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Web Application Testing: Guide to Manual Testing

Tina Vo

A passionate QA with extensive experience in the field of Software Testing, certified with MBA, ECBA and Scrum Master. Love to share knowledge and discuss Software Testing.

Published on

April 9, 2021
Web Application Testing: Guide to Manual Testing

With today's explosion of web app development, web application testing is essential to ensure that applications work as intended. In the testing phase, manual testing plays a fundamental process in discovering any issues early before automation testing is established.

Many people believe that manual testing is easy—and it's true. But for it to be easy, you need to prepare specific knowledge, tools, and skills. This will help you go far with your testing processes and improve your testing techniques.

This article will walk you through what you need to possess to get started with manual web app testing.

Testing concepts & product knowledge

Ideally, people should learn all testing concepts before getting started with web application testing. However, it's overwhelming, time-consuming for a beginner, and not everything is relevant. We highly recommend learning the essential topics: development methodologies (Waterfall vs. Agile), Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC), and bug life cycle. Later on, you can regularly revisit while testing to digest other concepts and apply them to your current testing project.

There are many resources you can learn such knowledge from. You can enroll in a testing course in school or online—whatever makes you feel comfortable and achieve a certificate as a reward. Online tutorials and videos are also good resources for your self-learning. Don't be afraid to attend a testing webinar or register for a testing conference where you will learn from specialists and professionals.

Besides testing knowledge, you also need to understand what kind of web applications you are testing. Is it E-commerce, E-learning, or an internal website? Each web application will have different approaches. It will help you understand business concepts and an outlook for the testing strategy to prioritize the most critical features. On top of that, learning domain knowledge (such as Banking, Insurance, or Content Management) will help you better understand the purpose of web applications. Not to mention helping you effectively perform testing from an end users' perspective.

Web application testing tools

The second part of your testing journey is to equip yourself with common tools that are very useful for your testing activities.

Have your test cases ready

Test cases are the foundation for the test execution and automation in the later stage. You should be familiar with test case management tools such as Testrail, Xray, and Zephyr. These tools will help you manage your test cases when they keep growing and also create the testing report with ease.

To learn more about test cases, check out this list of example test cases in this website testing checklist.

Start executing tests

Once you have the test cases ready, you need to know how to execute the tests. Commonly, a web application supports multiple browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) and platforms (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, etc.). If you don't have access to multiple devices, cloud services can be a simple solution. Learn how to use some cloud services that provide the ability to perform such tests efficiently. Some cloud services you could use are BrowserStack or SmartBeer.

The primary purpose of testing is to find defects of the web apps and report them to developers so that you can fix them. Writing a good bug report is an art in itself. A good bug report consists of essential details that provide developers with enough information to reproduce and find out why a problem happened. To do this, you'd need to piece and combine all information in one place. Some essential details you need to include in a bug report are:

  • Summary
  • Description
  • Browsers
  • Platform
  • Console log
  • Screenshot or video of the issue, and more

Keep track and communicate issues

Finally, once you've reported all issues you've found, use bug tracking tools to help you keep track and communicate with your team. Many cloud services provide a way to manage bugs such as Jira, Trello, Linear, or GitHub.

Fun fact: Bug reporters using Bird Eats Bug notice a significant decrease of unnecessary back-and-forth with developers, saving up to 2-4 hours/day.

Essential skills for web application testing

There are highlight skills that a manual tester needs to possess to be successful. When testing, it is essential for you to pay attention to details and observe all strange behaviors that could break the system.

Besides, critical thinking will help you proactively seek information and investigate the root cause of an issue. Critical thinking from users' views can also help you to prioritize issues effectively. More importantly, communication is an important skill to help you communicate to various stakeholders.

Communicating with technical stakeholders (e.g., developers)

You need to provide technical details for developers to fix bugs faster, but you might not be familiar with technical terms. A tool like Bird Eats Bird can cover your bases. It auto-includes console logs, network requests, and general info (browser/OS, etc.) in each report.

Communicating with non-technical stakeholders (e.g., product owners/managers)

You are more likely to spend time explaining the issue by typing a lot of descriptions. A tool like Bird Eats Bug also offers microphone and video recording features to provide more contexts and details without typing.

GIF showcasing the mic and camera recording used to explain actions as user record and save time on typing description.

Wrapping it up

Testing is important, and it does require skill to be good at it—but it's not all that complicated. If you are passionate about maintaining product quality, stick to this guide—it should go a long way in finding any bugs and errors and enable your developers to debug more quickly.

Over a century ago, Emmert Wolf wrote that "a man is only as good as his tools," and the world of manual testing is certainly no exception to this. The right tools can spare you a lot of repetitive work and save hours of your day when reporting bugs.

Bonus tip: bug reporting with Bird Eats Bug

Image of a session recording created using bird eats bug

Bird Eats Bug is an easy-to-use tool to help report and fix bugs faster. Creating the perfect bug report is as easy as recording your screen and letting Bird auto-capture relevant technical data. You can then push issues directly to Jira, Trello, Github and more or share the link with your developers. View session example here.

To learn more about bug reports, read our guide to bug reporting, complete with examples and templates.

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