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Automated GUI Testing – What , When , Approaches & Benefits

Have you ever wondered how tech giants like Meta, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft ensure the quality of their software products with millions of lines of code and complex graphical user interfaces? With so many different devices, OS, and screen sizes to test, the manual GUI (graphical user interface) testing process can be time-consuming, tedious, and error-prone. That’s where automated GUI testing comes in.

When humans have to execute the same tests again and again, human errors may start creeping in, and these can be avoided by automating such test cases. Similar is the case with automated GUI testing.

In this blog, we’ll explore what, why, and how automated GUI testing helps create quality software products and the top testing tools you can use for automation. So, let’s dive in!

What is Automated GUI Testing?

Automated GUI testing is the process of using automation testing tools to test the Graphical User Interface (GUI) of applications. It involves the use of test scripts that simulate user actions to verify that the application behaves as expected.

This testing focuses on the visual and interactive aspects of a product and checks whether the GUI elements, such as buttons, menus, icons, and windows, are working correctly. It is a vital part of the overall testing process and helps to ensure that the application meets the desired quality standards.

Why Automate GUI Tests?

Automating GUI testing is a great way to reduce overall workload and supplement testing efforts. Manual testing can become difficult to perform regression testing when the GUI design changes, as test cases written for the prior GUI may become obsolete and require revision. Additionally, creating test cases by hand complicates the process even further. Automating GUI tests can greatly decrease overall workload and supplement testing efforts.Manual testing often leaves little time to execute each test case, increasing the likelihood of mistakes. It is difficult to reach the same degree of accuracy for all jobs when there are several to cover, such as execution, documentation, automation, and test scenario evaluation. Additionally, identifying whether the tests will be recurring or continuous is an important factor for organisations deciding whether to automate GUI testing. If the tests must be run repeatedly, automation testing becomes the ideal method.

When to Automate GUI Testing?

Here are some situations when it may be appropriate to automate GUI testing:

  1. The application has a large and complex user interface that does not change much.
  2. The application has frequent releases and requires repetitive execution of GUI test cases.
  3. If you need to test the GUI frequently, automating GUI testing can save a lot of time and effort in the long run.
  4. When you have to verify if the product is compatible across different platforms, browsers, or devices
  5. The application needs to be tested continuously as part of a continuous integration or continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline.
  6. The product has critical functionality that requires extensive and repeated testing.

Benefits of Automated GUI Testing

GUI Test automation can be beneficial in multiple ways. Following are some of the top benefits,

1. Increased Efficiency

Automated GUI testing tools can perform tests much faster and more accurately than manual testers, reducing the time and effort required to test an application.

2. Improved Test Coverage

Automation helps you cover a wide range of test scenarios and use cases in a short amount of time. Additionally, if you run the tests on different operating systems and browsers – you can further increase your test coverage.

3. Reduced Human Error

The risk of human error arises when humans are made to do the same task repeatedly. But automated testing eliminates the risk of human error.

4. Consistency

It helps ensure that tests are performed consistently and repeatedly, making it easier to compare results and track changes over time.

5. Improved Accuracy

It also helps to improve the accuracy and reliability of testing, as automated tests are less prone to human errors.

6. Scalability

Using automation, you can quickly test large and complex applications with multiple UI screens, reducing the need for a large team of manual testers.

7. Cost-Effective

When planned well, automated GUI testing can save money over manual testing, as it requires less time and fewer resources.

8. Continuous Integration

You can integrate automated GUI testing into continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, allowing for faster delivery of high-quality software. Further, it enables a faster feedback cycle. It helps developers to identify and fix issues more quickly, reducing the time it takes to deliver high-quality software.

What Test Cases to Automate with Examples

Automate the test cases that are repetitive, time-consuming, and involve interaction with GUI elements. Let me explain this with an example.

Picture this scenario: You’re developing a CRM product that might have weekly feature updates or product updates. In such cases, the testing team has to perform testing twice or thrice a day to verify the GUI works as expected, even with the new code changes. And doing this manually all the time is quite impractical. That is why automation is the best option for such cases that are executed frequently. Also, if your tool supports reusability, you can reuse test scripts – that will save time, cost, and effort.

