Don’t Automate Your Tests Without Proper Goals – Test Automation Guide

The demand for the delivery of quick delivery of quality software is increasing. Quality at speed requires organizations to find practical solutions using Agile, continuous integration, and DevOps methodologies. According to the World Quality Report by Capgemini, low levels of automation challenges are the most significant bottleneck when it comes to delivering a quality solution at speed.

Test automation

Image Source – Testing Whiz

Properly planned and well-executed automated testing can yield a higher return on investments and shorten your development cycle. Besides, the development team and QA team will get rid of cumbersome, repetitive tasks, and overall software quality will improve.

Let us have a look at the importance of test automation aligned with goals. We will also explore why it is beneficial to with goal-oriented automation testing with Selenium and side effects of having no goals during browser compatibility testing. Let’s get started!

1. The need for browser compatibility testing

Across the globe, users have been using different browsers. According to a report published by StatCounter on worldwide browser market share, 64.92% of people use Google Chrome, and 15.97% still prefer using Apple’s Safari browser when it comes to desktops. The numbers are very similar to mobile devices.

Also, each browser multiple versions. If you want to have a stronger chance of building a more massive userbase, your web application has to be compatible across different devices and various browsers.

Cross-browser compatibility testing

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With increasing fragmentation in the availability and use of a different type of browsers, cross-browser testing is has become hygiene in any web application development project.

Hence, we highly recommended making cross-browser testing an integral part of web application development. This will ensure that the developers develop the web application to make the website perfectly accessible to as many users as possible.

2. Importance of a goal-driven approach to test automation

One of the main intentions of automating the tests is to reduce the time, efforts involved in the latest stages of testing. Apart from the reduction in time and efforts invested, reduction in costs is one of the primary motivations. Most of the objectives of doing test automation can be converted into measurable goals. Let’s have a look at some of the common goals and learn why a goal-driven approach to test automation is beneficial for the entire company.

3. Potential disaster around browser compatibility testing if goals aren’t followed

Let’s take a story and a case study to adequately understand what it is important to establish goals first and how it will benefit the business, development team, and QA team. In this story, we will take the example of Jack and Mike.

Jack was the only one doing QA and testing in his team. Unfortunately, all the testing was manual. As the product was growing at a rapid scale, the development team decided to introduce more features. Due to newer features, Jack needed more time in manual regression testing, and he couldn’t automate the testing alone because of limited bandwidth.

Test automation

Image Source – Miro

Aware of the problem, the company hired Mike, who was an automation engineer. Jack and Mike started working on automating the testing to avoid the most repetitive tasks and invest their efforts in more critical test activities. While Mike started taking the lead on test automation, soon he came across technical challenges. His automates tests couldn’t interact with the application elements like buttons and textbox.

He paired up with Jane (one of the developers), had a conversation to explain the issue. The issue got solved, but it took a while for Jane to get their development process aligned with test automation processes.

Test automation failure reasons

Image Source – Slideshare

Not communicating goals can cause issues in the development and testing processes

Once the necessary tests were automated and working as per expectations, the next big task was to automate the regression test suite. That’s was the main goal for hiring Mike and automating tests. While Jack and Mike had clarity on what they wanted to automation to achieve, the development team wasn’t aware of the situation. Based on an earlier conversation with Jane, Jack, and Mike assumed that the development team is well-aware of what they want and what they are doing.

The damage caused by assumed expectations about automation

One day Jane was working on completing one of the significant new technical features. Jack and Mike had to step in and ask her to halt the development as the regression suite wasn’t automated yet.

On the other hand, Jane and other developers had assumed that the QA team has automated the tests and completed cross-browser and performance tests. The entire situation paused the development of new features and led to an argument. As a result, Jane and other developers had to break the development process for a while, and it waits for Jack and Mike to complete their automation testing suite.

4. How to prevent and overcome such disasters

Later, the team realized that the development team and QA team didn’t define any specific automation goals apart from saving time in regression testing. The root causes of the issue were the following:

  • Not having documented automation goals
  • Not communicating goals with the entire team
  • Team members not aligned with goals
  • Team members not collaborating to achieve those goals
  • Not giving enough importance to automation

Later, Mike arranged a meeting of all the members to communicate these issues and build an action plan on solving these by defining goals and creating development and QA processes aligned with the objectives.

