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The Must-Know Selenium Best Practices for Successful Test Automation

The Must-Know Selenium Best Practices for Successful Test Automation

Over the years, Selenium test automation has become an integral part of quality assurance. Despite its immense popularity, many might have faced various difficulties in the form of flaky and unstable tests. But does that imply that the issue is with Selenium? Being a leading test automation services provider, we have no second thoughts in its capacity and can firmly say that everybody can get the best out of it if they follow the best practices. Though there are no specific rules for creating your Selenium test automation scripts, these Selenium best practices will definitely act as effective guidelines. So in this blog, we have listed the Selenium best practices that one can follow to enhance the efficiency of their Selenium Test Automation.

Know Which Tests Should Be Automated

It is a well-known fact that 100% automation isn’t possible. So trying to automate every single scenario or automating every scenario that can be automated is not the best approach. So before you kickstart your automated browser testing, make sure you are clear of what tests have to be automated. When it comes to automation, always keep in mind that just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do it.

So start off by designing effective test cases before you start working on automation. Apart from that, analyzing if automating a scenario will result in the reduction of repetitive and tedious tasks is also crucial. So if you automate a test case that doesn’t have much frequency of occurrence, then spending that much time and effort on automating the test case is not validated. So as a first step, look for static test cases that have predictable outputs.

Choose the Best Locators

Since Selenium has a wide range of web locators available, choosing the best locators can impact the quality of your Selenium test automation. Some of the most often used web locators in Selenium WebDriver are

  • ID
  • Class
  • tagName
  • Name
  • Link text
  • XPath
  • CSS Selector
  • DOM Locator, and so on.

It’s important to pick the proper one as it will reduce the impact of user interface changes during testing. For example, if there is a dynamic scenario, link text will generally be preferable. But if you are looking for web locators that are less brittle, ID, Class, or Name would be the way to go even though it isn’t that user-friendly.
To learn more about the many ways to locate web elements and to know which locators are most suited for specific scenarios, read our blog about the different XPath methods in Selenium.

Utilize time-efficient approaches

It is not always about getting the script to work as your test scripts should also be efficient when executed. What might feel like just a few seconds will definitely have huge impacts when you have to execute the tests numerous times in different combinations. That is why we have incorporated the following Selenium best practices that will help you save loads of time.

Use Selenium Wait Commands Instead of Thread.sleep()

Various factors like network slowness or server issues can cause your web application to take additional time to load. So your automation scripts should be able to wait for all the elements to load before starting the test execution.

The Thread.sleep() method can be used for this purpose as it can pause your script for a specific amount of time.

Sleep

Sleep() waits for the number of seconds supplied in the brackets, regardless of whether the working page is ready.

There is a major flaw with this function as the script will wait for a fixed time for every scenario irrespective of the need. For example, let’s assume that you have set the sleep time to be 6 seconds. But what if the webpage that has to be tested loads in just 3 seconds? Or what if the webpage took 7 seconds to load? You will either be wasting time or getting inaccurate results because of this approach. But you can prevent such issues by utilizing implicit or explicit waits.

Wait

Explicit: The code execution is halted until a certain condition is satisfied.

Packages to import to use the Explicit wait

import org.openqa.selenium.support.ui.ExpectedConditions
import org.openqa.selenium.support.ui.WebDriverWait

Code to initialize a Wait Object using WebDriverWait Class

WebDriverWait wait = new WebDriverWait(driver,10);

Here WebDriverWait is the class, and new is the reference variable. It will either for the defined amount or for the expected condition to be fulfilled. This is just a sample and you can use the same concept with the other available expected conditions. Though there are various options, we have listed a few below,

  • visibilityOf()
  • alertIsPresent()
  • titleContains()
  • textToBePresentInElement()
  • invisibilityOfTheElementLocated()
  • elementSelectionStateToBe()
  • elementToBeClickable()
  • presenceOfAllElementsLocatedBy()
  • frameToBeAvaliableAndSwitchToIt()

Example:

wait.until(ExpectedConditions.visibilityOfElementLocated(By.xpath("//div[contains(text(),CODOID)]")));

By now you would have understood why we have included the usage of the wait commands in our list of Selenium best practices. Beyond the explicit wait, there are also implicit and fluent wait commands that give you more options. So let’s explore them now.

