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Types of Software Testing: Exploring Manual vs. Automated Approaches

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In today's fast-paced digital landscape, software applications play an essential role in almost every aspect of our lives, from communication to commerce. However, with the increasing sophistication of web and mobile apps, ensuring their reliability, functionality, and security has become paramount. This necessity underscores the importance of rigorous checks for bugs. 

To this end, software or system testing makes sure an application works as intended. It encompasses various methodologies but primarily falls into two categories: manual and automated. 

In this article, we'll explore software testing and examine the differences between manual and automated checks to help businesses make informed decisions to enhance the development processes and deliver robust, high-quality products to their customers.


What Is Software Testing? 

Software testing, an important part of the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle)[1], ensures the quality, functionality, and performance of an application prior to its release. 

More specifically, this process involves evaluating the mobile or web app's conformity to expected behaviour, detecting critical errors in code and enhancing performance, verifying if business logic is upheld and identifying any gaps in requirements. 

Moreover, QAs often employ a combination of manual and automated checks, culminating in detailed reports to the development team to ensure a quality end product for the customer.


Why Is Software Testing Important?

Below are several compelling reasons why checking applications to ensure they function as intended holds significant importance.

Detecting Defects 

The primary objective of examining systems is to unearth bugs and defects. Modern software architecture comprises interconnected components whose seamless collaboration is vital for delivering intended functionality. If one of the components has issues, it can trigger a cascade of issues, potentially disrupting the entire application. Timely detection and rectification of faulty code mitigate adverse impacts, ensuring the delivery of a higher quality, more reliable product.

Improving Customers' Trust and Satisfaction 

Rigorous examination fosters improved customer trust. While absolute error-free software remains an idealistic aspiration, a stable, dependable application consistently meeting client needs builds positive user experiences over time. Aside from that, adherence to quality best practices instils confidence in stakeholders and customers, affirming the reliability of the product.

Identifying Vulnerabilities 

Software applications in critical sectors like finance, healthcare, and law, known as YMYL (Your Money Your Life), handle sensitive data. Even minor glitches in such systems can trigger catastrophic consequences, jeopardising lives and entailing severe financial repercussions. Stringent assessment serves as a protective shield, safeguarding companies from potential liabilities and ensuring seamless use. of the application.


Software Testing Types: Manual vs Automated

As also highlighted above, in the domain of mobile and web app quality assessment, there are two primary types: manual and automated. The table below explains the key differences between them. 





It may be less precise due to the increased likelihood of human errors. However, it excels in handling intricate tests requiring human cognition and judgement.

It offers high precision for repetitive, consistent quality check scenarios. However, it may be less precise for those requiring human reasoning or interactions relying on integrated modules or systems. Errors can also undermine accuracy.

Cost Efficiency

This technique proves cost-effective for complex tasks, those involving investigative analysis, subjective judgement, or infrequently executed checks.

It emerges as a cost-effective solution for predictable assessment frequently repeated across multiple test cycles.


Testing at large scales needs more time.

It proves efficient and effective for large-scale, routine, and repetitive tasks.

User Experience

It effectively evaluates customer experience by discerning perceptions and feelings about overall user-friendliness through various approaches.

This approach might not adequately evaluate the user experience aspects of an application.

The choice between them depends on factors such as objectives, complexity, and resource availability. By understanding their distinctions, organisations can adopt tailored strategies to ensure the delivery of high-quality applications.


What Is Manual Testing?

Manual testing involves checks usually done by hand to detect bugs in mobile or web applications, following a written plan outlining unique scenarios. In this approach, QA specialists evaluate performance from an end user's viewpoint, comparing actual behaviour against expected ones and reporting any discrepancies as bugs.

Types of Manual Testing

This approach encompasses various techniques tailored to evaluate system quality through human interaction. Each type offers unique benefits in detecting defects and ensuring an optimal user experience.



Black Box Testing

Examines applications without knowledge of their internal code or structure, focusing on inputs and outputs to identify defects.

Usability Testing

Assesses the user-friendliness of the system, including ease of navigation, intuitiveness, and overall user experience.

System Testing

Evaluates the entire software's functionality to ensure it meets specified requirements and functions correctly in various scenarios, including stress and performance assessment.

Acceptance Testing

Validates that the application meets user expectations and business requirements, typically conducted by end-users or stakeholders.

Integration Testing

Involves assessing an application's functionality by assessing how its multiple components interact and collaborate to execute a workflow effectively.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

UAT entails soliciting feedback from potential end-users to verify if the software design aligns with the original requirements and meets the desired functionality. It typically occurs just before product deployment.

