The 5 Gaps You May Not Realize Are Missing From Your UI Test Automation Strategy

As more and more organizations integrate test automation into their workflows, teams have benefitted from shortened feedback loops and less time between development and delivery.

However, while automation has been an asset for effective and efficient testing, many of us are still getting acquainted with the skills required to build out tests that give us maximum value for our time.

What many don’t realize is that there could be gaps in your test automation strategy. These common oversights could be the difference between valuable automation suites and inadequate test results.

Recently, SmartBear hosted a webinar to address a few of these gaps and their solutions. Here are the top insights.

  1. Spending too much time maintaining test scripts -  If you’re putting too much time, effort, and energy into creating test scripts, it may be time to reconsider your approach. Often this can be caused by improper planning or poor structuring of testing frameworks. However, by making tests more reusable, maintenance time can be reduced significantly. Rather than making large tests in an attempt to cover as much of your application as possible, break them up into smaller tests cases. You can then use these tests to build out larger, more comprehensive test cases. This way if the UI or the user flow changes, it’ll be easier to go back and use your components.
  2. Zero or little mobile browser testing - In 2018, half of website traffic came from mobile devices, yet companies still tend to neglect testing on mobile. Just having a mobile version of your web application is not enough, you need to verify that it also works correctly on different devices. Without testing on real devices and tablets, you have no idea what your users are experiencing every time they visit your website on a smaller screen. This is not something you want to leave up to chance as mobile web usage continues to increase.
  3. Lack of environment options - Even the best intentions to increase test coverage through automation can fall short without a substantial number of environment options to test on. Different environments can render code in different ways, which means it’s crucial to look at your website on different browsers and devices. Having limited environment options can lead to issues going unnoticed. If you’re only testing one or two browsers and devices, you’re not going to know where there are issues in the others your customers are using. You don’t want preventable bugs slipping through to customers when the fix is as easy as increasing the number of environments you test on.
  4. Spending too much time and money maintaining devices - Some may assume that the best answer to a lack of environment options is to build a device lab. In theory, this seems like a good idea -- you’re team has 24/7, onsite access to all the machines and configurations they could possibly need. However, the reality is that these devices are expensive to buy and maintain. Tens of new mobile devices are released every year, meanwhile, existing devices must be repaired and maintained. Not only is the time commitment not practical for most organizations, but it’s also expensive. Most of the time, it’s more trouble than it’s worth to build out a device lab when there are expansive cloud options available.
  5. Lack of parallel testing - Parallel testing is your key to increasing test coverage without compromising time. The issue? This practice is often underutilized by teams. While thinking about the time it takes to test in all these environments might be overwhelming, parallel testing allows you to significantly cut down on the hours it would normally take to run one test after the other. By testing multiple configurations simultaneously, you can condense 30 hours of testing on three different machines down to 10. In this way, parallel testing will reduce the time spent running tests, while still allowing you to hit the environments your users are on.

While automation is no easy task, there are steps we can all take to improve efficiency. Bridging these five gaps in your test automation strategy with the help of tools like TestComplete and CrossBrowserTesting will allow you to get more value out your time.

If you’d like to learn more about these common UI test automation gaps, check out the full webinar below.

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