Implicit: The WebDriver is advised to keep polling the DOM until the element search is complete. By default, the time is set to 0.

Syntax

driver.manage().timeouts().implicitlyWait(10, TimeUnit.SECONDS);

Fluent: It waits for a specified maximum amount of time for a specific condition. What makes it different is that it will validate the element at regular intervals before throwing “ElementNotVisibleException”.

Syntax

Wait wait = new FluentWait(Webdriver_Reference)
.withTimout(timeOut, SECONDS)
.pollingEvery(timeOut, SECONDS)
.Ignoring(Exception class)

Sample Snippet

We have mentioned a sampe snippet that will wait for 30 seconds and check the condition every 5 seconds.

FluentWait wait = new FluentWait(driver);
.withTimeout(30, TimeUnit.SECONDS)
.pollingEvery(5, TimeUnit.SECONDS)
.ignoring(NoSuchElementException.class);
WebElement element = wait.until(new Function<WebDriver, WebElement) {    
    public WebElement apply(WebDriver driver) {    
        return driver.findElement(By.id("element"));    
    }
});

Implicit: The WebDriver is advised to keep polling the DOM until the element search is complete. By default, the time is set to 0.

Use Assert and Verify-in Appropriate Scenarios

Let’s assume that there is a task to transport 100 boxes of apples to the market. But what if all the boxes of apples are rotten already? Will there be any use in putting all the effort and time to get the apple to the market only for it to go unsold? Likewise, there will be various scenarios where there are hard fails that will compromise the rest of the execution. Please keep in mind that Asserts should only be used if you want to stop the test execution when a hard failure occurs. If the assert condition is false, the execution will come to a halt, and no more tests will be run. So it is important to identify such bottlenecks and ensure that you use Asserts to save time.

If we take an e-commerce site as an example, such scenarios might come at the very beginning where a user is unable to login, or even in between where the user isn’t able to add any product to their cart. If these functionalities fail, there will be no point in testing the search functionality or payment process as it would all fail due to their dependency.

If the errors are not that critical, then you will be able to run the tests irrespective of the verify’s condition.

Increase Test Coverage

There is just no easy workaround when it comes to testing a website or an application across a variety of devices and browsers. The devices are further split based on the operating system they use as well. So let’s take a look at a few Selenium Best Practices that will help you increase the test coverage.

Browser Compatibility Matrix

Just like knowing what to automate, it is important to figure out the high-priority combinations that are used by your target audience. So create a Browser Compatibility Matrix by performing a product analysis to obtain detailed insights. Trying to perform automation testing with Selenium without narrowing down your target will not only be a cumbersome task, but it will also be a waste of time and resources.

Make use of Parallel Testing in Selenium

Though you are able to narrow down the device combinations, you will not always have the time to test everything one by one. Since Selenium’s parallel testing option is a major reason for its popularity, you can employ it not just to save time, but to also improve your test coverage in an efficient way. Almost all major test frameworks, such as PyTest, PyUnit, TestNG, Cucumber, and so on support simultaneous testing on a Selenium Grid. If you are not familiar with the concept of creating a Selenium Grid for distributed execution, make sure to read our conclusive blog.

Being the innovators we are, we even developed an open-source tool called VisGrid that will provide you with a UI to easily start a Selenium Grid, create & attach nodes, and so on.

Use many driver implementations instead of a single one

Since Selenium’s WebDrivers are not interchangeable, executing automated cross-browser tests on a local computer is not the same as running them on a continuous build server. It would be a mistake to assume that the following test will utilize Firefox WebDriver in that situation (or Chrome WebDriver or any other WebDriver).

When running integration tests in a continuous build environment, the test will only get a RemoteDriver object (i.e., WebDriver for any target browser). Using parameter notes to manage multiple browser types and prepare the code ready for simultaneous execution is one of the Selenium best practices (or parallel testing). LabelledParameterized (@Parameters in TestNG and @RunWith in JUnit) may be used to build small frameworks in Selenium.