Test automation benefits

Image Source – Technected

The team agreed that they never came together as a team and didn’t communicate expectations for test automation. Jack identified the lack of goals and aspirations as the most significant problem and started planning to build a solution. Jack and Mike revisited the automation processes and created goals to communicate the development team and senior business leaders. All the team members decided to:

  • Create a list of goals and assign a priority to those goals
  • Communicate the goal to the development team and delivery team
  • Collaborate on building automation test suites
  • Measure the value of the automation project
  • Define, follow and celebrate small milestones

5. Issues to avoid during cross-browser compatibility testing

As we discussed at the beginning of the article, users are using multiple different browsers across the globe. Hence, it is crucial to make your application in a way that it works on any browser having any screen size.

This is required for user acceptance testing, but even more important to have a broader audience. Let’s have a look at some common challenges you can face during cross-browser compatibility testing and how to resolve those technical issues.

Lack of testing on your web application on real devices

Nothing can beat testing on the real thing. Regardless of your website functionality and UI, one of the best ways to make your website compatible with the majority of devices is by testing on real devices. Emulated devices will not have the efficacy of native device features.

LambdaTest screenshot

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On the other hand, building a continuously updated device lab with the latest smartphones and multiple browsers can become a costly and time-consuming process. You can save your money time using platforms such as LambdaTest, where you get can test your website on 2000+ real browsers.

You can test your website on a variety of devices, browsers, and operating systems by logging in and selecting the target device-browser combination. As the platform manages these devices, you don’t need to worry about updating or maintaining anything.

Issues in the validation of HTML and CSS code

Different browsers read and handle system in different ways. Issues in the validation of HTML or CSS code can pose significant problems for testers and developers during cross-browser testing. This issue can be caused by silly mistakes like not closing <div> tag.

HTML validator

Image Source – HTML Validator

Some browsers have gained the capability of auto-correct minor problems, but older browsers may not display UI or the feature that part of the code operates, which can cause a big issue for user experience.

Solution:

Solving the issue of HTML/CSS validation is simple and easy. To validate HTML and CSS code, you can use W3C Markup Validation Service or Jigsaw CSS validator.

Be aware of vendor-specific functions

While creating features and functionalities, developers need to use specific code in CSS depending on the type of the browser they are coding for. While creating CSS for different browsers, the developers should keep in mind some prefixes.

Some common prefixes to keep in mind are:

  • Safari and Chrome (-webkit)
  • Internet Explorer (-ms)
  • Mozilla Firefox (-moz)
  • Opera (-o)

Cross-browser compatibility CSS

Image Source – Lifewire

This is crucial and beneficial to avoid cross-browser compatibility issues. The developers should add the function without the prefix to make sure that other browsers don’t give any error.

Missing CSS Resets

All modern browsers apply a default design layout when the website opens. A website has to override the default layout to utilize its own layout. If the website does not replace the default design, the site will be rendered differently based on the type of browser.

Solution:

Developers can implement a CSS reset to overcome this issue. Once the style sheet is added, it will eliminate all layout design issues. Eric Meyers CSS Reset, HTML5Reset, and Github based Normalize.css are one of the most commonly used reset style sheets.

Layout compatibility issues

While implementing CSS Reset (a minified version of CSS), developers may remove the default design in browsers and create their own. This may result in compatibility issues. Issues may occur either because of a non-responsive website design or due to a lack of support for specific layouts on some browser versions.

Solution:

Use floats. A float is essentially a floating image inside a text box, it comes with certain limitations, but many browsers support floats. Besides, it is recommended to use CSS grids and Flexbox while creating a modern layout as the latest browsers support these tools.

Goal-driven automation testing provides accelerated results

The automation of tests is an integral part of a testing cycle. All the benefits of test automation may seem very attractive and but ill-organized automation without properly defined goals will destroy all the benefits and lead to further disadvantages.

Due to lack of goals and poorly planned execution, testers in your team may end up debugging and fixing the scripts, which will increase time and cost invested and reduced productivity and return on investment.

Business benefits of test automation

Image Source – Xbox

Before you start automating your tests, it is crucial to define measurable goals, list down what you want to achieve with automation. The goals, objectives need to be converted into milestones.

Besides, you should communicate the goals, objectives, and milestones with the development and QA team. Well-communicated goals and well-planned automated browser testing project execution will result in higher productivity, higher efficiency, improved ROI and decrease time and efforts required in later stages.

Are you looking for a reliable solution for automated browser testing?

Using LambdaTest, you can test web applications on 2000+ real browsers and operating systems. Besides, complementary features such as Selenium automation scripts will give you smoother cross-browser testing experience to help you deploy products quicker.

Why should you choose LambdaTest over other solutions?

LambdaTest screenhot

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You can integrate LambdaTest with your favorite CI/CD, bug tracking, and project management tools such as GitLab, Jira, and Asana. This will save you from manually managing bugs and tasks. What are you waiting for? Start testing your web application free of cost today!

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