Tech experts are all about automation for speeding up processes, but sometimes a slower approach works better—for example, when testing a website or software product. While automated testing can quickly analyze certain performance aspects, it can be lacking in other ways—particularly when it comes to assessing the end-user experience.
Adding a manual testing step when assessing websites and software can ensure that you not only catch and correct bugs, but also gain insight into how users will interact with and perceive the design. Below, 17 members of Forbes Technology Council discuss why manual testing is both important and impactful.
1. It Allows You To Assess User Journeys
One benefit of manual website testing over automated testing is the ability to assess user journeys as well as the minor details that can heavily impact a user’s experience of a site. Automated testing may focus on technical issues and miss the nuances that affect how users perceive and interact with a website. – Arturs Kruze, Magebit
2. It Helps Assure Inclusivity
Automated testing is efficient, but it cannot ensure total inclusivity in all situations—for example, it might miss unconscious bias or a lack of accessibility. Ultimately, the goal should be to create an application that is accessible and usable by a diverse range of individuals, including those with disabilities such as vision impairment, hearing difficulties and cognitive conditions. – Una Verhoeven, Valtech
3. It Leverages Human Intuition And Creativity
One benefit of manual testing over automated testing is the tester’s ability to exercise human intuition and creativity. While automated testing excels at repetitive tasks and predefined scenarios, manual testing allows testers to explore and uncover nuanced issues that might escape automated scripts. Human testers can adapt and devise real-world scenarios that simulate diverse user interactions. – Monika Mueller, Softensity Inc.
4. It Provides Better Returns For Smaller Operations
It’s all about scale. We might miss a few key scenarios using automation, but for larger architectures, the ability to process at scale makes up for any misses. But for smaller-scale operations, investing in automation would not yield the same return. It is better to be flexible until a business achieves a moat or high-confidence, recurring revenue growth—then it can fix its workflows and automate at scale. – Monish Balasundaram, Amazon
5. It Makes It Easier To Address Identified Issues
Manual testing allows testers to replicate real-world user interactions correctly after reading customer surveys. Handling issues related to usability, performance and compatibility across various devices becomes easy. Moreover, it can be more cost-effective for small businesses with smaller projects—for them, investing in automated testing tools might not be desirable. – Namrata Sengupta, Stellar Data Recovery Inc. dba BitRaser
6. It Better Captures How Real Users Interact With A Product
From a user experience and/or user interface perspective, manual testing can capture more nuances in the ways real users interact with a product. It helps to identify unique pain points and areas of confusion. By manually testing with this in mind, you can improve the design and create a more tailored, responsive user experience. – Jean-Baptiste Hironde, MWM
7. It Allows More Consideration Of Ergonomic And Intuitive Design
Manual testing gives you a better look into end user interactions. Every end user is different, but automated testing cannot adequately consider that. Manual testing allows more consideration of the impact of ergonomic and intuitive design on an end users’ work efficiency. Automated testing best focuses on calculation and task repetition. – Robert Martin, Oil City Iron Works, Inc.
8. It Helps Account For Human Boredom
Manual testers get bored. While lazy testers might seem like a bad thing, their approach will be closer to most consumers than any highly motivated individual or computer. Just think about how often we try to press “Next” without completing a form because it seems pointless or a hindrance. These actions are the kind of feedback you won’t get from an automated test. – Kevin Korte, Univention
9. It Provides Qualitative Feedback
Manual testing offers the benefit of human insight, allowing for nuanced understanding and exploration of complex scenarios. Unlike automated tests, human testers can adapt to subtle changes and provide qualitative feedback, uncovering issues that rigid algorithms may miss. It adds a layer of thoughtful analysis to the testing process and can be used to verify automated testing results. – Giri Chodavarapu, Omnicell
10. It Validates The UX
Manual testing does a great job of validating the user experience, resulting in a product that is both intuitive to use and pleasing. The human ability to use imagination during testing to spot subtle and unforeseen problems that automated tests could overlook is one advantage. Manual testers are flexible and provide coverage for applications that are rapidly evolving by swiftly adapting to new needs. – Neelima Mangal, Spectrum North
11. It Detects Visual Glitches And UI Issues
Manual testing is a valuable method for detecting visual glitches, layout issues and user interface inconsistencies. Automated tests may only sometimes be able to pinpoint these types of problems, which is where human testers come in. By simulating user actions and carefully examining the appearance and presentation of the product, they can identify potential issues that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. – Cristian Randieri, Intellisystem Technologies
12. It Captures The Real-Time Perceptions Of Users
Automated tests lack the capability to replicate the immediate reactions, emotions and frustrations that users might experience during an interaction. Manual testers can provide valuable insights into the emotional impact of the product—insights that can’t be replicated by scripts—leading to more empathetic and user-centric design improvements. – Jagadish Gokavarapu, Wissen Infotech
13. It Can Surface Unexpected Issues
One benefit of manual testing over automated testing is the human intuition and adaptability it offers. Manual testers can explore the application in ways that automation may not, discovering unexpected issues and user experience concerns. Additionally, manual testing allows testers to evaluate the product’s usability and accessibility, factors that can be challenging to fully automate. – Akaash Ramakrishnan, AdSkate Inc.
14. It Can Uncover Edge Cases And Subtle Bugs
Manual testing taps into human intuition and creativity. Unlike automated tests that rigidly follow scripts, manual testers can veer off predictable paths, discovering edge cases and subtle bugs. They provide real-world insights, bridging the gap between code logic and user unpredictability. This advantageous approach uncovers flaws that algorithms might miss. – Andrew Blackman, EZ Cloud
15. It Confirms Alignment With Industry-Specific Logic And Expectations
Manual testing by someone with domain expertise is important. Automated tests might show that outputs function correctly, but miss that they fail to align with industry-specific logic or expectations. Expert human insight during testing ensures that the product not only works technically, but also satisfies the unique demands of the industry it was built for. – Marc Rutzen, HelloData.ai
16. It Establishes A Baseline Of ‘Normal’ Activity
One of the often-overlooked benefits that manual testing provides is the opportunity to establish a baseline—what “normal” activity looks like when performing a process. This baseline could be used to alert organizations about anomalous activity that falls outside expected parameters, including unauthorized access of data. – Claude Mandy, Symmetry Systems Inc.
17. It Explores Human Creativity
Manual testing allows us to explore human creativity. By executing manual tests, you enable testers to explore scenarios that may not have been considered in an automated test. Furthermore, you can explore the limits of human incompetence by developing what-if scenarios (“What if a user does this?”). It is usually the scenario least considered that gets first exploited in a technology. – Spiros Liolis, EYP Mission Critical Facilities, Part of Ramboll