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Why Should You Include Automated Visual Testing Into Your Testing Strategy

automated visual testing

In the modern age of software development, where user experience reigns supreme, ensuring that an application looks and feels right is just as critical as confirming it functions correctly. Enter Automated Visual Testing (AVT) – a process that focuses on automatically detecting visual regressions in software applications. But why exactly should Automated Visual Testing be a cornerstone of your testing strategy? Let’s delve into its significance and the comprehensive guide to integrating it.

1. The Imperative of Visual Excellence:
In today’s digital ecosystem, users expect seamless and visually appealing digital experiences. A single visual glitch can mean the difference between a user staying on or abandoning a platform. With the increasing complexity of web designs, relying solely on manual testing to catch every visual discrepancy becomes practically impossible. This is where Automated Visual Testing steps in, providing a systematic approach to verify that the user interface appears correctly to end-users.

2. Scalability and Speed:
Manually checking each UI component across multiple devices, screen resolutions, and browsers can be a painstaking and time-intensive task. AVT allows for parallel testing across different environments, drastically reducing the time it takes to verify visual elements and ensuring scalability as your application grows.

3. Precision and Consistency:
Human testers, while invaluable, can occasionally overlook minor visual discrepancies or be inconsistent in their evaluations. AVT ensures pixel-perfect accuracy, comparing current visuals with baseline images to detect even the smallest of changes.

4. Comprehensive Coverage:
AVT tools can quickly scan and test every page of an application, ensuring comprehensive coverage. This is especially beneficial for large-scale platforms where manually verifying every page would be infeasible.

5. Cost-Efficient:
While setting up Automated Visual Testing may require an initial investment, the long-term ROI is substantial. By catching visual bugs early and reducing the man-hours required for manual testing, AVT can lead to significant cost savings.

A Comprehensive Guide to Integrating Automated Visual Testing:

Step 1: Define Your Goals:
Before diving in, outline what you aim to achieve with AVT. Do you want to ensure consistency across devices, improve test coverage, or speed up the testing process? Defining clear objectives will guide your AVT strategy.

Step 2: Choose the Right Tools:
There are numerous AVT tools available, each with its unique features. Tools like Applitools, Percy, and Screener are popular options. Evaluate based on your application’s needs, the tool’s integration capabilities, and your budget.

Step 3: Set Baseline Images:
For AVT to detect discrepancies, it needs a reference or ‘baseline’ image. Ensure that this image is of the highest quality and represents the expected appearance of the UI element.

Step 4: Integrate with CI/CD:
Incorporate your AVT suite into your Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment pipeline. This ensures that visual tests are automatically triggered with each deployment, allowing for rapid feedback.

Step 5: Parallel Testing:
To maximize efficiency, set up your AVT suite to run tests in parallel. This means testing multiple UI components simultaneously across various environments.

Step 6: Review and Address Discrepancies:
After tests run, review flagged visual discrepancies. Some might be false positives, while others might be genuine issues that need addressing. It’s crucial to have a process in place to triage and prioritize these findings.

Step 7: Continuous Maintenance:
As with any testing approach, AVT requires continuous maintenance. Regularly update baseline images, adjust tests for new features, and ensure your AVT tools are up-to-date.

Step 8: Training and Team Onboarding:
Ensure your team understands the importance of AVT, how to use the selected tools, and how to address detected discrepancies. Regular training sessions can be beneficial.

Conclusion:

Automated Visual Testing is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ – it’s a necessity. In a digital age where visual perfection and user experience are paramount, AVT offers an efficient, precise, and scalable solution to ensure your application always looks its best. By integrating AVT into your testing strategy, you not only enhance the quality of your product but also streamline the testing process, making it a win-win for all involved.

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