Sample Test Case – This is an application’s dashboard that needs to be tested. The GUI test cases for the specific screen will be as follows,

GUI Automation
  • Verify that the Add Report button is placed in the correct position as per the client’s requirements.
  • Verify that the Add Report button is red in color.
  • Verify that the button is clickable.
  • Verify that the text and font are as expected.
  • Verify that the icons are aligned.
  • Verify that the colors of the error messages and warning messages are red, as expected.

Such test cases are constantly repeated with other test steps, which is why automation is preferred to make the process simple. This will save time, effort, and cost.

Approaches for Automating GUI Testing

Apart from manual-based testing, where testers use their knowledge and expertise to test the GUI manually, there are various other approaches to automated GUI testing. Here is a list of some of the approaches,

1. Natural Language Processing (NLP)

A notable approach to automate GUI testing is using NLP to create test cases. It makes test automation as simple as writing plain English sentences. AI-powered tools like Testsigma make test creation and maintenance very simple, allowing testers to save their time and effort. Users require very minimal technical knowledge to use these tools. They only need to have a good understanding of the right grammar for creating test cases and using it to automate test scenarios, whether they are simple or complex. Take a look at the below example to understand this. Using Testsigma, you can create test steps in simple English using the NLPs and automate them.

Testsigma - Scriptless Automation Tool

The above test cases, when run, will check if a user is able to log in to the application using their credentials.

2. Record and Play

Using automation testing tools, you can easily record user interactions and store them as test scripts. These test scripts or test steps can later be run on the cloud. This is simple to implement and does not require programming skills.

Example: Tools like Selenium and Ranorex offer a record-and-play feature where you can record user interactions, such as clicking on buttons and entering data into forms, and then play back those actions as automated tests. Testsigma also lets you record your interactions which are then converted to natural English scripts.

Testsigma Recorder

3. Model-Based Testing

This approach involves creating a model of the application’s behavior and using it to generate test cases. This helps create more accurate test cases. The model could be static or dynamic. TOSCA is a popular automation testing tool that uses a model-based approach. That is, testers can create test models instead of writing test scripts. The below example will help you understand model-based testing in a clear way,

Model-Based Testing

The above model shows a simple approach to creating a poem in notepad and other activities related to every step. A test case will be created for every action, and the output will be verified for the same.

4. Hybrid Testing

Hybrid testing combines different approaches to create a more comprehensive and effective testing strategy. That is, a tester with no coding skills can also create test scripts using the record and playback feature. Simultaneously, the tester with good coding knowledge can also manage the test scripts created by the former. This allows the testing team to build a custom and flexible testing solution for their products. For example, platforms like Testsigma and TestComplete support both codeless and code-based testing. Using Testsigma, a QA engineer with no to less coding skills can create complex test scripts in simple English. Further, a developer with high programming knowledge can add custom functionalities too.

Hybrid Testing

5. Image-Based Testing

Image-Based Testing involves verifying the visual aspects of an application or website. In this approach, screenshots or images of an application are used as input for testing.It can be performed manually or using automated testing tools that can recognize and interact with graphical elements in the application. These tools capture screenshots of the UI and compare them against original UI expectations, and generate reports that highlight any discrepancies. Tools like Testsigma, SmartBear, and Katalon support image-based testing.

Image-Based Testing

6. Code-Based Testing

This involves writing code-based scripts that interact with the GUI. This approach requires coding skills to write test scripts using languages like Java, Ruby, or Python based on the tool. It can be more complex to implement than record and play. This approach is best suited for technical people who have expertise in coding.

Usually, this method involves downloading multiple tools and frameworks to run tests. For example, most people using Selenium must be writing complex code for test case creation. Also, they will have to download applications like Eclipse, Java, and testing frameworks.

How to Build GUI Test Automation Framework?”

