When is Test Automation Not Desirable?

Automation tests can reduce workload and testing time. However, there are instances wherein manual testing may be more appropriate to test the project’s components accurately.

So, how do we know when is test automation not desirable?

This post will guide you on when you should not consider automation testing. But before we go into details, let us first compare manual and automation testing.

Manual Testing vs. Automation Testing Process

The key difference between manual and automated testing is who runs the test case. A human tester performs manual testing. On the other hand, the tool performs it in automation testing.

Other differences between manual testing and automation testing are as follows:

Manual Testing Automation Testing
Manual execution of test cases. Tools are used to carry out test scenarios.
It is less expensive. It is more costly.
It takes time for some test cases. Cases are executed faster because machines conduct them.
Because it involves human intervention, it is advantageous to test the application’s accessibility. It applies automated testing tools that make it challenging to test usability or accessibility.
Testing the program on different operating systems and browsers may be challenging. It is easy to test the application on various browsers and operating systems.
It is often difficult to execute all of the test cases, which influences test coverage. It is easier to achieve the test coverage goal with automation testing.
Because it involves human intervention, you must monitor and run test cases independently. You only need to run automation scripts.
You must create your own reports during this testing. The automated testing tool will generate a report on test case execution here.

When Should You Not Use Automated Testing?

Source: hexaware.com

While automated testing has evolved significantly in its capacity to handle complicated testing, manual testing is often required. Here are some scenarios when you should not consider automation testing.

  • Tests that only need to be run once
  • Tests that require human judgment to be validated
  • Test that takes longer to automate than to execute manually
  • Testing areas of application that change often
  • Test cases that are run ad hoc
  • A new test that has not been manually executed

Some of the testing types that are not suitable for automation testing are the following:

Exploratory testing

Since users navigate software or apps unpredictably and without logical patterns, structured exploratory testing can help discover bugs and issues missed by developers and automated scripts. This type of testing requires a skilled tester because the requirement specification is not very detailed. This testing type needs a tester’s skills and knowledge to run the test cases.  Expert manual testers can also navigate software unexpectedly to cut through the noise and find high-priority defects.

Usability testing

While automation can test components, it cannot assess the overall program experience. When testing for usability, the tester must think like an end user and assess the application’s usefulness. Since an automated testing tool cannot think like a human being, it is more efficient to conduct manual testing. Manual testing can assist in identifying software flaws or friction points outside the code base. Customer experience evaluation is not the ideal option for automation. Humans must analyze emotional responses, intuitive experiences, and innovative features.

Ad hoc testing

Automated testing is not suggested for ad hoc or random testing based on domain or subject matter expertise. These types of tests produce unpredictable outcomes. Automation validation must generate predictable results to produce a pass/fail condition.

Localization testing

Language and culture barrier is also a factor in software testing. If your program crosses boundaries, things can be lost in translation. Users may only accurately utilize your app if it is compatible with their culture, language, or device.

Localization testing searches for problems in the design, language, and user interface and can only be performed by manual testers in different places.

Advantages of Manual Tests Over Automated Tests

Source: binmile.com

Here are some of the pros of manual testing to further help you assess whether a manual test is preferable to an automated test.

More flexibility

Manual testing enables the tester to manually explore the application and create new test cases on the fly, which automated testing does not allow.

More accuracy

An automated test may not detect issues that require judgment and user experience. Hence, a manual test may be more appropriate for specific scenarios to get accurate results.


Automated testing demands a substantial investment in tools and resources, which may only be appropriate for some testing types. In some instances, manual testing may be a more cost-effective choice.


Manual testing is just as vital as automated testing. There are several sorts of testing for which the automation tool cannot assist us, and we must resort to manual testing. The restriction of any machine or software is that it can only accomplish what it is requested to do. You can choose between these two depending on your project needs. Automated and manual testing can be concurrently used to ensure that your product is of excellent quality, works smoothly, and is delivered on time.