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When Digital Automation Doesn’t Make Sense

As the tech world continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, digital automation, including automation testing, has become a vital part of modern systems, driving efficiency and accuracy. In fact, according to Forbes, automation is crucial for handling repetitive tasks, allowing human testers to focus on more complex aspects of a system. However, the same source also reminds us that, in certain scenarios, automation testing might not be the best choice. 

To explore this balance further and to provide actionable insights for software testing services, we will delve into the intricacies of digital automation and automation testing, highlighting specific scenarios where an automation testing approach may not be optimal.

Understanding Digital Automation and Automation Testing

Digital process automation is a sophisticated process that leverages technology to automate repetitive tasks, improving efficiency and reducing human error. This technology ranges from simple scripts to complex machine learning and AI systems. On the other hand, automation testing, a subset of digital automation, involves using automated tools and scripts to execute test cases, evaluate results, and provide test reports.


Automation testing offers several benefits, including speed, accuracy, and the capacity to handle complex tasks. However, there are common misconceptions about automation testing. One such misconception is that automation will eventually replace manual testing. While automation increases efficiency, certain testing scenarios require human intelligence, creativity, and intuition that cannot be replicated by an automation tool.

Scenarios Where Automation Testing May Not Make Sense

1. Small-scale Projects

For small-scale projects or applications with simple functionalities, automation testing might not be cost-effective or necessary. The cost and effort of setting up an automation testing suite could outweigh the benefits, especially if the application undergoes a few changes over time. For instance, a small-scale internal tool with a stable user base might not require the robustness of automation testing.

2. Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing is a type of testing where the tester actively controls the design of the tests as those tests are performed and use information gained while testing to design new and better tests. Exploratory testing thrives on human creativity and intuition, something that automation tools cannot emulate. Hence, automation is not suitable for exploratory testing.

3. Usability Testing

Usability testing assesses how user-friendly an application is by testing it with real users. It involves assessing how users feel about a system, what they understand, what they don’t, and how they interact with it. Given its subjective nature and the need for human observation and interpretation, automation is not suitable for usability testing.

4. Highly Dynamic Applications

Automated testing can struggle with applications that are constantly changing or being updated. The effort to continuously update test scripts may negate the benefits of automation. For instance, a website undergoing rapid design changes might be better served by manual testing.

The Balance Between Automation and Manual Testing

Striking a balance between automation and manual testing hinges on a variety of factors, such as project size, complexity, lifespan, budget, and the expertise of the testing team. Larger, more complex, and long-term projects typically benefit from automation due to its efficiency and repeatability, while smaller, simpler, and short-term projects may be more suited to manual testing. Budget constraints also factor in, with automation requiring a significant upfront investment despite its long-term cost-effectiveness, making manual testing a more viable option for tighter budgets. The skills and experience of the team also play a crucial role in determining which method to prioritize.

A practical testing strategy often incorporates both approaches, using automation for regression testing and other repetitive tasks to speed up the process and reduce errors while reserving manual testing for exploratory, usability, and ad-hoc testing where human insight and judgment are critical. This blend ensures that each approach is used where it can bring the most value, leading to efficient and comprehensive testing.

When it comes to manual testing, outsourcing manual testing can be a strategic move for organizations, offering cost-effectiveness, enhanced efficiency, and superior quality. With the high cost of forming and maintaining an in-house testing team, outsourcing provides access to expert testers at a reduced cost, offering scalability based on project needs. These external teams often deliver faster, more precise results due to their specialized expertise and experience, leading to more streamlined testing processes. Furthermore, their fresh perspective and vested interest in maintaining their reputation often result in uncovering overlooked issues, thereby improving software quality, risk management, and overall product success.


While automation testing offers numerous benefits, it’s not always the ideal solution. Small-scale projects, exploratory testing, usability testing, and highly dynamic applications often require the human touch. It’s crucial to understand that automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution and requires strategic choices for optimal efficiency. By striking a balance between automation and manual testing, organizations can leverage the best of both worlds to deliver high-quality software.

To navigate the complexities of digital automation and find the right balance between automation and manual testing, consider our expert software testing services. Contact us today for more information!

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