User interface testing should be a top priority for every Product Manager or UX Designer. While understanding its importance for your product’s success, it is also critical to know the different UI testing methods, as well as how UI testing fits into the broader software development process.
In this article, you will find everything related to UI testing, the different techniques and types of UI testing, as well as the way you can incorporate those into your development process.
➡️ UI testing evaluates a product’s interface, including it’s visual identity, interactions, and responsiveness.
❗ It maintains visual consistency and validates functionality, improving brand identity.
🧠 Manual and automated UI testing methods correspond to different needs, based on factors like software complexity, timeline, and budget.
💡 GUI testing checks functionality of graphical elements, while UI testing covers overall user experience.
👥 UXtweak offers various tools for implementing UI testing.
🚀 UI testing enhances user satisfaction, adoption, and loyalty, impacting product success.
What is user interface testing?
User Interface testing (a.k.a. UI Testing) is a technique used to evaluate your software’s interface. It involves assessing not only the graphic and visual elements of your application, but also the interactions of the users with it, as well as the responsiveness of the system.
The goal of this kind of testing is to test whether the different interface components such as, for instance, CTAs, icons, or menu items are properly displayed and function as expected.
Why is user interface testing important?
A great user interface ensures a seamless user experience and is critical for the desirability and adoption of your product. UI can make or break your product, so conducting user interface testing regularly is of paramount importance.
Here is a list of advantages that you can gain by incorporating UI testing into your development process:
When deploying UI testing you have the chance to test whether the user interface adheres to tried and tested design guidelines. In this way, you can ensure that the visuals of your software are not only appealing, but also consistent.
Maintaining this visual consistency across the board will lead to a positive overall impression when it comes to your product’s brand identity.
User interface testing is the best path to validating the functionality of the interface and its components. By conducting rigorous UI testing, you can ensure that the different elements of your user interface function as intended at all times.
This can help you identify and resolve issues early on, preventing user frustration and promoting user satisfaction.
Spanning across testing for error handling and recovery scenarios, user interface testing is a comprehensive way to test how your software handles errors and exceptions. This practice ensures that error messaging is clear, and that the users can complete their tasks in an efficient and effective way.
Enhanced user experience
Your software user interface is inevitably the first layer of interaction with your users. By testing your UI, you can make sure that users have a great, intuitive experience while using the software.
UI testing will help you catch and fix interaction issues early on, thereby promoting the overall usability of your digital product.
Overall positive business impact
It goes without saying that a well-designed and thought-through user interface can make or break the success of your product. A usable and visually-appealing interface can improve user satisfaction, which results in increased user adoption and loyalty.
GUI vs UI testing
GUI testing and UI testing are two concepts that are related, however, they refer to different aspects when it comes to testing user interfaces. Here is how they differ.
On the one hand, GUI testing, which stands for graphical user interface, tests the functionality of the graphical elements of a software application. It essentially tests whether GUI elements, such as CTAs or menus, are not only displayed properly, but also functioning as expected.
UI testing, on the other hand, has a broader scope, and the focus is on testing the overall user experience of an application, including graphical but also non-graphical elements of the software.
It can take the form of a usability test, compatibility, or functional testing. In a nutshell, it can help you validate if your software meets the user’s needs in the context of the different scenarios that the application is intended to.
It encompasses, but is not limited to GUI testing.
Manual vs Automated user interface testing
Conducting user interface testing can be done manually, but also can be automated. Manual testing involves a human tester who interacts with the software and manually tests its functionality. In this case, the tester of the software needs to follow a script and detect errors, inconsistencies, and areas for improvement.
Manual user interface testing has a host of advantages, including a user-centric perspective, and it allows for early-stage testing.
Automated user interface testing, on the other hand, involves using automated testing tools to execute different UI test scenarios. Those tools can simulate user interactions, and they allow for high accuracy and scalability.
Choosing between Manual and Automated UI testing
In real-case scenarios, it is more likely that you will use a combination of both manual and automated UI testing.
As a general rule of thumb, manual testing is ad hoc and often exploratory in nature, whereas automated UI testing can be leveraged to improve performance through rigorous, repeated testing.
