The user interface, or UI for short, is the aspect of an app or website that users interact with naturally. Since the UI is the part that is most commonly used, it leaves a lasting impression on users that can either be positive or negative.
The design of the user interface and it's functionality are what can make or break programs. That’s why UI testing has become integral in the world of software and web development.
For developers to validate whether an app or website can perform its desired functions while being user-friendly, the testing of all interface components is necessary. Not only does this improve overall quality but it also helps guarantee comfortable and convenient usage of the application.
The following aspects involved in user interface testing are:
- Visual design
With businesses constantly investing in improved technologies to take their customers' online experience to the next level, the standards of user experience have become more demanding. UI testing becomes necessary for companies to meet these standards by making sure that all aspects of a project work as intended.
Scope of UI Testing
These are the primary features that user interface testing can verify:
- Data Type Errors: This test ensures that only correct data can be submitted on specific data fields such as currency, dates, etc.
- Field Widths: This test ensures that specific text fields stop the user from placing inputs past a given character limit.
- Progress Bars: This test ensures that a progress bar is displayed whenever a screen or page takes time to fully load.
- Navigational Element: This test ensures that all navigational buttons are operational and that they are directing users to the intended pages.
- Working Shortcuts: If shortcuts are supported, this test ensures that each of them is working as intended on all devices, browsers, and platforms.
- Error loggings: In case of a system error, this test ensures that the software keeps track of all error data by uploading it to a log file for review at a later date.
- Table Scrolling: This test ensures that websites with data tables extending into a second page should allow users to scroll through while keeping all headers visible and intact.
- Type-Ahead: This test is necessary for UIs that use drop-down lists. Users should be able to find the option they want in a drop-down menu with multiple options by typing the first letter. Without type-ahead, long drop-down lists can result in a negative user experience.
Manual vs Automated UI Testing
There are two ways of conducting user interface testing: manual and automated UI testing.
Manual testing refers to manually utilizing all features of an app or website to check for any problems. This is typically used when the software has few UI elements, which is often the case for starting versions.
Automated UI testing is similar to manual testing, except it can complete tests using test scripts developed by QA engineers. It is usually employed when there are hundreds or even thousands of user interface elements that need verification.
An automated UI testing framework is capable of putting versions through several UI speed test scenarios while allowing the same tests to be repeated. So long as the right UI testing tools are available and the test scripts are written correctly, test results for automated user interface testing should be accurate.
For testers, they can choose between using either or both methods of testing based on their needs.
UI vs GUI Testing
Although often interchanged, UI and GUI testing do not mean the same thing. GUI, which stands for graphical user interface, is the most prevalent type of user interface today.
Since the term UI involves all types of user interfaces, a GUI specifically refers to the user interface that utilizes graphical elements that users can engage with. We can say that UI is a broad type of testing while a GUI test is a subset of it.
One example of a GUI test case is the testing of the size, position, width, and height of website elements.
Challenges of Automated UI Testing
Despite the advantages of an automated UI testing framework, quality assurance (QA) teams are still plagued with specific challenges concerning this approach.
Below are the most common challenges teams face when performing automated tests:
- Identifying the right automation tool for extensive testing: There are countless tools available with each of them designed to address a specific issue. This makes it difficult for QA teams to assess the right tool that meets their technical requirements.
- Automation demands extensive technical expertise and investment: Small to medium-scale organizations may not be able to afford the setup costs required for on-premise device labs for automated UI testing.
- Diversity in the testing environment. UI tests and optimizations are extremely difficult to perform due to the numerous combinations of operating systems and devices needed to access applications.
Benefits of Automated UI Testing
Automated UI testing offers numerous benefits in agile software development. Here are some of the advantages:
- UI testing ensures a good customer experience on the platform: By ensuring that a website or app works correctly, companies will feel confident that their platform provides the best experience possible to its users. This is particularly crucial since 84% of customers say that user experience is as important as the products and services offered by a company.
- Identify bugs that might harm the performance on the back end: One of the biggest reasons why automated UI testing is important is because it allows testers to identify and fix errors that could hinder users from performing the tasks they need.
Tools for Automated UI Testing
The following are some of the top automated UI testing tools available today:
- Selenium IDE: This software is made for users who need a UI-driven record and playback tool. It is an open-source app that uses the capabilities of Selenium in a Chrome plugin.
- Katalon: Katalon is considered the middle ground for users looking for a balance between code and codeless testing. Despite being a free tool, it is capable of providing many functions and is often used by teams with system integrators.
- Mabl: This tool takes care of most of the UI testing work and is ideal for teams that do not want to write tests or establish a UI testing practice. Mabl follows a different approach in user interface testing so studying it beforehand is important.
- Parasoft Selenic: Parasoft Selenic is designed to help users speed up the creation and maintenance of their user interface tests. One advantage of the tool is that it is capable of executing self-healing on existing Selenium tests.
- Testim: The SaaS application is intended to provide teams with quick UI testing solutions that prioritize execution paths for complicated workflows. Tests with Testim are easy to do and it also provides excellent self-healing capabilities.
User interface testing is a vital driver to improve user experiences, especially in modern applications.
Since most end-users today are more concerned about the elements that they can see and touch, UI testing becomes even more crucial as it guarantees that all errors have been fixed before launch.
Proper UI testing is also important since it has a direct positive impact on the ROI of a product by making sure that users are satisfied with their journeys. After all, providing customers with the best experience possible often translates to increased bottom lines in the business world.
As a company, you should make sure that the interface of your apps and websites is functional and easy to use while looking great. The best way to do this is by having the right UI testing approach as part of your overall strategy.
Is your team ready to carry out these best practices for UI testing? Partner with a QA services provider like QASource. Our team of QA experts specializes in a variety of testing services with years of experience performing UI testing across industries. Let us help your team through the process of UI testing so your app or website offers good customer experience. Get a free quote today.