Ease Code Maintenance

When working on automation tests with Selenium, it’s critical to pay attention to the test code’s maintainability and reusability. As one of the best test automation companies, we always make sure our scripts are easy to maintain by implementing the following Selenium best practices.

Use design principles and patterns, such as the Page Object Model

With the ever-increasing client expectations, a website’s user interface (UI) will inevitably change as new updates get introduced at regular intervals. So the locators for certain UI components will vary as well. This implies that QAs have to once again create new test cases for the same page or make numerous changes at various places of the script, which can be time-consuming.

So you can employ the Page Object Model design pattern to create test scripts and overcome this issue. In this approach, each web page is considered a class file in the design pattern, and each class file contains related web components.

This method greatly increases the reusability of the code while also making test maintenance easier. Read our complete guide to page object model in Selenium before you implement it.

Quarantine flaky tests

If a test keeps failing at random even if the code hasn’t gone through any changes, then it is called a flaky test. Since the testers can never be sure of the results, they will lose trust in the code and end up re-running the scripts, or debugging the scripts even though there might not be an actual defect. So make sure to quarantine such tests from your other tests. Once they are separated, make sure to analyze them and fix them before you bring them back to your test suite as flaky tests can disrupt your entire automation test suite with false positives and negatives.

Wrap Selenium Calls

You might be using various web locators such as XPath and ID to locate different web elements on the page. So the code that is regularly used in the implementation should be separated into its own API to reduce code duplication. By following this approach, you will be able to reduce the code size and enhance maintainability.

Use a standardized directory structure

Page Objects, Helper functions, and file(s) that include web locator information needed in test scenarios may all be found in the Src folder. The actual test implementation can be stored in the test folder.
When it comes to a directory structure for Selenium test automation, we don’t have a common guideline. Selenium best practices, on the other hand, proposes that we have a directory structure that isolates the test implementation from the test automation framework. This improves the test code’s structure.

Implement Data-Driven Testing for Parameterization

Hard coding test values in test automation scripts are extremely troublesome and not scalable in any way. But you can avoid the various disadvantages like code duplication by implementing data-driven testing by using Parameterization. It aids in the execution of test cases that have a variety of inputs (or data sets).

Naming Convention

Improper naming of your web elements in your automation script could lead to a lot of unnecessary confusion. You may not face any issues as long as you are the only person using the script, but you have to ensure that your script can be used by anybody. Effective naming eases code maintenance by also making it easier to find the web element you are looking for in your code. Now let’s see a few tips that can help you.

1. Add prefixes to the name of your web elements as shown in the below table as it describes the type of web elements being used. In addition to that, you can name the web element based on how it appears in the UI.

Web Element TypePrefixExamples
Text BoxtxttxtUsername,txtPassword
ButtonbtnbtnSignUp , btnLogin
Drop downddddCountry , ddYear
Select Drop DownsddsddMonth , sddYear
Check BoxchkchkGender, chkLanguage
HeaderhdrhdrName, hdrUser
TabletbltblBooks, tblProducts
LabellbllblUserName, lblPassword
ImageimgimgProfile, imgCart

2. You can even add prefixes that denote the action to be performed on the web element.

Example:

ActionPrefixExamples
ClickclkclkLogin, clkIcon
TypesetsetMobileNo, setPassword
VerifyverifyverifyLogo
Check a check boxchkchkLanguage
Select value from drop downselectselectCountry, selectZone

3. Likewise, you can make use of suffixes when creating action pages.

Example:

SignUpPage

LoginPage

4. To make it even clear, you can use a camel case to name the web elements.

Camel case is nothing but a typing convention like lower case and upper case in which the first letter of every word is capitalized.

Example:

If a text box has the label as “Email address”, name it as “txtEmailAddress”

Proper Documentation

Creating proper documentation for your automation tests in Selenium is as important as any of the other Selenium best practices we have discussed thus far.

