The main purpose of manual testing is to make sure that the application works normally without any functional defects or bugs and in accordance with the requirements of the specification.
Some testers believe that manual QA will disappear completely with the advent of AI, machine learning, and various automation features. From these opinions, the main myth about manual QA is that automation can replace it. And it is true that automated testing is becoming more popular every year, because it does have its advantages. Of course, there are times when automation is the better choice, but it is not able to replace the whole testing process.
Reasons Why Manual QA Is Necessary—and Here to Stay
1. There can be no automated testing without manual testing. Before automation, the QA Engineer conducts manual testing, creates test cases, and, based on them, automates the testing of repetitive processes. That is, QA automation can save time when checking for uniform bugs, but it cannot exist on its own. Automation can verify the expected result, but anything unpredictable is invisible to the program. Manual QA Engineers, on the other hand, are able to go beyond test scenarios, be creative in testing, and anticipate user interactions with the product. This is the only way to find those bugs that no one could have guessed.
2. Testing the interface and usability requires subjective evaluation and a human touch. In fact, it can be argued that usability testing and graphical user interface testing can only be done by the manual tester. Is it easy to use? Is finding the right information intuitive? Is the interface user friendly? Are all elements symmetrically arranged? Is the product attractive and pleasing to the eye? In cases like this, automation can’t replace the actual experience of using the application or site to find bugs. In addition, it is only possible to assess the perception of the product with manual testing, because it is a real view from the user's perspective.
3. If there is a need to test new functionality quickly, it makes sense to rely on manual testing. A QA Automation Engineer needs time to plan and write code. Yes, it is realistic to set up automated product testing, but only if there are no constant changes or new features. It is much more profitable and faster to work with manual testers first, and then when the product is fully stabilized, to automate test cases developed by Manual QA Engineers. Also, small changes can be noticed and tested only by hand.
4. It is useful to apply manual testing for short-term projects. The initial cost of setting up automated testing is significantly higher if we compare it to manual QA methods. Many short-term projects require one-time testing, so there is no benefit to automating this process. Therefore, manual QA will allow the client to get quality testing without spending time and money.
When Automation Can Be Used instead of Manual Testing
1. For repetitive tasks.
In the testing process, certain steps are repeated and do not require manual control. Automated testing should be used to reduce the time for these kinds of tasks.
2. To save time.
Automated testing can be used in order to save time and reduce the chance of delay due to the process of testing.
3. When more precision is required.
Fewer test errors means more accurate test reports and more efficient analysis.
Undoubtedly, most companies implement automation in many areas, but manual testing will never completely disappear. Without manual testing, the testing process will not be complete, and there is a possibility of missing critical functional issues. Furthermore, manual testing is more reliable than automation because the testing process uses skills such as inductive thinking and human perception. Thus, for optimal testing, one should not rush from one extreme to another but instead work to find the proper balance between automatic and manual processes.
Manual verification is not going anywhere. One way or another, whether we see a new feature or a whole product in front of us, we will study it with our hands. We still need to figure out how it works, which cases should be considered a priority, and in general, whether everything is working as intended. What's the point of rushing to automate if the product is broken? And it will always be this way, with every new feature or change. First, there will be a manual verification stage, and only then will it be possible to cover or update test cases around it.
Manual QA Engineers will remain indispensable. Even if developers take on some quality control responsibilities, testers will not be left out of the process. On the contrary, QA Engineers bring a perspective and experience to the process that developers and other team members cannot replicate. In the future, testers will not only be responsible for quality but will also suggest how to ensure that software meets certain quality standards. As a result, opportunities for QA Engineers will only grow. These opportunities are already expanding as testing becomes more exciting, complex, and in demand.