How Relevant is Manual Testing in App Development?

How Relevant is Manual Testing in App Development?

From Muhammad Aamir

Automation testing has empowered businesses with improved efficiency and accuracy to assist them in developing and deploying high-quality applications that deliver superior customer experience.

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Automation testing has empowered businesses with improved efficiency and accuracy to assist them in developing and deploying high-quality applications that deliver superior customer experience. Due to the effective results that test automation provides, businesses often evaluate the relevance of manual testing in developing flawless application/software.

However, manual testing isn’t going to fade, even when test automation has replaced it for several QA (Quality Assurance) processes. There are still a few functionalities where test automation is not feasible, and the best option is still manual testing that involves human intervention and monitoring.

Why do we need manual testing?

Manual testing is still one of the most reliable options to test the user experience (UX) of an application. It helps in answering various questions related to usability that are best judged by humans. For instance, whether the call-to-action button is too small, or the page transition is smooth enough or not; you need real people to test such things.

Yes, you can automate tests for UX that mimics human behavior but that might take multiple weeks. It would still not be able to compete with the quality of feedback given by a manual tester. Automated tests may not reveal how cumbersome the signup process is or the complexity of the user interface.

Hence, to ensure flawless end-user experience, manual testing becomes business-critical, especially for exploratory and usability tests.

· Exploratory Testing: Exploratory testing is done with new features, to identify how they behave during unforeseen circumstances including simultaneously using another mobile app, moving from one Wi-Fi connection to another, or updating device settings. Test automation can’t figure out errors in such scenarios if the script isn’t programmed accordingly. This is where manual testers help in investigating such scenarios that can be automated later.

· Usability Testing: Usability testing helps in identifying how user-friendly the user experience of a mobile app is, including ease of access, efficient navigation, error reaction, and more. It helps in obtaining real-world feedback from manual test engineers to identify and fix gaps in UX.

How much can you rely on manual testing?

Manual tests are a great choice at the early stages of application development

The reliability of manual testing depends on multiple factors. If the application is at an early stage of development, then instead of developing automated tests, you can leverage manual testing. Testing every process makes sense due to constant change in workflows based on feedback gained from tests and sprints.

However, when the application prototype starts getting better and more stable, manual testing becomes irrelevant. Testing every process manually may slow down the entire process and might not bring accurate results either.

Hence, it is always feasible to leverage manual testing for test cases that are difficult to automate as your application becomes more complex. However, you should keep the dependency minimal on manual testing and automate tests as much as possible to reduce time and efforts and increase accuracy of the tests.

Where shouldn’t you rely on manual testing?

Redundant or repetitive tasks often lead to manual errors and inefficiencies. Manual testing is also inefficient in test cases that deal with backend infrastructure and systems including database and API calls. Test automation is the best bet for test cases that are redundant, straightforward, and do not need specific human intervention.

Here are a few examples where you should leverage test automation:

· Performance Testing: Test automation can help you measure page load time, response time, and other performance metrics in the performance testing process more accurately and efficiently.

· Functional Testing: Automated functional tests can help in validating methods or functions in the codebase including integration or unit tests. It helps in figuring out whether the input to a function brings out the expected output or not. It is even more crucial for applications that execute complex calculations or have an interface with third-party tools.

· Compatibility Testing: Automation testing can easily identify the compatibility of your app across multiple operating systems and devices which would take days through manual testing.


Automation testing has become essential to release flawless applications rapidly and reliably. However, QA test teams always need to balance test automation with the flexibility and human quotient of manual testing. Manual testing services can bring in the much-needed human perspective to the overall app development process and help in releasing a more customer-centric user experience.

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