Graphical User Interface (GUI) Testing

QAs validate the visual components of an application to ensure they function correctly and adhere to design specifications.

Exploratory Testing

An approach to testing where testers actively explore the application without specific tests in mind to uncover defects.

Adhoc Testing

An informal testing phase where the tester tries to 'break' the system without following any test cases.

Alpha Testing

Early testing of an application by end users or others in a lab environment to identify bugs not found by the developers.

Localisation Testing

Examining the application's adaptability to a specific locale, including language, format, and culture adherence.

Accessibility Testing

Ensures the software is accessible to people with disabilities, conforming to global accessibility standards.

Compatibility Testing

Checks the application's compatibility with different environments, browsers, databases, etc.

End-To-End Testing

Tests the complete flow of an application from start to finish to ensure the system behaves as intended.

Each of these techniques serves specific purposes in ensuring software quality and user satisfaction through human verification and validation processes.

Advantages of Manual Testing

Quality checks conducted by humans offer countless benefits that make them a crucial component of the SDLC. 

Here are some of them:

  • Human Intelligence: It relies on human intelligence to identify faults and assess overall application grades. In fact, QAs utilise their domain knowledge and experience to evaluate usability, performance, and functionality effectively.
  • Adaptability: This method is adaptable to various scenarios, allowing QAs to modify quality checks as needed. Also, it can accommodate changing requirements and perform exploratory and ad-hoc assessments to uncover new issues and validate user experience.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: It proves cost-effective, especially for small-scale projects or when system requirements are unclear. Aside from that, it doesn't require investment in expensive tools or automation frameworks, reducing costs significantly.
  • Early Detection: It enables the early detection of serious flaws in software, preventing expensive rework later in the development cycle. Plus, humans can uncover issues that automated checks might miss, reducing development time and expenses.

Disadvantages of Manual Testing 

Manual checks present several drawbacks that can hinder the process. 

Here are the key disadvantages:

  • Time-consuming: It entails a significant investment of time, especially when dealing with intricate applications. Delays in development can impede QA teams from covering all test cases adequately.
  • Human Error: This technique is susceptible to human fallibility, such as overlooking specific scenarios or committing errors during assessment. These inaccuracies can hinder the identification of flaws and compromise software quality.
  • Costly: It can incur substantial expenses, particularly for sizable projects or frequent releases. It demands considerable resources, including personnel, time, and equipment, leading to escalated costs.


What is Automated Testing?

As suggested by the name, automated testing involves utilising automation tools or frameworks to check the efficacy of a software application. This method is ideal for large projects or those requiring reiterative checks. It enhances coverage, accuracy, and efficiency, enabling QAs to concentrate on more strategic activities.

Types of Automated Testing

The table below presents the various types of automation tests. 



Regression Testing

Validates software after modifications to ensure existing functionalities aren't affected by new changes or updates.

Smoke Testing

Conducts basic checks to determine if the application is stable enough for further examination, often performed after each build.

Functional Testing

Checks if the system meets specified functional requirements, ensuring all features work as intended.

Security Testing

Identifies susceptibilities and weaknesses in the application to safeguard against possible threats such as hacking or data breaches.

Performance Testing

Assesses system performance under various conditions, including load and stress, to ensure optimal performance.

Keyword-driven Testing

Utilises keywords to define test cases, separating logic from data and enabling easier maintenance.

Integration Testing

Checks interactions between different modules or components to ensure they function correctly together.

Unit Testing

Focuses on checking individual units or components of the system to verify their functionality in isolation.

Non-functional Testing

Evaluates aspects like performance, scalability, reliability, and usability to ensure system quality.

API Testing

Automated to ensure APIs meet expectations for functionality, reliability, performance, and security.

Browser Testing

Automated to check compatibility across different web browsers efficiently.

Assertion Testing

Automated tests that check the truth of specific conditions or variables in the code during test execution.

Active Testing

Involves the execution of the software under examination to validate behaviour and performance against expected outcomes.

By diligently applying any of these techniques, developers can deliver robust, secure, and user-friendly software solutions that meet the expectations of end-users and stakeholders alike.

Advantages of Automated Testing

This method offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved Accuracy: It significantly reduces the likelihood of human errors by strictly following predefined steps. This eliminates issues like forgetting certain measures when executing checks.
  • Increased Speed: QAs can run continuously and in parallel, 24/7, without human intervention, thereby speeding up execution and reducing overall QA time.
  • Consistency: It ensures that cases are executed in the same way every time they run, leading to invariant results. This consistency is crucial, especially in continuous assessment scenarios, where automation suites play a vital role in pinpointing and resolving issues promptly.
  • Cost Savings: While the initial setup may require investment in time, technologies, and resources, the long-term ROI (Return on Investment) in terms of accuracy and speed is guaranteed. Projects with advanced infrastructures or various application types see the highest automation ROI.