Choosing between manual and automated user interface testing can be tricky, but you can make a decision based on the below factors:
The complexity of your software
If your software or application has a relatively simple interface without complex functionalities then manual testing can be a great way to test it. When it comes to more complex applications with many features and workflows, then you should opt for automated UI testing.
This is particularly important if there are frequent updates that need to be tested thoroughly.
The timeline of the project
If you are looking for a short turnaround when it comes to UI testing, conducting an automated test might be your best route. This is because automated UI testing is often relatively quick to set up, especially with the right testing tools at hand. Manual testing, however, requires more preparation, not to mention you need to agree on the time and place to perform it.
The main advantage of automated testing is that it can be conducted quickly, from anywhere in the world, and can provide you with a wider range of participants.
The budget and resources constraints
Budget and resource constraints can also be a deciding factor. A good idea is to know your available resources and decide on your testing approach based on those.
Many modern online testing tools offer free plans you can start with, of provide budget-friendly subscription options, like UXtweak. Manual testing can also be conducted on a budget, however, keep in mind, that for it you will need a professional moderator and a testing environment.
Techniques for User Interface testing
1.) Exploratory UI testing
Exploratory user interface testing is a method where the tester interacts with the application in a more spontaneous manner without a script to follow. Testers explore the software by navigating through the different screens without following a test case.
The nature of this approach allows testers to replicate the real-world user interaction and test the application in a more intuitive way.
2.) Scripted testing
Scripted testing involves testers who navigate the interface by following predefined test scripts based on different use case scenarios. It is also worth mentioning that the script clearly outlines the inputs, actions, as well as expected results. This type of testing allows for reliability and consistency.
3.) User Experience Testing
User experience testing focuses on ensuring that the overall user experience of the software is up to standard. This approach involves gathering feedback by observing how real users interact with the interface of your application.
UXtweak alone offers a range of different testing tools, such as a website testing tool, a mobile testing tool, and a prototype testing tool that you can leverage to engage with different testing methodologies and gather user feedback on your UI.
User Interface testing best practices
User interface testing is critical for the creation of a highly-usable product.
Here are some of the golden rules of UI testing:
Define your testing objectives
As with every project, defining the objectives of your testing is crucial for its success. Having a clear goal will ensure that your testing is focused on the aspects that you are interested in enhancing.
Test on different devices and browsers
Testing your software on different devices and browsers is another great best practice when it comes to user interface testing. The testing should be very comprehensive and include different operating systems, screen sizes, and even browsers as the application might be rendered slightly differently based on these criteria.
Use automation wisely
Another smart practice when it comes to UI testing is to use automation wisely. Know when to use automation to avoid spending time and resources on repetitive and time-consuming tasks. However, also make sure you complement this with some manual intuitive testing to get a more rounded idea of the look and feel of your application.
Documenting your testing either by completing the testing scripts or by recording your manual testing is a great way to efficiently and effectively keep track of the bugs and inconsistencies that come up during the testing. By creating documentation for your testing, you can also make sure you have a reliable reference point for you and your team.
Checklist for UI Testing
If you are keen to get started on your user interface testing, this comprehensive checklist can act as a great starting point to begin formalising your user interface testing process.
- Ensure that the UI of your software is visually appealing and that it adheres to tried and tested UI design rules and branding guidelines
- Check for intuitive navigation and interactions
- Make certain that your design components function as expected and don’t forget your edge cases
- Test the accessibility of your user interface
- Verify that your application is responsive and compatible with all types of devices
- Test for error handling and input validation
- Last but not least, assess the overall user experience
To wrap this up
User interface testing is critical in ensuring a great user experience. It involves testing both the graphical and interactive components of your software application. Adopting this testing approach will help you ensure visual consistency while validating functionality, and hence can lead to an overall greater user experience.
UXtweak is a comprehensive testing platform that offers a wide range of tools to put your testing process into practice. Use this article as your guide to UI testing, register for your UXtweak account and evaluate your product’s UI with ease!