What Is UI Testing? Definition, Benefits, Use Cases & Types

User Interface Testing

UI testing or popularly known as GUI testing is the definitional name for testing the portions of any tech product that any user comes in direct contact with. That means these test cases are mostly concerned with the visual elements and their functioning against user actions in any application. Through UI test scripts, testers ensure that the users get to see and experience what the developers have planned to deliver.

UI or User Interface is treated as the first impression of your application. It is the overall appearance of your application that your user will see every time he/she visits your application. For a better understanding in the technical field, UI is also called GUI i.e. Graphical User Interface. The design and functionality of the UI elements as well as the complete interface should clearly represent the objective of the product and convince every visitor on the page to become a part of the user base. That’s why design teams and development teams put so much focus and effort into designing & developing the UI, and the QA teams focus on creating effective test plans & test suites to achieve the expected output. All those efficient software development and testing approaches maintain the stability in the products’ life cycle as well as in the complete DevOps.

Today, the competition in every domain of technology is insanely high. Any business you plan to proceed with, already has numerous reputed players dominating the market. Hence, if you want to show your uniqueness, the UI or User Interface of your product should do all the talking for you. For example, when you visit the website of PreFlight, it clearly states that you can receive an absolutely no-code automated testing experience using this simple browser extension. This extremely efficient automated testing tool enables you to create and run all the popular types of software testing (e.g. unit testing, integration testing, API testing, cross-browser testing, end-to-end testing, exploratory testing, load testing, user interface testing, etc.) within seconds and the best part is that anyone without even a little bit of coding knowledge can do all that. So, here the point is as the super-smooth and attractive UI of PreFlight clearly depicts its mission and provides the users with the maximum ease to navigate to and use all the features of this magical no-code test automation tool.

This article is all about getting into the depth of how it becomes highly beneficial to consider all possible testing scenarios & testing challenges to test every portion of UI to ensure that your users are seeing what you are willing them to show and they are experiencing the highly effective features that fulfill the objective of your application. So, let’s move on to it.

What Is UI Testing?

UI testing or GUI testing is the process of testing the visual aspects of an application that the users directly interact with. As we previously mentioned, it focuses on testing the visible portions of the product and makes sure that the users get to see and use the product as well as all of its components in the best possible way. If it is described in the terms used in the coding world, UI testing is the way to get rid of any bug in the UI.

As you know, every website is built of multiple components that are the results of a proper combination of the website building blocks i.e. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other popular programming languages (e.g. Java, Python, etc.). The quality of a UI or better to say, the front-end part of any website depends on a smooth workflow from an efficient combination and proper performance of these building blocks. That’s why UI testing deals with HTML & CSS which are responsible for the visual aspects of the UI, and with JavaScript or any other programming language that controls the front-end functionalities of the components. Other internal logic handlings are part of the back-end so they do not come under the scope of UI tests.

Hence, it can be clearly observed that UI tests cover the visual aspects like checkboxes, radio buttons, fonts, text boxes, toolbars, menus, colors, etc. However, to check the working of the components, UI tests cover important aspects such as -

  • Functionality
  • Performance
  • Visual Design
  • Usability
  • Compliance

The Importance and Benefits of UI Testing

There is certainly something or a number of things that made us brainstorm so much to find out why the tech world is highly concerned about UI testing. Well, those things are the extremely helpful benefits that you can receive from it. Hence, let’s check them out in detail.

  • Any bug or fault in the UI will make your users unable to perform the tasks that they are using the app for. And, they will not be concerned to check what the app is actually capable of. That means the purpose of your product will eventually fail and the curve of your business will fall flat. All these can be avoided by effective UI test executions to check if there is any issue in the UI and taking necessary action to improve its quality.
  • UI primarily means the visual appearance of an application. So, if any issue in the UI causes the malfunctioning of some of its visual components, the users will definitely place your app in a much lower position in their preference list. Hence, as we mentioned previously, the UI is the first impression of your product and you must try your best to keep it at its peak level.
  • Now, if you can clearly see a bug hampering any component of the UI, you can immediately take the necessary measures to resolve it. But, in many cases, a bug does not cause any difference in the visual appearance of the UI but it leads one or multiple components to fail in performing their tasks. In-depth UI tests are the only way to detect such hidden bugs and broaden the ways to get rid of them.
  • Besides how your application normally shows up, another crucial part is how it and its components react to the inputs provided by the users through input devices like mouse, keyboard, etc. Even if your app loads normally by itself, if it fails to act normally in performing its tasks by considering the users’ inputs and fails to guide the users further into the depth of the app, the users will never tend to use your app again.

These are the prime reasons why you should put the necessary amount of effort and resources into performing efficient UI tests. The further sections of this article will let you know more about this crucial part of the software testing process.

