How can you improve the validity of visual testing in software development?

The user interface represents the front end of every software development endeavor and is the primary aspect users evaluate to assess the software's usability. Human perception relies significantly on vision.

When appraising anything, the visual presentation takes precedence. Therefore, visual irregularities greatly contribute to dissuading users from using applications, underscoring the necessity for comprehensive visual testing across all applications before their deployment.

What is Visual testing?

Visual testing is a fundamental method in software testing that concentrates on evaluating the appearance and functionality of an application's graphical user interface (GUI or UI). Its primary objective is to ascertain whether the software aligns with the client's specifications concerning both aesthetics and operational aspects. Given that an application's quality is frequently judged by its visual appeal, conducting thorough visual testing is imperative for its success.

Visual testing can be executed manually or through automated tools. Manual visual testing involves a human tester examining the UI to ensure it appears and operates as intended. While effective in discovering issues that automated tools might overlook, this approach can be time-consuming and susceptible to errors.

On the other hand, automated visual testing offers swifter and more precise evaluations by utilizing software tools that replicate human vision to scrutinize an application's UI. These tools capture UI screenshots and compare them against expected UI images to pinpoint any discrepancies. Consequently, automated visual testing tools swiftly detect visual irregularities, confirming the application's UI accuracy.

Conducting visual testing substantially enhances an application's UI quality, thereby potentially elevating user satisfaction and overall software excellence.

Manual Testing vs Visual Test Automation

Visual regression testing aims to detect any flaws in the visual layout of the user interface. Initially, manual visual inspection seems straightforward: a developer examines each page meticulously to pinpoint visual issues. However, as projects grow in scope and complexity, conducting such tests manually becomes increasingly impractical.

Visual test automation offers a superior alternative. Automation significantly enhances project timelines and refines software development deliverables, serving as a pivotal practice in the industry. Compared to the labor-intensive, error-prone nature of manual testing, visual test automation boasts several advantages:

  • Enhanced defect detection capability.
  • Reduced complexity in testing, offering a user-friendly and easily implementable solution.
  • Increased testing frequency, ensuring high-quality releases consistently.
  • Ability to identify non-deterministic defects that might elude detection in purely manual testing.
  • To ascertain why visual test automation surpasses manual testing, consider three critical factors: time, efficiency, and effectiveness.

The manual effort required for such a task would take weeks and necessitate a sizable team of test engineers. Even under the best conditions, this testing method would be sluggish and prone to human errors. Moreover, rework and subsequent retesting would further impede the process, causing substantial delays.

Despite allocating extended durations for testing, timelines would inevitably falter due to errors, organizational challenges, and rework, highlighting that manual testing, in such scenarios, is time-consuming, inefficient, and error-prone.

Executing Visual Testing

For accurate and effective visual examinations, a structured approach is essential. Here's a detailed procedure for performing visual testing:

  • Identification of UI elements: Commence by pinpointing the specific UI elements to undergo testing. This includes buttons, icons, fonts, images, colors, and other visual components integral to the UI.
  • Determination of expected behavior: Once the targeted UI elements are identified, define their anticipated behavior. This encompasses their appearance, functioning, and interactions with other elements within the UI.
  • Development of test cases: Following the establishment of expected behavior, craft comprehensive test cases. These test cases should encompass various scenarios and interactions to ensure thorough coverage during testing.
  • Execution of tests: Subsequently, initiate the testing phase. This can be carried out manually by a tester or automated via visual testing tools. During testing, snapshots are taken and compared between anticipated and actual images to spot any disparities.
  • Evaluation of outcomes: Upon completing the tests, meticulously analyze the results to ascertain their pass/fail status. Any variances between the expected and observed images necessitate investigation to determine their cause and discern whether they signify a defect or represent a false positive.
  • Iteration of tests: Lastly, routinely repeat the tests to ensure the uniformity and functionality of the UI across diverse platforms and devices.

In summary, the process of visual testing encompasses the identification of test-worthy UI elements, defining their intended behavior, developing exhaustive test cases, conducting tests, evaluating results, and frequently iterating tests. Adhering to these steps can bolster comprehensive testing and augment the overall quality of the software application.

Strategies to Enhance Visual Coverage

Below are five effective strategies to expand your visual coverage.

Utilizing Visual Testing Tools

Visual testing tools streamline the examination of graphic layouts. To assist in your selection process, here's a compilation of effective tools providing robust visual layout testing capabilities:

  • Selenium: Known for its versatility across various browsers, Selenium serves as a visual regression testing tool, simplifying web and GUI testing and offering a Firefox extension for recording, editing, and debugging.
  • LambdaTest: LambdaTest is a cloud-based testing platform that offers a visual regression testing feature, enabling easy identification of discrepancies between two image layouts.

LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform renowned for its efficient visual testing capabilities, swiftly identifying visual UI regression bugs. This platform enables sharp image-to-image comparisons, swiftly pinpointing discrepancies across diverse visual elements like text, layout, color, size, and element placement.

Through its image-to-image comparison technology, testers can effortlessly spot even the minutest visual bugs by uploading screenshots of the baseline and comparison images, with the AI engine managing the rest.