Sure! Here are the steps to develop a GUI test automation framework, explained in a conversational tone:

Step 1: Set the source control to function correctly:

To begin building an automated test framework, it’s important to establish a solid foundation with a well-organized test layout. This allows the QA team to easily reference and reuse tests even when modifications are introduced, ensuring the stability of the test suite.

Step 2: Get acquainted with the software:

In this step, the team goes beyond the basic understanding of the software and conducts investigative testing. By diving deeper into the system’s workings and flow, they gain valuable knowledge that helps them create name-mapping features. These features help identify the objects within the GUI that users will interact with during testing.

Step 3: Choose and organize an environment for testing and gathering information:

Here, the testers compile the necessary information and organize the testing environment. They also design the system configurations executed in various domains, ensuring comprehensive coverage.

Step 4: Initiate a Smoke Test:

A smoke test is essential before implementing thorough verifications and utilities, focusing on critical components of the application to ensure its stability. If the test fails, the system must be repaired before thorough testing, as continuing without stability wastes time.

Step 5: Design new functionalities for on-screen use:

It is essential to provide shared utilities for basic UI operations, such as menu navigation and text input fields. These are the foundation for tests that can be merged with other components.

Step 6: Create and handle verifications:

Verifications are essential for testing, and it is important to have an organized method for setting up and sharing them. Separate input utilities should accept the information obtained to combine components.

Step 7: Prepare the mechanism for making an entry in the log and create reports:

The final stage of establishing an automated testing system is reporting, which involves entering data into a log and creating reports. It is important to document all process steps and deliver clear and intelligible signals to technical and non-technical users. The ultimate objective is to create a standardized reporting mechanism.

Following these steps, you can develop a robust GUI test automation framework that enables efficient and effective testing.

Examples Of Automated GUI Test In Use

  1. E-commerce Website: Automated GUI testing is used to validate the user interface of an e-commerce website, including functionality such as exploring products, adding items to the shopping basket, and finishing the checkout process.
  2. Banking Applications: GUI test automation can check the user interface for banking applications such as account login, fund transfers, balance inquiries, and statement creation.
  3. Mobile Applications: Automated GUI testing ensures a uniform and smooth user experience for mobile apps, including navigation, form filling, button interactions, and compatibility testing.
  4. Enterprise Software: GUI test automation is used to validate GUI components and user interaction functions for corporate software systems, such as CRM, HRM, and SCM.
  5. Video Games: Automated GUI testing ensures the proper operation of game menus, user interfaces, and in-game controllers, ensuring that the components and interactions are consistent with the game’s design and user expectations.
  6. Healthcare Applications: GUI test automation is used to test the user interfaces of healthcare applications, evaluating data input/output, appointment scheduling, and medical record retrieval for usability and correctness.
  7. Online Forms and Surveys: GUI testing is used to evaluate web forms and surveys, including form validations, input field functionality, data submission, and error handling.

GUI Test Automation Merits and Demerits

The following table summarises the benefits and drawbacks of GUI test automation:

Automated GUI Testing AdvantagesAutomated GUI Testing Disadvantages
1. Increased Efficiency: GUI test automation allows faster test execution, saving time and effort compared to manual testing.1. Initial Investment: Implementing GUI test automation requires upfront investment in tools, infrastructure, and resources, which can be costly.
2. Improved Test Coverage: Automated GUI tests can cover various scenarios and ensure comprehensive testing of the application’s user interface.2. Maintenance Effort: Automated GUI tests can be complex and time-consuming, as GUI design or functionality changes may require test script updates.
3. Regression Testing: GUI test automation enables easy and efficient regression testing, as tests can be quickly rerun to identify any defects or regressions introduced in the GUI.3. Limited Context Awareness: Automated GUI tests may need more contextual understanding than human testers, which can result in overlooking specific usability issues or user experience aspects.
4. Reproducibility: Automated GUI tests provide consistent and repeatable test results, eliminating human error and ensuring reliable outcomes.4. Limited Adaptability: GUI test automation may struggle with dynamic or frequently changing GUI elements, leading to test script failures and the need for frequent maintenance.

