In the era of multiple web browsers and screen sizes, it can get tough to decide whether your web application interface looks presentable everywhere and performs normally.
Do you need to support every single possibility? Is it worth the extra effort?
Let's say you have an e-commerce page and the images of the products are of different sizes on different devices. How do you make sure that your product images are displayed correctly on all devices?
The potential for inconsistency is high and it can be time-consuming to manually test everything.
Or maybe site visitors can't find essential icons to click like "buy now" or "product features". Users will bounce from your site since they couldn't find the information they need.
You can't afford to have a bad user experience.
It can also help you catch issues like missing icons before your users do.
In this guide, we'll cover visual testing, from the basics to more advanced concepts. We'll also break down how you can set up and use automated visual testing to save time and money.
Visual testing or commonly known as visual regression testing is the process of verifying the accuracy of the graphical representation of a software application. This type of testing can be used to catch issues like missing buttons, incorrect colors, and misaligned text.
It's important to note that visual tests are different from functional tests. Functional testing assesses whether the functionality of an application is working as intended.
Visual testing is a way to complement functional testing by ensuring that the graphical representation of an application is consistent across different browsers and devices.
Humans are very visual creatures. In fact, 90% of the information that our brain processes are visual.
Hence, it's not surprising then that the way an application looks can have a significant impact on how users perceive it.
A study by the Nielson Norman Group found that users make judgments about a website's credibility, aesthetics, and overall quality within the first 10 seconds of looking at it.
This means that if your web application doesn't look good, users are likely to leave and never come back.
Apart from the user experience, there are other reasons why visual tests are important:
With the multitude of browsers and devices in the market today, it's tough to keep track of how your web application looks on all of them.
Manually testing each possibility is time-consuming and not very efficient. Automated visual testing tools can help you catch any discrepancies like visual bugs quickly and easily.
During development, it's not uncommon for changes to be made that unintentionally break the graphical representation of the application.
Automated visual testing can help you catch these issues before they become major problems.
Visual testing can help you catch issues that may not be obvious from functional testing alone.
For instance, you may have a button that's the wrong color or an image that's too small. These types of issues can be easily missed but can have a big impact on the user experience.
Visual testing is a cost-effective way to ensure the quality of your web application. An automated visual testing tool can help you catch issues early on before they become more expensive to fix.
By catching issues with a visual test with Preflight, you can improve the overall quality of your web application. This will result in a better user experience and higher customer satisfaction.
Why Functional Testing tools aren't enough
While functional testing tools are great for verifying the accuracy of an application's functionality, they're not enough on their own.
This is because functional testing tools don't take into account the graphical representation of an application. This means that they can't catch issues like missing buttons or incorrect colors.
In order to ensure the quality of your web application, you need to complement functional testing with automated visual testing.
Manual testing is the process of testing an application manually, without the use of any automation tools.
While manual testing can be effective in finding certain types of issues, it has a number of drawbacks:
Manual testing is a time-consuming process. This is because you need to test each functionality manually, which can take a lot of time and effort.
Since manual testing is done by humans, it's prone to human error. This means that issues can be easily missed and not reported.
Manual testing is also an expensive process. This is because you need to pay for the time and resources required to test the application manually.
Manual testing is not very efficient. This is because it can take a long time to test an application thoroughly. Additionally, issues that are found may not be reported in a timely manner.
With many advanced tech tools at your disposal, you wouldn't want to opt for manual testing. So let's take a look at some of the benefits of using automation tools for testing.
Automated visual testing is the process of using automation tools to test the graphical representation of an application.
This type of testing can help you catch issues like missing buttons or incorrect colors. Automated visual testing is also a cost-effective way to ensure the quality of your web application.
So why do everything manually when you can automate it?
And automated visual testing can take many forms, one of which is snapshot testing.
Snapshot testing is a type of automated visual testing that takes a "snapshot" of the application under test and compares it to a reference image.
If the snapshot doesn't match the reference image, then an issue is reported. Snapshot testing can help you catch issues like missing buttons or incorrect colors.
While snapshot testing is a great way to catch visual issues, it has its own set of problems:
Snapshot testing can be slow. This is because the process of taking a snapshot and comparing it to a reference image can take some time. Additionally, if there are many snapshots to compare, the process can take even longer.