Use Automated Screenshots to Analyse Failures

Automation Test Script running into failures is an eventuality. But we will not be sure if the failure is due to a defect in the Application Under Test (AUT) or if there is a problem with our code. So analyzing the cause of a test failure will be very crucial, and so taking screenshots is a best practice that can save a lot of time. Screenshots are not just great for failures as you can make use of screenshots as evidence for success.
To capture a screenshot, use the getScreenshotAs function in the following code sample.

File source = ((TakesScreenshot)driver).getScreenshotAs(OutputType.FILE);
FileUtils.copyFile(source, new File("Test Screenshot.png"));

Log and Report

Finding that one failed test case in a large test suite is like finding a needle in a haystack. So using console logs at suitable points in the test code helps us understand the issues better and zero in on the core problem.
Debug, info, warning, error, and critical are some of the common log levels that are available in most programming languages. Since adding unnecessary logs to the test implementation might cause test execution to be delayed, it is better to add logs with level errors in scenarios that enable easier tracking.

Like logging, reporting is also an important aspect of Selenium test automation as it helps determine if the test has passed or failed. You can also keep track of the progress of test suites (or test cases). This in turn helps improve the readability of the output and helps you reduce the amount of time spent maintaining test data as you can easily analyze the features and test coverage.

Set Zoom Level to 100% and Maximize the Window

Make sure to set the zoom level in your browser to 100% during your automation as it is one of the basics that should be followed regardless of which browser you opt to use. It will both provide a native mouse experience and ensure that the native mouse events are assigned to the proper coordinates.

Ensure to maximize the window as soon as the test URL is loaded as Selenium doesn’t launch the browser in the maximized mode by default.

Snippet

driver.manage().window().maximize();

Conclusion

We have seen great results by implementing these Selenium best practices in our automation testing projects and hope you will them useful in the future as well. We had listed various Selenium best practices under particular categories to enable a crystal clear understanding of how each of them impacts the testing process on the whole. So we hope you have enjoyed reading our blog and found the content to be informative as well.

Myth-Busting the Most Common Exploratory Testing Misconceptions

Myth-Busting the Most Common Exploratory Testing Misconceptions

There are many well-known definitions for exploratory testing (ET). Out of those, the most common one was coined by James Bach and Cem Kaner. That is, “Exploratory testing is simultaneous learning, test design, and test execution”. This definition has changed over the years to become “Exploratory testing is an approach to testing that emphasizes the freedom and responsibility of each tester to continually optimize the value of their work. As a leading QA company, we achieve this by treating learning, test design, and test execution as mutually supportive activities that run in parallel throughout the project”. Since exploratory testing can be defined in many different ways from different perspectives, it is very common for many to create a few misconceptions. So in this blog, we will be myth-busting the most common Exploratory Testing misconceptions.

Exploratory Testing is not Adhoc Testing

We are starting off with this point as viewing exploratory testing as ad hoc testing is pretty much the most famous exploratory testing misconception. If you look at both these approaches on a surface level, they might seem the same. For example, both these approaches do benefit from having an experienced tester perform the tests. But if you dig deeper, you will be able to see the differences. For starters, Adhoc testing doesn’t have any structure or proper documentation. But exploratory testing does in fact have both structure and documentation and that is our next point of discussion.

Exploratory Testing needs Planning

The most common Exploratory Testing misconception is that it can be done in any random way we desire without any plan. But in reality, exploratory testers use test charters that will prevent them from going overboard by maintaining a certain boundary. If test charters provide the boundary for the scope of the tests, then time boxing creates defined timeframes for exploration.

But the point to keep in mind is that these test charters shouldn’t be too detailed. Test charters should only help you focus up and shouldn’t become like detailed test cases. In addition to that, it will also be helpful when it comes to traceability.

Exploratory Testing requires Documentation

Now we know that creating test charters will not take as much time as creating test cases as it doesn’t need to be too detailed. So mind mapping the ideas or focus points that need to be documented can help us stick to the context and make sure we are not testing beyond the documented ideas. Likewise, mind maps can also be very helpful in identifying the steps to reproduce a particular bug as we can trace the steps taken during testing. We have covered the importance of using mind maps for exploratory testing documentation in detail. Make sure to read it for additional information. Performing exploratory testing and not having even test notes will make it very difficult to keep track of the bugs that were found, and most importantly fix them as well.

