The standard and uniformity of user interfaces with graphics (GUI) across many devices and platforms are essential in today’s fast-paced, visually-driven digital world.
The difficulty of automating the checking of the visual components of software systems has given rise to a robust solution in visual testing automation.
This post examines practical methods for applying visual testing automation to improve software quality.
How Important Is Automated Visual Testing?
Visual components, including layouts, colours, typefaces, and images, are critical in today’s digital world, where user experience is crucial to achieving software applications.
Users anticipate a consistent, aesthetically pleasing interface across all platforms and devices.
Yet, human visual testing is laborious, prone to mistakes, and challenging to scale, particularly given the growing complexity of contemporary applications.
Automated visual testing involves taking screenshots or recordings of the application’s graphical user interface and comparing them to reference images or established visual patterns.
Organisations can detect and stop visual regressions by automating this procedure, guaranteeing that the user experience looks the same in all setups.
- Create a Baseline: The initial phase in automating visual testing is to create a base image that reflects the ideal visual state for the application. For upcoming visual exams, this baseline image will be used as an issue of comparison. To faithfully depict the anticipated appearance of the application, it should be carefully constructed and verified. To detect any differences, all following visual tests will contrast the screenshots or videos they have taken to this baseline.
- Utilise Screenshot Comparison Tools: It is crucial to utilise screenshot comparison tools to automate the visual assessment process. These programmes examine the videos or screenshots and contrast them pixel-by-pixel with the reference image. They draw attention to discrepancies or visual regressions, making spotting and fixing possible problems easier. Percy, Applitools, and ImageMagick are a few standard screenshot comparison programmes. Any visual testing automation system can be significantly streamlined and made more efficient by including such technologies.
- Use intelligent locators: For focused visual comparisons in visual testing robotics, it is essential to identify certain GUI elements precisely. The precise location of the necessary screen elements can be determined with clever locators like XPath or CSS selectors. These locators must be reliable and resist modifications to the application’s style or structure. Focused visual testing is made possible by combining intelligent locators with snapshot comparison tools, which lowers the likelihood of false alarms and false negatives.
- Utilise Cross-Browser or Cross-Platform Testing: To maintain consistency, visual testing must be done across various platforms due to the growth of different browsers and devices. Cross-browser and cross-platform testing for visual applications should be automated, with screenshots or videos being taken on several platforms and browsers. Organisations can use this method to spot visual inconsistencies that differences in drawing engines, screen bills, or device-specific limitations might bring.
- Visual testing should be implemented as a part of continuous integration: The continuous integration (CI) workflow must include visual testing automation to guarantee continual quality assurance. Organisations may automatically run visual tests when new changes are made to an application’s codebase by integrating visual tests into the CI pipeline. This facilitates the early discovery of visual regressions, permits quick bug remedies, and stops problems from building up. Through the software development lifecycle, visual testing as a component of CI assists in preserving a visually consistent user interface and fosters a quality culture.
- Prioritise Test Coverage: Although visual testing automation has many advantages, it is essential to base test coverage decisions on the most critical user flows and frequently used parts of the application. Concentrating on high-impact regions ensures that resources are used efficiently and that the GUI’s most crucial components are thoroughly evaluated. A risk-based strategy aids in optimising visual inspection efforts and striking a balance between thoroughness and effectiveness.
- Regression testing should incorporate visual testing: Regression testing ensures that new updates or changes don’t cause unexpected flaws or break working functionality. Organisations can validate the visual components’ functionality and integrity by integrating visual testing automation in regression testing. This method offers a thorough validation process, lowering the possibility of visual regressions sliding through the gaps and being discovered by end users.
- Implement Continuous Monitoring: Ongoing surveillance of an application’s visual state being manufactured is advantageous in addition to including visual testing within the CI pipeline. With the help of continuous monitoring technologies, live application screenshots or videos are regularly taken and compared to the predefined baseline. This constant observation aids in finding any visual regressions or inconsistencies brought on by outside elements like browser updates, operating system modifications, or third-party integrations. Continuous monitoring is an extra security net, guaranteeing the application’s visual integrity even after deployment.
- Work together with the Design and Development Teams: Effective visual testing automation requires strong communication and cooperation between the design and development teams. Regular communication between these teams enables early detection and resolution of possible problems and the development of a shared knowledge of the intended visual state. A system of design or style guides that offers a standardised collection of visual components and principles for consistent UI presentation can also be established through collaboration.
- Maintain a Well-Organised Test Repository: Keeping an organised test repository is essential to guarantee the scalability and upkeep of visual testing automation. The test scripts, baseline photos, and related artefacts should all be stored in this repository. Creating test plans based on user interfaces, features, or modules can simplify test administration and upkeep tasks. Git and other version control programmes can communicate successfully with numerous team members and track changes to test scripts.
Visual testing automation was a valuable strategy to raise the calibre of software programmes in the setting of graphical user interfaces.
Organisations may efficiently automate the verification of visual characteristics, identify visual regressions, and guarantee consistent user interfaces across multiple platforms and devices by implementing the techniques described in this article.
Visual testing automation has rapidly evolved into a necessary practice in developing software due to the quick growth of digital interfaces.