Snapshot testing can also be difficult to set up. This is because you need to take into account the environment in which the snapshot will be taken, as well as the reference image that will be used for comparison.
Snapshot testing can also be flaky. This is because the snapshot may not always match the reference image, even if there are no changes to the application.
Snapshot testing can also miss issues. This is because it only compares the graphical representation of an application and doesn't take into account the functionality.
Snapshot testing can also be unreliable. This is because the reference image may not always match the snapshot, even if there are no changes to the application.
Snapshot testing can also be hard to maintain. This is because you need to keep the reference image up-to-date with the latest changes to the application. Otherwise, you may end up with false positives.
So what can you do if you've got so many problems with snapshot testing?
You can try using another form of automated visual testing, such as visual regression testing that incorporates AI and machine learning.
Unlike Snapshot testing, visual regression testing can take into account the functionality of an application. This means that it can catch issues like missing buttons or incorrect colors, as well as functional issues.
Visual regression testing is also more reliable than snapshot testing since the AI and machine learning algorithms used for comparison are constantly being improved.
So if you're looking for a more reliable and effective form of automated visual testing, then you should definitely try using visual regression testing.
When you use bitmap for automated visual testing, it is a one-time event. You take the screenshot, save it as an image, and then you have to manually compare the images every time there is a change in the UI. This process is time-consuming and error-prone.
On the other hand, when you use AI-powered tools for automated visual testing, the process is automated. The AI-powered tool takes a screenshot of the UI and then compares it to the reference image. If there are any changes, the tool will report it.
This means that you don't have to manually compare the images every time there is a change in the UI. This saves you a lot of time and effort.
In addition, AI-powered tools are more accurate than bitmap comparison. This is because AI-powered tools use algorithms that are constantly being improved, while bitmap comparison is a static process.
So if you're looking for a more accurate and efficient form of automated visual testing, then you should definitely use AI-powered tools.
And the best part of automated testing is that you don't have to know how to code. Just point and click!
Codeless automation is the new hotness in the world of software development.
Automated visual testing is a great way to catch UI and UX issues early on in the development process.
It's also a great way to save time and effort by automating the comparison of images. And the best thing is you don't need professional developers to use automated visual testing.
But there can be instances when you have to choose which tests need automation and which don't. You can use the following factors to help you decide:
If the feature you're testing is simple, then manual testing might be a better option. But if the feature is complex, then automated visual testing would be a better choice.
If the UI or UX changes frequently, then automated visual testing is a better choice. This is because it would be too time-consuming to manually compare the images every time there's a change.
If the feature is important and you want to make sure that it works correctly, then automated visual testing is a better choice.
If you have the resources (time, money, etc.), then automated visual testing is a better choice. But if you don't have the resources, then manual testing might be a better option.
If the feature is risky and there's a lot at stake, then automated visual testing is a better choice. This is because it's more accurate and reliable than manual testing.
Sometimes testing tools can lag and cause errors. That's why it's important to choose tools that give you instant feedback.
We recommend using AI-powered tools for automated visual testing because they're fast, reliable, and accurate.
And the best part is you can set them up in just 10 minutes!
Here's how to do it with Preflight:
1. Install Preflight's extension from the Chrome Web Store.
2. Open Preflight and click on the "Create a new project" button.
3. Enter your project's name and URL.
4. Select the "Visual tests" option from the list of options.
5. Click on the "Create project" button.
6. PreFlight will take a screenshot of your project's UI and store it as the reference image.
7. Make the changes you want to test and Preflight will take another screenshot.
8. Preflight will compare the two images and report any differences.
9. That's it! You've successfully set up automated visual testing with Preflight.
Preflight is a powerful tool that allows you to get started for FREE and makes automated visual testing easy and fast. So why not give it a try?
Of course, there are more details involved as to HOW Preflight's tool works; how it captures the images, and how using its easy drag-and-drop feature can help create a visual checkpoint.
To find out more, you can check out an introduction to visual regression testing, where we visually demonstrate how Preflight carries out your testing!
You can customize your tests to match your specific requirements and set them up in just 10 minutes with Preflight's easy-to-use features.
With its comprehensive features, Preflight makes it simpler than ever to automate visual testing, allowing developers to focus more on development tasks instead of tedious manual testing tasks.