What is Manual Testing in Software Testing? [Definition + Types + Benefits]

What is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is the process of manually validating the functionality, usability, and performance of a software application, website, or system.

As a tester, you interact with the application as an end-user to execute test cases and report any defects or issues encountered. This method is a part of multiple types of software testing and contrasts with automated testing, which relies on tools and scripts to perform tests and compare results with expected outcomes.

A few of the techniques used for conducting manual testing are white-box testing, black-box testing, and gray-box testing.

Before you move further to learn about manual testing, you should know about the different types of software testing. There are software testing types that are conducted manually to ensure that the software is reliable, secure, and efficient. Check our guide on various types of software testing. This way, you are able to differentiate between automated and manual testing.

Let’s check the benefits of manual testing in the next section.

What are the Advantages of Manual Testing?

Here is a list of advantages you get through manual testing.

  1. Ease of Test Execution

    You don’t need advanced technical skills or specialized tools to perform manual software testing. You can execute tests and record results without having to write complex test scripts or invest in expensive automation tools.

  2. Adaptability to Rapid Changes

    Easily adapt manual testing to changes in application requirements or design. Unlike automation testing, which needs to be updated when changes occur, you can immediately update your manual test cases and continue software testing.

  3. Better Understanding of the Application

    As you manually test an application, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of its features, functions, and possible weaknesses. This knowledge can help plan future development, fix bugs, or make improvements.

  4. No Initial Investment is Required

    Don’t need to make a significant upfront investment in tools or resources for manual testing. You can start testing immediately and focus on identifying issues and improving the application.

  5. Effective for Exploratory Testing

    You can leverage your creativity and critical thinking during exploratory testing, where you actively explore the application to find defects. This type of testing, which is usually conducted without a predetermined test plan, is particularly suited to manual testing. If you are looking to learn more about exploratory testing, here is our article on what exploratory testing is.

  6. Ideal for Testing Complex Scenarios

    Manual testing can be more effective than automation testing when it comes to evaluating complex scenarios or testing applications with a high level of human interaction. You can better understand and assess the impact of these scenarios on the user experience.

  7. Ease of Test Maintenance

    Manual test cases are easier to maintain and update, as they don’t require the same level of technical expertise or time investment as updating automated test scripts. You can quickly adapt your test cases as the application evolves.

    Whereas in automating testing, you have to entirely update the automated test scripts. If you want to understand automated testing, read this article on what automated testing is. Build your base about the types of software testing and get clear on how automated and manual testing are different.

By taking the time to perform manual testing before deployment, you can check your application’s quality and user experience. This way, you can maintain and provide quality software to your end users. Further, you will learn about the types of manual testing.

7 Types of Manual Testing

Here are the core 7 types of manual testing explained.

  1. Functional Testing: With functional testing, you ensure that the application meets its functional requirements and performs as expected. You will use test cases to check the application’s functions, features, and capabilities.
  2. Regression Testing: You perform regression testing to ensure that new changes or modifications do not impact existing functionality. You use existing test cases to verify that the application is stable and consistent across different versions.
  3. Exploratory Testing: During exploratory testing, you explore the application without predefined test cases or scripts. You use your intuition and experience to identify defects and bugs that may be missed by other testing methods.
  4. Usability Testing: You perform usability testing to evaluate the user-friendliness, ease of use, and overall user experience of the application. You check whether users can easily navigate the application, interact with its features, and perform tasks.
  5. Compatibility Testing: Compatibility testing ensures that the application works correctly across different operating systems, browsers, devices, and other environments. You test the application in various configurations to ensure it can function as intended in all supported environments.
  6. Installation Testing: With installation testing, you ensure that the application can be installed and uninstalled without any issues. You verify that the installation process is smooth and efficient and that the application can be set up correctly on the target system.
  7. Security Testing: Security testing identifies vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the application’s security. You evaluate the application’s ability to withstand potential attacks, such as hacking, data breaches, or unauthorized access.

There are several other types of software testing types such as unit testing, integration testing, and system testing. To understand all the types of software testing, you can read our blog post on software testing types.

Next, let’s briefly check the process of conducting performance testing.

What is the Process of Performing Manual Testing?

A typical manual testing process includes the following steps.

  • Test planning: Define the scope, objectives, and strategy for testing the application.
  • Test case creation: Develop detailed test cases based on the requirements and test scenarios.
  • Test execution: Execute the test cases, documenting the results and any defects discovered.
  • Defect reporting: Report the defects to the development team for resolution.
  • Defect verification: Re-test the application once the defects have been resolved to ensure they are fixed.
  • Test closure: Conclude the testing process, summarizing the results and findings.

Next, to understand manual testing in detail, let’s see the examples.

2 Examples of Manual Testing

To better understand manual testing, consider the following examples.

  1. Testing a Login Feature

    • Enter valid credentials and verify successful login.
    • Enter invalid credentials and check for an error message.
    • Attempt to log in without entering a username or password, and confirm that an error message appears.
  2. Testing a Shopping Cart Feature

    • Add an item to the cart and verify it appears in the cart.
    • Remove an item from the cart and confirm it’s no longer in the cart.
    • Update the quantity of an item in the cart and ensure the total cost is updated accordingly.

In conclusion, manual testing is an essential aspect of software development that helps ensure the quality, functionality, and usability of an application. By executing test cases and identifying defects, you can contribute to the development of a reliable product that meets user needs and expectations.

As a tester, it’s crucial to understand the different types of manual testing and follow a systematic process to uncover potential issues. With your knowledge of manual testing, you are better equipped to deliver high-quality software and create a positive user experience.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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