Web Testing Best Practices: The Rabbit vs The Tortoise

    By Amy Montague, Thursday 4 July 2019

    Since the dawn of time, there has always been one question that confounds scientists and philosophers alike, ‘Which is better: automated testing or manual testing?’. Alright, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the sentiment is the same. Right now, somewhere in the world developers, e-commerce managers and website maintenance teams are all banging their heads together trying to solve this question and boost their conversions. If you are one of these poor souls who now has a headache, don’t worry because I’m here to answer this age-old question.

    Is quicker always better?

    The backbone behind automated testing is that it’s quick. Many automated testing companies will promise you all your website bugs will be identified in 24 hours or less due to the speed of their program. But to put it simply, quicker isn’t better. Speedy automated testing barely skims the surface as it conducts short cuts and ignores issues real users would identify. Don’t get me wrong, if you have a hard deadline approaching and are already under pressure from the people above you, a quick test appears to solve all your problems. It’s the rabbit vs the tortoise dilemma.

    Paper rabbit and turtle picture
    Manual testing, on the other hand, has the stereotype that it takes a lot longer to run a full test. But this is what separates an average testing company from a great one. A great manual testing company will be able to provide you with 24-hour testing with real users, even over weekends, as they will have a dedicated global community of testing experts on hand.

    Script vs Code

    Another large cog in the testing machine is coding vs scripts. Testing companies may not want you to know this but in essence, they are the same thing and require the same amount of work. Both require your teams to sit down and decide what should be tested and what paths to follow. The only difference is the tasks are either given to humans (scripted) or entered into a computer (coded).

    The downside to coding is if your website updates frequently then you must completely stop and rewrite the code from the back end to compensate for the new user journeys. But if you are using a scripted manual test then you can rely on your fellow testing company to simply make the testing professionals aware of the changes.

    Down to the bone, it’s the difference between telling someone a change has happened compared to re-coding an entire piece of software. Both achieve the same goal, but manual testing gets it done more effectively and allows room for more changes to be made without shutting everything down.

    Through their eyes

    Manual testing has one huge advantage over automated and it should be the reason why you chose manual testing instead of automated.

    But first, let’s think about why your website exists. You have something you want to say or want to sell. You want users to go on your website and complete conversions, become loyal users or even go as far as recommending your website/brand to someone else. It's the dream and this only happens when their online experience is positive and easy to use. You are digitally providing an experience which should make you money. All these factors centre around your users and how your website makes them feel. So, here’s why manual testing is better. It uses real users. Actual real people. Exactly like the people who are going to be on your site.

    Automated testing cannot provide you with user-focused recommendations, use real people to perform customer journeys, identify issues which only the human eye can see or give you actionable insights to improve your website.

    To be a successful business you need these things and they can only be achieved through manual testing. Automated testing might seem like a quick fix but if you want a website which is successful in the long run then manual testing is the solution, both on live sites and pre-release platforms.

    Amy Montague

    Amy Montague

    As one of the Marketing Executives for Digivante, Amy provides and reviews most of the copy and visual content for Digivante. Amy has a natural flair for the creative and introduces aspect into her marketing role.

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