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Many mobile application developers have transformed from the traditional way – manual testing to the modern approach – automated testing for managing mobile app quality. It is basically because they realized how costly and time-consuming it is to do manual testing that triggers an imminent need to make a turnaround.

Yet, the technology of test automation is not accepted or adopted by every developer or tester. Reasons are probably they have an old-fashioned mindset, fear to make a change or have a wrong vision on the time and cost of deploying test automation solution. This blog will focus on this theme and scratches the surface in explaining why the test automation actually saves you money, time and resources – when implemented and adopted efficiently.

Overall using test automation is the best way to reach an optimal level of test effectiveness, test efficiency and testing coverage. The ultimate value of test automation comes from avoiding manually conducting repeatable test runs and free up developers’ time for new features and do faster releases for your customers. Let’s break it down into 5 aspects of the comparison between manual testing and automated testing.

Financial issue

The reason why we start from financial concern is that many developers, especially smaller companies, have the first consideration on if a software/platform/service costs a lot or whether they should really invest on an unknown technology. Here we’d like to clear the puzzles for you.

Mobile test automation was deemed as an expensive or difficult testing method for many developers. With many iterations, however, the threshold for adopting test automation is much lower than ever before, even for indie developers. That being said, it still costs you some funds to have automated mobile testing up and running in your organization – Time, People, Infrastructure, Toolsets, and Training.

manual testing vs. test automation

Test automation brings you a higher return on investment (ROI) in the long run. It is how test automation is adopted that determines the size of ROI. The more automated test cases, the higher the ROI it can yield. In general, you can reuse and re-run test cases with the technology of test automation at no additional cost and 24/7 by creating them once. And naturally the testing length can be shortened to minutes from hours or weeks with minimal manual operations. This is a significant time saving that translates directly into cost savings.

Increasing Costs

On average the cost of manually testing mobile apps in your team drastically rise when time goes. It can be because the number of new builds grows or simply because you have more applications to manage quality assurance. While the deployment of test automation does cost a share of your company fund, it will quickly pay off and increase the total ROI in the case of more test builds or new apps.

Development and Testing

Every time a piece of source code is modified, the overall application needs to be tested again. The modification of source code always happens during the development phase. With manual testing, it’s not feasible to test the application in a holistic way, needless to say, to test on many supported variants of an operating system and different hardware configurations. While QA team tests the new source code manually, the whole development team might be waiting for the results.

Since development and testing are always associated, automating tests is the only agile and reliable approach to achieve a fast dev-testing cycle. Once test automation is adopted from the beginning of the project, testing becomes an easy task. It saves you time and money while the development goes on.

Mobile App Development Process

In some cases, manual testing is indeed a good strategy at the early stage of the development process. It offers developers a good opportunity to refine their test strategy, set test requirements and do plans on how testing will be done during the development. And automated testing will come into play when testing processes are standardized in the later process.

Development and Testing Tools At Your Disposal

Selecting the best testing framework suited for your testing need is critical to ensure maximal test coverage and achieve the best testing results. It’s a well-known fact that automated testing methods can be used for both validating requirements and reducing the costs of testing through automated test case generation.

Testing frameworks such as Appium, Calabash, XCUITest, Espresso, Robot Framework, etc. are just popular options for achieving your testing goals. Some of those are better suited for native app testing, and others are better for web and hybrid app testing. By utilizing one or two among these testing frameworks and an additional professional solution like Bitbar Testing, you can truly get the benefits of test automation and why test automation is over manual testing.

Another advantage of test automation is that you will be able to do continuous integrations (CI). As the leading open source CI tool, Jenkins monitors executions of repeated jobs and mainly focuses on two jobs:

  • Building/testing software projects continuously. In a nutshell, Jenkins provides an easy-to-use continuous integration system, making it easier for developers to integrate changes to the project, and making it easier for users to obtain a fresh build. The automated, continuous build increases the productivity.
  • Monitoring executions of externally-run jobs, such as cron jobs and procmail jobs, even those that are run on a remote machine. For example, with cron, all you receive is regular e-mails that capture the output, and it is up to you to look at them diligently and notice when it broke. Jenkins keeps those outputs and makes it easy for you to notice when something is wrong.

Test & Device Coverage

Automated testing can increase the depth and scope of tests and help significantly to improve software quality and testing accuracy. Lengthy and thorough tests – that are often avoided during manual testing – can be run automatically. Ideally, test cases should have full access inside an application and test all aspects of it: memory contents, data tables, file contents, and internal program states to determine if the product is behaving as expected. Automated tests can easily execute thousands of different complex test cases during every test run providing coverage that is simply impossible with manual testing. Developers can spend more time creating new automated test cases and build more compelling features (and test cases).

Test coverage can be extended with the number of different types of test cases. For example, generating and recording your tests can be done without any knowledge of C, C++, Java or any other programming language. At the same time, device coverage is guaranteed only by adopting test automation. It is impossible to test your application on hundreds of devices with manual testers. The only agile and scalable way is to rely on automated test runs on a large scale. Regarding device coverage, you also need to take into account the diversity of devices for your targeted market. Choosing the right device set is a crucial decision – platform/OS version, display resolution, etc. all play a role in your device selection and testing results.

Perceived Outcome

In a nutshell, automated testing can yield enormous positive outcomes: high-quality, robust and reliable applications. Relying on a professional automated testing software can bring you even more benefits under the ever-growing complex and competitive pressure. In fact, automated testing method, along with a sophisticated test automation solution improves business results in three ways:

  1. Increased test efficiency. You get more test runs executed in a given amount of time. The higher testing efficiency, the lower app development time you spend.
  2. Increased test effectiveness. You can reveal bugs quicker before you do a release. It’s very important to find and fix bugs before your customers do.
  3. Shorted time to market. With test automation, you are able to release new versions more frequently than your competitors, keeping your customers happy during their life cycle with new features.

Replacing manual testing with automated testing can cut weeks or months from elapsed testing time. With less testing time, you are able to do more releases. This helps you deliver valuable contents, features, and services to your customers faster than ever. It’s especially important when your customers’ need becomes ever demanding.

In addition, test automation improves team spirit and team morale as well. When your developers can automate the majority of repetitive test runs, they can allocate more time on more challenging testing tasks, which can produce a higher reward for the whole team.


Many software testing tasks can be laborious and time consuming with manual testing. In addition, a manual approach is not always effective in finding certain classes of defects. In the long run, manual testing will generate increasing unexpected costs for your team. Test automation offers a possibility to perform these types of testing effectively without paying scary bills. Once tests are automated, they can be run quickly and repeatedly. This can be a cost-effective method for regression testing of software products that have a long maintenance life.

  • Test automation does require skills and initial investment, but it will pay off soon.
  • Automated testing improves the whole dev-testing cycle and frees up your developers for new features.
  • Time spent on a test automation solution will guarantee a great return on investment.
  • The threshold of test automation is lower than before. Why not start automated testing?

Lingkai Shao

Marketing Manager