Disadvantages of Automation Testing 

While automated software checks offer many advantages, it also has some drawbacks.

  • High Initial Setup Cost: Implementing it demands investment in tools, infrastructure, and training. This initial cost might be prohibitive for smaller projects with limited budgets.
  • Inability to Replace Human Intuition: While it excels at executing predefined scripts, it can't replicate human intuition and creativity. Complex scenarios may require humans to perform exploratory checks to uncover subtle defects.
  • Limited Checks for User Experience: It primarily focuses on functional aspects, potentially overlooking user experience. QAs can provide crucial feedback on usability that automation cannot.
  • Time-consuming Script Creation: Developing comprehensive scripts demands significant time and effort, especially for evolving applications. This can become resource-intensive, impacting overall efficiency.


Deciding Between Manual and Automated Testing

When contemplating between manual and automated software quality assessment, it's essential to recognise the unique strengths and weaknesses of each approach. While automation excels at running repetitive checks, the manual option is better equipped for assessing usability. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that one approach should replace the other. 

To achieve optimal results, striking a balance is vital. Instead of relying exclusively on one technique, teams should assess each situation and apply the most appropriate method accordingly. This will enable them to streamline processes, conserve time and resources, and mitigate potential issues.

To this end, it's essential to consider the following when devising a strategy:

  • Striking a balanced approach enhances project efficiency, saving both time and money.
  • Total automation is unattainable, regardless of the tool or advanced frameworks employed.
  • Manual testing will remain important and continue to be so until AI can mimic human improvisation and user feedback effectively. 
  • Manual and automated system checks can complement each other.

By recognising these, teams can elevate their software testing practices and bolster overall project success.


Outsource Experienced QA Experts From Deazy    

At Deazy, we provide access to a network of vetted QA professionals to ensure that companies can easily find experts skilled in verifying software quality before it reaches the market. This will allow your business to enhance product reliability, increase user satisfaction, and retain a competitive edge in the market.

Whether you need project outsourcing or team augmentation, we ensure seamless onboarding and flexibly deliver digital products that propel your business growth.

Moreover, we understand that the success of every software development project depends on the proficiency of each team member; that is why we ensure the quality of our team. Our dedicated delivery team rigorously vets every developer joining our global ecosystem for technical expertise, security standards, cultural fit, and work methodologies. This ensures that only the best are allowed to test the quality of your software.

But that is not all! 

Our commitment to values and ethos is unwavering. We exclusively collaborate with software programmers who demonstrate transparency, effective communication, and a drive to deliver exceptional work.

Hear from other businesses that have partnered with us. 

"Deazy's speed is something we were really impressed with - being able to spin up a cross-functional team in a matter of days." David Rowe, CTO, Deltabase.

"Deazy delivers on time and stays within budget. Their quality of work is excellent." Marc Narbeth, Director, Fast Keys Services.

Here's how we simplify the process:

  • Schedule a call with us to discuss your requirements.
  • Review handpicked developers tailored to your needs.
  • Share project specifications and onboard your new team members.

With Deazy, you can swiftly assemble high-performing teams consisting of QA experts who are skilled in manual and automatic testing. Contact our team today. 



Software testing is crucial for ensuring the quality, reliability, and functionality of mobile and web applications. There are various types of software testing, which can be broadly categorised into manual and automated approaches. Each approach has its unique characteristics and advantages. 

More specifically, manual testing is preferred for scenarios that demand human intuition, while automated testing is superior for repetitive tasks and regression testing. Despite their advantages, both approaches encounter challenges that need thoughtful consideration and effective mitigation to ensure successful implementation in software development projects.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can we do automation testing without manual testing?

Yes, it's technically possible to conduct automation testing without manual testing, especially in environments where tests are highly repetitive, and the application's stability is well-established. However, relying solely on automated testing might overlook nuanced user experiences or complex scenarios that require human judgement.

What is testing in SDLC?

Testing in the SDLC involves verifying and validating web and mobile apps at different stages, ensuring they meet specified requirements and quality standards. In other words, it encompasses various techniques to ensure quality.

What are the types of QA testing?

Types of QA testing include functional, performance, usability, security, and compatibility testing, each focusing on different aspects of software quality to ensure overall reliability and user satisfaction.

What are 4 important testing methods in software engineering?

Four important testing methods in software engineering are unit, integration, system, and acceptance testing. Each plays a crucial role in identifying defects, ensuring component compatibility, and validating system functionality throughout the development process.