Manual vs. Automated: Which UAT Testing Method Is Best?

by Thijs Kok, on October 12, 2023

Summary: This article discusses the pros and cons of automating User Acceptance Testing (UAT) in software development and highlights the benefits of both manual and automated UAT, suggesting that a combination of both approaches can enhance software testing processes.

After investing a great deal of time and resources into your software development effort, user acceptance testing (UAT) is your last line of defense before releasing it to your customers with the confidence that it fulfills the requirements.

It goes without saying that UAT is essential. But is it also worth automating? And can UAT be automated effectively?

Those in the software development industry know these are difficult questions because there are pros and cons to user acceptance testing automation.

In this post, we lay out the benefits of both automated and manual UAT to help you make the best decision for your software testing. 

What Is User Acceptance Testing Automation?

Automated UAT is when you and your quality assurance (QA) team use scripted tests that run automatically within an automated testing tool.

By running an automated test, your team will receive a binary result that answers whether or not the actual performance of the software meets the expected results. It can be as simple as a “yes” or “no” response.

One of the greatest benefits of automated UAT is that it can mimic repetitive tasks regularly, quickly, and with high levels of precision. In other words, you do not have to worry about a computer running an automated test getting “bored” or experiencing test fatigue.

Although different from manual testing—in which actual testers are involved in running test scripts and recording results—automated testing can be a powerful tool.

Manual Testing vs. Automated Testing 

Instead of considering manual testing and automated testing as an “either/or” choice, the team at TestMonitor has seen clients successfully use both options in conjunction with one another.

Here are some of the strengths each option brings to your UAT process:

The Strengths of User Acceptance Testing Automation

  • Tests can be run quickly and repeatedly, without concern for tester availability or fatigue.
  • Automated testing platforms offer high availability, reusability, and accuracy.
  • Tests allow for binary-based requirements testing and script-based load and stress testing.
  • Automation brings high levels of accuracy and precision to the provided test scripts.

The Strengths of Manual User Acceptance Testing

  • Test scripts that account for more complex or subjective requirements or results can be developed and run by actual testers, beyond just “yes” or “no” results.
  • Manual testing includes usability testing and other forms of software testing, allowing for the evaluation of fonts, menu types, reports, workflow logic, and more.
  • Manual testers can identify problems, issues, defects, and solutions, whereas automated testing just delivers a binary result.
  • Manual testers can confirm more “soft” requirements, such as adherence to branding guidelines, capacity for integrations and customizations, and the ability to generate ad-hoc reports or workflows.
  • Manual testers can help identify other ways software can be used (and tested) that the QA team may not have considered.

Automated and manual testing each have diverse lists of strengths, so it makes sense to combine the best of both methods. However, in either approach, software testing teams will need the structure and flexibility of a test management tool to organize and streamline testing.

Bringing It All Together

At TestMonitor, we believe you shouldn't just pick one approach—manual versus automated testing—but rather use the strengths of both to enhance the delivery of your software application. 

In fact, we believe that manual and automated testing can nicely complement one another. For example, tests can be organized so that simple, repetitive tests are performed automatically, whereas complex and nuanced tests are run manually. 

Ready to learn more about taking your software testing to the next level? Then make sure to check out our latest resource, The Complete Guide to Next-Level User Acceptance Testing.

Download The Complete Guide to Next-Level User Acceptance Testing

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