The Top GUI Automation Tool

Testsigma

Testsigma is a robust open-source AI-powered test automation tool that supports GUI testing and many other software testing types. It lets you automate GUI tests for web, mobile, and desktop, as well as APIs, all from the same place. Testsigma supports both codeless and code-based test creation. It lets you easily create and execute complex test scripts in plain English without writing any code, which makes your testing 5x faster and more efficient. But, if there is a scenario where you want to add custom functionality, then you can do so by adding test cases in Java. Testsigma also lets you use plugins for adding custom functionalities.

Also, it offers a record-and-play feature where the user actions can be recorded and later can be run as English test scripts.

Features

  • A no-code tool that is great for both technical and non-technical users, as a user can start automating test cases without learning any coding or programming language.
  • No setup or installation is required. You can quickly create and perform tests on the cloud.
  • You can execute multiple tests parallelly across different test environments.
  • It offers a very simple and intuitive interface that is easy to use.

  • You can check if your applications work fine across a wide range of devices and platforms as it supports 3000+ real devices and 1000+ browser/OS combos.
  • Extended tech support via community, email, chat, and phone for users.
  • It supports visual testing for performing image-based testing.
GUI Automation Tool Testsigma for Visual Testing
  • The open-source version is available for free. Techies can use it to build stable and reliable tests for their applications. Alternatively, you can try the Pro version for free using the 21-day free trial.

  • Testsigma easily integrates with multiple third-party tools like CircleCI, Travis CI, Jenkins, and top DevOps tools like Azure.
  • Testsigma also provides a Chrome extension, Testsigma Recorder. Simply install the extension, sign up, and start your test automation in no time.

Automate GUI Testing with Testsigma

  • As you can see in the above video, the test cases are recorded in plain English. These test cases are then easily editable too, just like editing an English sentence.

GUI Test Automation Best Practices

To make sure that your automated GUI testing is successful, here are some best practices to follow,

  • Do not automate all the test cases. Aim to automate the test cases that are suitable for test automation. For example, the ones that are executed repeatedly and frequently.
  • Make sure that you choose a GUI test automation tool that provides you with an ROI in the long run at least.
  • Choose a robust and reliable GUI automation tool that offers comprehensive testing capabilities. Also, make sure to try the tool using the trial period before you finalize it.
  • Always use a consistent and meaningful naming convention for your test cases because it helps you identify specific test cases when needed.
  • It is best advised not to rely on just one type of testing. Instead, focus on different types of testing like integration testing, functional testing, and more to create a quality product. Using Testsigma, you can perform different types of testing, such as mobile, web, and API testing, in one place.
  • Plan and create your test cases carefully. To do so, determine the test scenarios, data sets, and expected outcomes.
  • Identify the goals of your automated GUI testing. It will help you create clear and concise test cases and ensure that the testing process is aligned with the software development process.
  • Make sure that the test scripts are easy to maintain and update.
  • Create a comprehensive testing plan that covers all of the necessary test scenarios and test cases.
  • Leverage headless browser testing while performing UI testing as it improves speed and efficiency. Testsigma supports headless browser testing. All you need to do is enable the option in the tool before starting the automation.

Using these best practices helps you make sure that your GUI testing is successful and provides accurate and reliable results.

Summary

Automated GUI testing allows you to launch products with confidence, as the user interface is tested thoroughly and accurately in a short time. The real challenge, though, is to find the appropriate testing tool to automate your testing. But you are already at the right place, so don’t look further. Testsigma is the one-stop shop for all your software testing needs, including UI testing. Sign up free for Testsigma Cloud and start automating your UI testing to achieve more accurate and reliable tests than ever before!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Automate GUI Testing?

Automated GUI testing is faster than manual GUI testing. It covers a wide range of test scenarios and test cases in a shorter time. Once your GUI is stable and you know that automating your test cases will lead to an ROI in the long run, then that is a good reason to automate your GUI testing.


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