The Scope/Use Cases of UI Testing

Below are some of the most crucial use cases for UI testing.

  • Data Type Errors: UI tests are responsible for verifying if the data type of a user input matches the acceptable data type set for that input field. For example, an input field that is supposed to accept only numeric values should never accept any other data type such as letters, signs, etc.
  • Navigational Elements: As we previously mentioned, one of the prime objectives of a UI is to use its navigational element to guide users to the portions of the website that are necessary to solve the users’ purposes as well as generate good business for the website owner. Hence, to ensure that the navigational elements of the UI are functioning properly, you must perform effective UI tests.
  • Field Widths: Every data type has a default format that further has some aspects, and width is one of the most important ones. To maintain an efficient and easy-to-use database, you must set default formats for each data type. Otherwise, the database will become terrible and the system will become unable to execute operations when commands are given. Hence, this is another major part of UI testing’s scope. For example, the default width of an input field that accepts mobile numbers as inputs should be set to 8 or 9, or 10 digits (based on the default mobile number length in any specific country). UI tests should verify that the input field does not accept any number with more or fewer digits than the accepted format.
  • Menu Items: Every menu is designed to show up based on different criteria such as depending on the other options you choose, based on the geographical location of the software, etc. UI tests must be performed to check if the menus are doing their jobs correctly.
  • Progress Bars: You must have seen the progress bars showing up when a page is loading. That is the way to let you know that the UI as well as its components are getting rendered. So, being an important part of the UI, testing the progress bars also comes under the scope of UI tests.
  • Table Scrolling: Tables are a highly useful form of presenting multiple forms of data and the inter-relation among them. If such a table becomes too large, it continues to the next page, and for a better understanding of what the data is about, the header of the table should be visible on every page where any part of the table is present. UI tests are meant to verify this too.
  • Type-ahead: Sometimes drop-down lists are so long that a user may scroll endlessly to find the option he/she is looking for. And, such a tiring task is never part of a good user experience. That’s why there is usually a feature that allows one to easily find an option in the drop-down list by typing the first letter of that option. UI tests are necessary to test such a type-ahead feature.
  • Error Logging: Keeping the record of errors in a log file is an efficient coding measure to experience ease in getting rid of those errors. Make sure to check the proper operability of that feature by UI tests.
  • Working Shortcuts: Most tech products have shortcuts to provide their users with ease of operation. Testing those shortcuts is also UI tests’ job.

Also, UI tests hold great importance in testing the end-to-end user processes for performing any action using the components present in the UI. For example, on an internet baking page, users perform the action of transferring money through the common series of actions i.e. Log In > Add Beneficiary Details > Enter Payment Details > Enter Transaction Credentials > Click Submit. Here, UI tests must ensure every step in this process works smoothly for completing the overall task.

Types of UI Tests

A user interface has several different aspects that can not be tested under one single form of testing. Based on different functional and non-functional strategies required to fulfill different UI testing needs, UI tests can be of the following types.

  • Functional Testing: The type of test that verifies that each feature of the application works as it is supposed to.
  • Regression Testing: The tests that ensure that the existing features of an application are performing normally after any code change.
  • Acceptance Testing: These tests check up to what extent an application satisfies end users and gets accepted by them.
  • Performance Testing: These tests ensure that a software’s speed, stability, scalability, responsiveness, etc. remain intact under different workloads.
  • Unit Testing: The process of testing the smallest modules (units) of an application is termed unit testing.
  • GUI Testing: Known as the subset of UI testing, this type of test is only concerned with testing the graphical user interface of the application.

Conclusion

UI testing is a huge thing in the overall software testing as well as the overall software development process. This article clearly tells you how important a UI is in terms of creating the first impression about an application. Here you can get to know that UI tests are responsible for ensuring that every visual component of any application’s interface looks as it is designed to look and perform as it is developed to perform. This type of test provides you with numerous benefits in testing various crucial UI components such as drop-down lists, menus, navigational elements, progress bars, etc. To provide you with a clearer picture of the different strategies used for different testing objectives, we have also mentioned the different types of tests that are somehow counted as forms or parts of UI tests.

After knowing so much about why this is a highly important form of test, you must know how to move on with performing it. Well, we will provide you with detailed information about the same in an article on “How To Proceed With UI Testing?”. You just need to stay tuned to our blog page for that.

Also, if you want to automate every form of complex test including efficient automated UI tests without getting involved in the hassle of coding, you must have PreFlight as your only choice as an advanced test automation tool. This simple browser extension can remarkably fulfill all the testing needs that you can check out in the article “10 Amazing Software Testing Benefits From PreFlight In 2022”. Hence, get started to experience a remarkably high test coverage.

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