  • Katalon: Katalon Platform serves as an All-In-One quality management solution, leveraging Appium and Selenium to conduct both functional and visual testing within a unified platform. Offering AI-powered features, it identifies vital UI elements and dynamic areas within applications, ensuring accurate comparisons.
  • Kobiton: Kobiton specializes in mobile testing, providing a user-friendly visual testing solution. Its AI engine captures metadata from test runs, analyzing and comparing data across multiple devices to identify layout, structure, and color discrepancies.
  • Applitools: Applitools revolutionized the visual testing landscape with cutting-edge scanning technology. Its flagship offering, Applitools Eyes, powered by AI-driven computer vision algorithms, efficiently detects visual and functional regressions.
  • AyeSpy: AyeSpy is an open-source tool integrating with Selenium Grid for distributed testing across various environments, focusing on parallel testing scenarios to reduce effort and time.

Decoupled Testing Across Business Levels

By assigning distinct roles for integration, system, acceptance, and unit tests within separate automated pipelines, businesses can ensure seamless business validation pre-release. This integrated approach becomes part of the CI/CD workflow.

Emphasize Quality

Consistently share pertinent content across diverse social media platforms. Engaging, unique visual content can enhance conversion rates and foster dedicated followers, effectively communicating your business message.

Visual Comparison Testing in the Cloud

Fixing visual inconsistencies swiftly, precisely, and comprehensively is vital to redirecting users to their intended paths. Cloud-based visual testing stands out for its speed, affordability, and comprehensive coverage. It offers a real-world testing environment akin to production setups, facilitating bug identification quickly by selecting the desired devices for testing.

LambdaTest's cloud-based Smart UI (or visual regression) testing provides an array of advanced features that elevate the visual testing experience. Customizable parameters such as largeImageThreshold, error type, ignore, and transparency offer precise control over testing procedures. Utilizing Webhooks adds layer of sophistication to your testing approach, enabling comprehensive insights into the process.

Diversify Visual Content

Incorporate videos and infographics beyond images on social media. Videos effectively illustrate scenarios and portray products, adding credibility and engaging audiences. Infographics, too, hold substantial appeal, conveying detailed information swiftly and comprehensively, significantly boosting client engagement when used effectively.

In conclusion, employing diverse visual content, leveraging advanced visual testing tools, emphasizing quality, and deploying cloud-based testing can significantly enhance visual coverage and engagement across various platforms and campaigns.

Advantages of Visual Testing

Visual testing offers numerous benefits that make it an integral part of a comprehensive software testing strategy. Some key advantages of visual testing include:

  • Early detection of visual defects: Visual testing aids in the early identification of UI issues during the software development lifecycle. Detecting and resolving such issues in the initial stages can save valuable time and resources for developers.
  • Enhanced user satisfaction: By ensuring the UI aligns with design specifications and is aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly, visual testing contributes to improved user satisfaction and higher adoption rates.
  • Efficiency gains: Automated visual testing solutions outpace manual testing in speed and accuracy, reducing the time and effort required for testing. This efficiency helps expedite the software development process and bolsters overall efficiency.
  • Integration with continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD): Integrated automated visual testing provides continual feedback on UI usability, aiding in the early detection and rectification of errors, thus enhancing software quality.
  • Facilitates collaboration: Visual testing promotes better collaboration among development, testing, and design teams. It allows these teams to work together by providing visual feedback to refine the UI design and usability.

Overall, visual testing significantly enhances software quality and user satisfaction by identifying UI errors early, refining UI aesthetics and usability, and supporting continuous integration and delivery.

Disadvantages of Visual Testing

Despite its advantages, visual testing comes with limitations and drawbacks that warrant consideration when utilizing it as a testing technique. Some notable disadvantages of visual testing include the following:

  • Challenges with dynamic UI testing: Visual testing becomes intricate when dealing with dynamic UI elements that change based on user input or other factors, demanding more resources and increasing testing time and costs.
  • Limited scope: Visual testing primarily focuses on UI appearance and consistency, overlooking functionality and backend components crucial for overall application performance.
  • Sensitivity to minor changes: Minor alterations in UI elements, such as font size or color, can cause false positives or negatives in test results, necessitating additional efforts to maintain test accuracy.
  • Dependence on human judgment: Manual visual testing relies on testers' subjective judgment, leading to inconsistencies and potential errors that impact the accuracy of test outcomes.
  • Ineffectiveness for accessibility testing: Visual testing lacks effectiveness in assessing accessibility features vital for users with disabilities, such as screen readers or keyboard navigation.

While visual testing offers advantages, its limitations, including challenges in dynamic UI testing, limited scope, sensitivity to minor changes, dependence on human judgment, and ineffectiveness in accessibility testing, suggest the need for combining it with other testing methods for comprehensive software application testing.


Visual testing stands as a crucial technique for enhancing software application quality and improving user experiences. By integrating visual testing into the software development process, it guarantees that the user interface functions and appears as envisioned, meeting user expectations.

Our comprehensive range of quality assurance (QA) services is designed to assist clients in verifying their software applications' functionality. Our adept QA team specializes in various testing methods, encompassing visual testing, functional testing, performance testing, and beyond.

Also Read: