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Choosing a Test Automation Tool: A Complete Guide

December 15, 2021
Sharon ChuSharon Chu
Sharon Chu

Testing is one of the most critical processes in the software development cycle, serving as a bridge between the development teams and the production. Testing helps ensure that the final user experience is as smooth as was initially intended when the software was conceptualized. There are two kinds of testing – manual and automated. As technology advances, automated testing has become incredibly popular with the hoard of benefits it offers. Test automation automates software testing tasks, reducing the need for human intervention while improving speed and efficiency. QA professionals have a range of tools and frameworks available to help them carry out automated testing. These are called test automation tools.

What is a Test Automation Tool?

A test automation tool helps QA teams automate their testing processes, reducing the need for human intervention while improving the testing process' speed, reliability, and efficiency. There are test automation tools for different applications – smartphones, mobile devices, desktops, etc. Mobile test automation tools are intended to be used for testing Android and iOS applications. It would help the user define the testing tasks. It would then perform these tasks automatically for mobile application testing.

Why is test automation essential for today’s business?

The world is evolving rapidly, and if a business doesn’t keep up, it risks becoming obsolete and irrelevant. Manual tasks are being increasingly automated. Software development in modern times involves a significant level of automation, from source code analysis to testing and packaging to deploying. A good application would require thorough testing to ensure it is free of bugs and offers the right user experience. Manual testing can be slower and has a greater possibility of errors, and a better, more effective alternative to this is automated testing. Automated testing is a perfect fit for today’s continuous development lines. Test automation becomes necessary to keep up with the fast-moving environment, where multiple builds have to be rolled out in very tight deadlines. Manual testing would neither have the capacity nor accuracy to keep up. This makes it essential for businesses to embrace test automation as soon as possible if they haven’t already.

How to choose the right test automation tool for your needs?

Testing is no longer a step in the development cycle. With the development becoming increasingly continuous, testing has become more of a practice. Test automation is considered the best practice to achieve better coverage, improve efficiency, and boost the effectiveness of the development cycle. Once a business has decided to adopt automation, the next step is to identify the best mobile test automation tool to meet their needs. To make the right choice, one can follow the following steps:

Step 1: Define the requirement

Define the requirement at hand – what are you looking for in the automation tool, what is the project this tool would be used for, what is the project’s scope, what kind of testing would the tool be required to perform, etc.

Step 2: Chart out the skills of your team

Evaluate the testing and coding skills of the team that would be working with the test automation tools. Their strengths & weaknesses are essential considerations to make the right choice.

Step 3: Evaluate the available mobile test automation tools

Use the information captured in the previous two steps to evaluate the tools and shortlist the best fits for your requirements.

Step 4: Calculate the ROI for shortlisted tools

Understand how soon the team could learn the tool, their pricing, the customer support they offer, how the tool could fit into your existing processes, and the total cost of ownership. Choose a tool that works out best.

Step 5: Scale gradually

Take it one piece at a time instead of going all-in at one time – implement the tool in a small project first, see how it goes, and then scale up over time.

Common test automation tools

Some of the most commonly used mobile test automation tools are –


Appium is an open-source test automation tool that can be used for native, hybrid, and mobile web applications. You can use a wide range of dev tools to write your tests on Appium. It also supports all the popular programming languages.


Commonly used for web, mobile, & desktop applications, QTP (QuickTest Professional, fka Unified Functional Testing or UFT) offers functional & regression testing. It is also used for API testing.


Selenium is one of the most popular test automation tools in the market. It allows users to write scripts in various languages – from Java, C#, and Python to Perl and Ruby. It is also compatible with multiple OS and browsers. Selenium offers different editions for different requirements - there’s something for everyone.


TestComplete offers web, mobile, and desktop testing, popularly chosen by JavaScript, VBScript, Python, or C++Script users. It is the best fit for testing applications involving frequent UI changes.


Powered by machine learning, Testim lets users write, execute, and maintain automated tests while learning from every execution and improving the automated testing, providing better stability to test cases. It also detects minute changes in page elements and ensures that tests don’t fail.

Benefits of using automated testing software

Some of the top advantages of using automated testing software include:

  • Cost-saving for the organization.
  • Enables faster development and delivery.
  • Enhances the productivity of the team.
  • Improves test accuracy.
  • Delivers better app quality and performance.
  • Enables capturing real-time feedback.
  • Supports CI/CD and DevOps implementation.
Recommended Post: Automating Mobile Web Browsers with Appium

Challenges you might encounter when choosing an automation tool

Embracing testing automation isn’t always a smooth ride, and one could sometimes encounter hiccups along the way. However, with proper planning and implementation, these can be effectively overcome. Moreover, the benefits usually outweigh the challenges. Some common challenges encountered when choosing testing automation include:

  • Communication gaps in the team.
  • Difficulty in finding the right tool to fit the requirements.
  • Lack of skilled professionals who can work with the tool.
  • Difficulty in identifying the proper testing approach.
  • Relatively higher initial costs.

In a fast-moving world, slowing down could prove to be fatal for businesses. Test automation is critical to reduce feedback cycles and speed up the validation for the different phases in your product’s development cycle. Choosing the right test automation tool is thus essential to keep the development cycle moving along quickly & smoothly. It will reduce your business’ costs, improve test coverage, boost the time-to-market, and reduce the need for human intervention while bringing down the scope of bugs, making it to the final build. Weighing the pros and cons of different test automation tools and making the right, informed decision is essential, and once chosen, it could transform your products.


1. What are the different approaches used in test automation?


Code-driven Testing: In this testing, the focus is mainly on test case execution to determine whether the different sections of code are performing as per expectations. This testing is a popular method used in the development of agile.

Graphical User Interface (GUI) Testing: Applications that contain GUIs use this approach. Testers record user actions and analyze them. Test cases are written in programming languages like C#, Java, Perl, and Python.

Test Automation Framework: A framework is a set of guidelines used to produce beneficial results for automated testing. This framework combines function libraries, test data sources, object details, and other reusable modules.

2. What are the main metrics used to map the success of automation?

Ans: Defect detection ratio, automation execution time, and reduction in labor cost.

3. What are the scripting standards that need to be followed during automation testing?


  • Uniformity in the naming convention
  • Commenting on the functionality whenever and wherever necessary 
  • Adequate indentation
  • Robust error handling
  • Ability to recover easily

4. Is documentation necessary in test automation?

Ans: Yes. Documentation plays a crucial role in test automation. All the methods and procedures that testers use should be documented. Test specifications, designs, configurations, code changes, automation plans, test cases listed for automation, bug reports, and user manuals are documented during an automated test.

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Choosing a Test Automation Tool: A Complete Guide

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