UI/UX Testing: Why It’s Important for Your Project

Igor - QA Team Lead by Igor - QA Team Lead
Created: 01/23/2020 | Updated: 06/19/2023

UI/UX Testing: Why It’s Important for Your Project

This article was born out of an active discussion that sparked during one of our retrospective meetings. Our team was discussing the issues that our clients often bring up during calls: what is the most important type of testing today? Which testing activities require particular attention from human testers: functionality, security, or perhaps UI testing? In other words — which tests can’t be skipped and must be done by an attentive testing specialist?

Many experts focus on more or less similar tests, only adapting the definitions in accordance with the respective target audience. In this article, we won’t name all the testing types once again, but we’ll talk about the most important one — UI/UX testing.

So, What Is UI Testing?

User interface (UI) testing is a type of testing in which testers need to make sure that all buttons, fields, labels, and other items on the screen work as specified. UI testing involves checking screens with controls, such as toolbars, colors, fonts, sizes, buttons, icons, etc., and how they respond to the user input. Simply put, with the help of UI testing software, we see how an application, website, or software will interact with the end-user.

What exactly are we looking for with UI tests?

UI testing is a rather broad term that includes a variety of visual elements used in the interface of a software product. Essentially, User Interface testing checks how the product under testing performs for a real user based on the following criteria:

  • Ease of use
  • Consistency and logic
  • Accessibility
  • Compatibility

In order to achieve effective results during UI testing, the tester must answer at least two important questions: 

  1. Are all features of the tested software clear and easy to use?
  2. Can a user navigate through the app without experiencing system errors or malfunctions?

There’s also a bonus question: 

  1.   Will the interface guide users towards making the right decisions?

Usually, User Interface testing is applied to end products, but I suggest making it an integral part of testing throughout the entire product development process.

“Small changes made at any stage of the development can have a disproportionately big impact on the UI.”

So, it is important to configure the user interface in accordance with these changes and provide feedback that is received during the sessions with UI testing tools. This also should be reflected in the test cases written for all future UI tests.

It turns out that even a minor issue such as lack of a button or a typing error can lead to a huge problem in the overall design. It goes without saying that it is much cheaper to fix UI bugs at the development stage. But unfortunately, bugs are sometimes missed, so companies have to deal with fixing them after the product is released, which is, unsurprisingly, very costly.

Why is it so important to perform UI testing?

The development team can spend a lot of time creating a product with powerful features, but if there are any problems with using the interface, that is all the users will remember. 

In other words, if there is anything that makes it difficult for a user to work with your app, even the best and most unique functionality won’t save you from negative feedback. So, in order to provide the best user experience possible, never forget about UI testing types.

UI_UX Testing

Manual vs. automated approaches to UI/UX tests

One of the approaches to UI tests is manual software testing. This implies the presence of a human tester that will perform a set of operations manually to ensure that the app is working correctly and that the graphical screens meet all the requirements. 

If you want to ensure the speed and quality of UI testing process, it is recommended to use automation UI UX testing tools that have been specially developed for this purpose:

  • Watir
  • Sahi
  • Sikuli
  • AutoIT
  • TestComplete
  • Testomato

Also, UI testing can be partially performed with the help of browser extensions, such as Visbug, What font, Web developer, Page Ruler, ColorZilla.

UI_UX Testing

Checklist for UI testing

As with any type of test cases, in order to ensure the smooth process of user interface examination, it is always better to have a UI testing checklist (which can be changed and adjusted to meet the product needs). But the basic parameters that are usually checked while performing UI software testing are as follows:

  • Type and font size
  • Colors
  • Icon styles
  • Visual inconsistencies
  • Required fields
  • Data type errors
  • The width of the fields
  • On-screen instructions
  • Progress indicators
  • Confirmation of action (save, change, delete)
  • Drop-down lists
  • Error messages
  • Shortcuts

What is UX Testing?

