Visual Regression Testing Market Challenges and Opportunities

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In a previous post, XBOSoft was mentioned in another report on the Visual Regression Testing market. In that post, we discussed what visual regression testing is and why the market is growing. This time, we’ve been mentioned in two research reports on the Visual Regression Testing Market, so this blog post digs a little deeper in terms of the direction of the market and the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Obviously, the two primary elements of visual regression testing are object recognition and change detection. Recognizing objects has been one of the banes of existence for test automation as sometimes objects are not coded uniquely by developers (not thinking of test automate-ability) and therefore they need to be recognized visually. Of course, there are many workarounds, but the latest methods and software test automation tools use machine learning to recognize objects and learn how to differentiate them either on the fly or learning, updating a repository, and then more learning as time (and versions) progresses. Object recognition using machine learning is getting better but it’s nowhere near perfect. Sometimes it may start out at 70% accuracy and get up to 90% over time. Some vendors may make claims, but be careful to discern what objects (and their characteristics and context of usage) they are claiming to recognize and under what conditions.

Many tool vendors claim that they can generate test cases and test scripts automatically, therefore, relieving your regression testing requirements. Also think carefully what 100 percent coverage means in this context. One hundred percent coverage by means of clicking buttons and options that work or appear as they should. Is this clicking the same as a real user would use your software? How many of these test cases are useful?

Why the need or push for visual regression testing?

Test automation from the beginning has been seen as the ultimate solution to get rid of testers and replace them with machines. If you watch the trash collector in your neighborhood you may see that they don’t have to touch the trash at all. Instead, they have now become an equipment operator. But is operating the levers that control the arms that grab the trash bins and flip them over the same as test automation? No. The trash bins are all standard size and residents are trained to place them in the same direction against the curb. Test automation, on the other hand, does not have such standardization and has many problems dealing with speed, accuracy, reliability, and maintenance. To deal with these problems, many vendors are pushing their test automation tools that use artificial intelligence and machine learning. Hence, the visual regression testing market is booming for tool vendors, but be careful. They may tout their usage of AI, but be sure to ask questions related to:

  1. How does the AI learn your particular objects and software operations?
  2. How does the AI/ML improve over time and what if it doesn’t?
  3. How much and what kind of data/information is needed as an initial training set for the AI/ML?

Always keep in mind that it’s not the best technology, algorithm, or tool that wins. Rather, it’s the best usage of such. XBOSoft has been working in the test automation field for over 15 years now and has seen tools and methods come and go. If you’re looking for a partner with experience and expertise in working in just about any aspect of test automation starting from figuring out what tool is best for you, to implementing a flexible and scalable framework that can adapt to your needs as you grow, we’re only an email away. services@xbosoft.com