Let's talk about tests! - You may be fed up with hearing the word "test" since the beginning of Covid; but don't worry, we will be discussing a different sort of test. Every organisation hopes for a smoothly functioning site, the ability to easily check for bugs, and the assurance that their user's journey is free of hindrance, therefore you should know about and utilise automated testing.
You may ask, what is Automated testing? It is essentially the application of software to automate the manual process of reviewing and validating a software product. Below we will analyse what we find to be the best tools to ensure total coverage when testing your latest site deployment.
Cypress is a next-generation testing tool, that tests the front end of a website, addressing the key pain points developers and QA engineers face when testing modern applications. Cypress essentially mimics a user, clicking through the site on its journey. Therefore, you can set it up to test any client's key user journeys to ensure they are smooth and fluid., and that everything on the site is working well, from a user's perspective. Importantly Cypress checks for any bugs on the site, and then sends our clients reports on its findings.
For example, you can mimic a customer logging in, browsing the site, checking out, and then purchasing an item.
You should have your Google analytics tags linked to your KPIs, so your lead generation, or sales in most cases. This means that you are getting the right analytics but also that testing syncs with everything you do, and is checking that these tags are working as well.
Percy looks after any visual changes on the site and catches any visual bugs before they're released to your customers.
Visual testing is the automated process of detecting and reviewing visual UI changes. Percy takes screenshots before deployment and that's the baseline of the website. You then deploy, and Percy takes screenshots straight after the deployment and then compares the two states. Percy looks for any visual discrepancies and highlights them.
For example, you may see that an image is not appearing because of some problem or some text looks odd (text overlaying images).
Percy is also very efficient at picking up on any content changes caused by bugs that come into your environment, and flagging them for review.
Percy will test the site in three different environments. The first is Development, then Test and finally Live. The key is that Percy is getting all the environments aligned with each other content-wise, and makes sure that you don't get caught out when content changes aren't fully tested in Dev or Test cause issues on Live.
Manual testing requires QA analysts to execute individual tests one by one, a human performs them without test scripts.
The purpose of manual testing is to catch bugs and any other issues before a website goes live.
The problem is manual testing allows for human error, is time-consuming, requires investment, and can only cover a certain number of device and OS permutations. Therefore, manual testing is less reliable and doesn't offer the same comprehensive coverage and peace of mind that Automated testing achieves.
Why use Automated Testing?
If you are not yet sold on why automated testing should replace traditional manual testing. Think of it as a two-pronged assault on any bugs which may be present, and the opportunity to catch every type of bug before deployment. Cypress looks after the functionality of the user interface, and Percy catches any of the visual bugs. This gives you total coverage and peace of mind. Automated testing gives you and your team confidence in the visual integrity of your UI, and confidence when deploying.
Faster feedback loop between stakeholders: Due to the speed at which the tests can be run, the communication between devs, QA, and the client can be much quicker, allowing for the immediate remedy of potential glitches.
Reduced business expenses: While the initial investment may be on the higher side, especially for more complex systems, automated testing saves companies in the medium and long term. This is predominantly due to the sharp drop in the amount of time required to run tests, in comparison with manual testing. It contributes to a higher quality of work, decreasing the necessity for fixing glitches after release and reducing project costs.
Higher overall test coverage: Through the implementation of test automation, a higher number of tests can be executed. This leads to higher coverage, which in a manual testing approach would imply significant resources, limited heavily with their amount of time. An increased test coverage leads to testing more features and a higher quality of application.
Reusability of automated tests: Due to the repetitive nature of test cases in test automation, developers have the opportunity to assess program reaction, in addition to the relatively easy configuration of their setup. Automated test cases are reusable and therefore, can be utilised through different approaches.
Earlier detection of defects: The documentation of software defects becomes considerably easier for the testing teams. This helps increase the overall development speed while ensuring correct functionality across areas. The earlier a defect is identified, the more cost-effective it is to fix the glitch.
Faster project turnaround: Test Automation greatly helps reduce the project lifecycle of an application by allowing constant execution of test cases. Once automated, the test library execution is faster and runs longer than manual testing.
Why take the risk of your website failing? Most failures are easily preventable with comprehensive and sound testing, so you can stop the worst case from becoming reality. Automated testing is the easiest, most cost-effective, and least time-consuming method to achieve confidence in deployment.