In short, UX testing is a process of testing various aspects of the user experience to determine the best way for a project and its elements to interact with its audience. Why are UX tests so important? Let’s look at a real-world example:

Imagine that you own an online store, which is not that different from many other stores, and yet it offers something special — it has a unique design or some cool additional features, it is AI-enabled, or simply has a unique range of products. But here is where the problem starts: while working on your website, developers have made a mistake and as a result your navigation or buttons don’t work as intended. 

This means only one thing — your users have no chance to experience the unique features of your store, which obviously results in customer loss and negative feedback for your company. Moreover, your product imperfection may affect your business even after the issues have been resolved. Reputation damage tends to stick around. This is why you need UX testing.

User experience checking points

User experience UX testing deals with some of the most crucial components of a software application — the way real users interact with the product and whether the design of the application is able to increase the satisfaction and loyalty of the users. This is why UX testing always benefits from having a real human being performing QA. Here are the things you must pay attention to when performing UX tests:

  • navigation through the website (or application) must be easy;
  • the user must have access to information about the product;
  • the order placement process must be effortless;
  • the performance of the site (or app) must meet user requirements.

Automation & manual UX testing

Often, UX testing is done with the help of automation tools that allow understanding the user behavior better as well as predict his expectations about software products. The most popular ones include:

  • Automatic record of screen activities of the user sessions
  • Heat maps
  • User questionnaires to evaluate the product and understand what needs to be improved
  • Analysis of the competitors’ products

UX testing can also be performed manually. As the main criteria of the UX tests are “best practice” and “common sense”, this type of testing should be carried out by the specialists who have worked with similar products before. Relevant experience is required so the tester can understand the requirements for the UI elements – what is the right location of those elements, what color should they come in or how should they change when the users interact with them.

UI_UX Testing

When do we perform UX testing?

The necessity and the frequency of the UX tests performed usually depend on the goals the company is pursuing. For example, if the company adds some new features to its product – UX testing is a must. It is also highly recommended to regularly analyze client feedback with the help of automated tools.

What are the best tools to ensure a quality UX testing process?

While UI and UX design testing are two types of testing with the heaviest reliance on the human eye and touch, the right testing tools can make the testing process more all-encompassing and efficient, giving the team a clearer picture and producing more reliable results. Below is the list of UI/UX testing tools our team uses on a regular basis:

  • GTmetrix – creates a final report for the pages and offers various recommendations to resolve the issues.
  • Optimizely – allows defining the conditions under which the income grows, registration, downloads and content increases.
  • Crazy Egg – a heat map service that helps to understand how visitors interact with the website.
  • Zurb – helps to understand whether the users like your web design and what they remember after interacting with your site.
  • BrowserShots – a web service that allows making screenshots of your site in different operating systems and browsers.
  • UXPunk – often used to understand the best hierarchy of website content as well as the most important pages that should be visible on your site.

UX testing checklist

The checklist for testing UX of a software product should be created specifically for the product and only after careful exploration of its visual elements and the functionality they’re linked to. Still, there are certain things that are present in nearly every software product, which allows QA engineers to create universally applicable checklists that can be modified when needed. Here are some of the most important parameters you should check while performing UX tests:

  • Navigation – throughout the site, as well as through the sub-modules including several pages (for example, Blog)
  • Header
  • Footer
  • Buttons and Calls to actions – sizes, colors, and clickability
  • Links – colors, clickability and redirects
  • Carousels
  • Content (formatting).
  • Forms – size, content, friendliness and understandability
  • Messages (informative, about errors) – colors, understandability, and compliance.
  • Additional elements – such as Back to top button, Help, Calendly.
  • Mobile version (if any) – view in landscape/portrait mode.

Benefits of UI/UX Testing

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) testing definitely require a lot of time and effort to be done properly. However, even when you are looking to optimize your QA process, UI/UX testing should never be omitted because it brings many sizable benefits to the stakeholders. Here are some of them.

Higher quality of software

It’s that simple — a software product with a properly tested user interface and optimized user experience is miles ahead in terms of quality over its competitors without the same amount of testing. And the higher quality of software leads to a string of other positive outcomes for a new or established software product.

