy. But it has to be able to scale to your testing needs.

Try nonfunctional testing with Perfecto’s cloud testing platform.

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