Better user engagement

Investigating the way users interact with a software product and finding out whether they are happy with the product in the first place builds a solid foundation for higher user satisfaction. The more users like the product and the more frequently they engage with it, the more likely they are to turn into loyal customers.

Fewer opportunities lost

If you have ever struggled with placing an order in an online store and then quit anyway because the site was riddled with bugs, then you understand how much of a negative impact the lack of UI/UX testing can have on a product. In other words, thorough testing helps you make sure that users don’t abandon your product and that you don’t miss out on revenue.

Strong competitive advantage

In a time when there are lots of players even in the smallest niches and industries, a business should use every advantage it can get. In many cases, a good, well-tested UI and UX can become that one competitive advantage you are looking for, especially when your closest competitors don’t seem to bother with this type of testing. As ubiquitous as UX testing may seem, only 55% of companies do it, which means you can get ahead of the game.

Optimized development cycle

Timely UI/UX testing helps you optimize your development process and release products faster. For example, when UX testing in the early stages of product development shows that users don’t particularly enjoy a feature you’re planning to add, scraping those plans saves your development team some valuable time and allows you to release the product sooner.

How to Perform UI/UX Testing

The process of UI/UX testing encompasses a wide range of activities and requires a well-thought-out approach with a lot of planning. However, the whole process can be broken down into just three steps. Here is how to do UI/UX testing.

1. Identify the areas you want to focus on

Both UI and UX design testing don’t always require the team to test the software product as a whole. A round of UI/UX testing can include just one or several elements that are crucial to the product’s success. The team needs to have a clear understanding of what they are about to test.

2. Plan and conduct the tests

Using checklists or other techniques to plan the testing process, the QA team needs to take their time to prepare for the actual testing. Then, when everything is ready, the team will run the tests, working according to plan and documenting the results.

3. Analyze the findings and make the changes

The final stage of testing UX and UI in a software product is collecting the discoveries, evaluating their effect on the solution overall, and working together with the development team and other project stakeholders to eliminate the issues and further increase the quality and user appeal of the product.

Final Thoughts

Both UI and UX testing are relatively new but rapidly developing types of testing. In fact, to be able to perform these tests, an extensive experience won’t cut it. You must also keep a close eye on design trends, learn how to use automation tools, and be able to carry out a detailed analysis of information constantly. UI and UX testing is not the cheapest service provided by the testing firm, and it is obvious that each business will choose services depending on its goals, capacities, and needs. 

But it should be kept in mind that no matter what your project is or what features it includes, the main criterion for its evaluation (aka — success) is an attractive and convenient UI that ensures a truly great experience for your users. As one study points out, every $1 invested in a good UX has a return of $100, so it’s definitely worth your time and effort.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to test UI?

User interface testing is the process of meticulously checking every button, link, banner, filter, action, and other elements of a software application to make sure that every element is working as intended and does not disrupt the user’s journey through the product.

What is UI testing?

UI, or user interface testing, is a software testing technique designed to evaluate all the features and elements of a software product that the end user will interact with. Specifically, UI testing involves testing the visual elements of an application and how they translate into functionality.

What is UX testing?

UX, or user experience testing, is a type of testing that has the main goal of checking how engaging the user experience offered by a software product is. This usually involves a real human being interacting with the application and locating all the weak points that can disrupt positive UX.

How to do user experience testing?

User experience testing is one of the types of testing that relies heavily on the human eye and does not always benefit from automation. To perform UX testing, a software testing engineer will use every feature and visual element of the software product both individually and in different combinations to investigate their effect on user experience.

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Posted by
Igor Kovalenko, Team Lead at TestFort

An experienced QA engineer with deep knowledge and broad technical background in the financial and banking sector. Igor started as a software tester, but his professionalism, dedication to personal growth, and great people skills quickly led him to become one of the best QA Team Leads in the company. In his free time, Igor enjoys reading psychological books, swimming, and ballroom dancing.

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