Exploratory Testing requires Training

The other common exploratory testing misconception is that people believe that it doesn’t require any sort of training and can start immediately. But just as seen in the previous points, there are various techniques like mind mapping that will come in handy during exploratory testing. So make sure to train yourself with the 5 exploratory testing techniques that we have mentioned in this blog to witness the improvements.

One of the 5 exploratory techniques is Integration testing as you should be in a position to test every module that comes your way in the way you want it to be tested. You will also start seeing better results in your exploratory testing as you gain valuable experience. So make sure to keep a learning mind when you perform the tests.

Exploratory Testing is not test-case-based testing

Though you may not have had this exploratory testing misconception, the recent points might lead you to wonder if exploratory testing is almost like test-case-based testing. But in fact, exploratory testing brings the best values from ad hoc testing and test-case-based testing to achieve more robust results. For example, though we have the test charters and time boxing elements to guide us along, the limitation of staying within the test cases alone is eliminated in exploratory testing.

The tester will have the freedom to use their experience and follow their hunches to detect bugs that would usually go untraced. Plus exploratory testing can be performed even at the very initial stages of development to find and fix the bugs at the earliest. You could visit our comparison blog of Scripted Testing vs Exploratory Testing to get an even clear idea about the distinction.

We can employ both test-case-based testing and exploratory testing

We have established the fact that exploratory testing is different from the regular scripted testing in our previous point. So using both the scripted and exploratory approach when testing the same product can be an effective way to find more bugs. Having predefined scripts based on what we know alone will never be enough. So using the knowledge we gain during exploratory testing is the best course of action.

As stated earlier, you can use exploratory testing during the initial phases of development and cut off the bugs at an earlier stage. By that time, the application will be ready for us to perform scripted testing to root out the remaining bugs. Likewise, we can also use scripted tests to attain maximum coverage and use chartered exploratory tests wherever needed to bring about the best results. Speaking of test coverage, let’s move to the next exploratory testing misconception.

Exploratory Testing isn’t about Coverage

Exploratory testing is a very subjective approach that depends on the individual tester who is in control. We would have heard many say that exploratory testing expands the test coverage. The implication here is that exploratory testing will be instrumental in finding the bugs that would usually go untraced in the conventional approach. The tester will have the option to test different scenarios and target the weak spots that have been identified instead of testing everything. So though it is possible to attain maximum coverage, it wouldn’t be necessary if you couple exploratory with scripted testing.

Exploratory Testing isn’t Troubled by Complexity

By this point, you yourself know that exploratory testing can be done irrespective of the complexity of the product. Since exploratory testing is a reactive process that is influenced by what we learn during the testing process, the complexity of the product will never be a factor. Irrespective of the approach you use, you must have ample experience and skills with the different testing techniques to keep up with the complexity. In fact, you will even get better ideas for testing a complex product because of the context you can observe and understand from the hands-on experience.

Conclusion

As a leading Exploratory testing services provider, our first step towards providing better results was clearing the common misconceptions behind the approach. Just a sweet reminder that there is no conclusive evidence or definition for exploratory testing is as of now. So don’t end up with the single known definition or any not-proven conclusion of exploratory testing. Instead, charter your learning experience in exploratory testing by understanding the common Exploratory Testing misconceptions. We believe it greatly helped us out understand what exploratory testing truly is and hope this blog will be very useful for you as well.

Automated Testing in Web Development: Should You Do It?

Automated Testing in Web Development: Should You Do It?

Now that the digital landscape is continuously growing momentum, your website mustn’t fall behind progress, especially since consumer behavior is trickier now more than ever. 

If there’s anything you should invest in your business, it’s to ensure that you’re providing the perfect website for your brand. This is because it’s not only you who’ll be using it; your customers will be there to learn more about your brand, products, and services. So if your web development and design aren’t close to perfect, it may affect your customer’s user experience. 

A fantastic way to achieve a strong and effective website is through testing, code review, and site audits. With that said, it’s worth paying attention to automated testing to guide you through the development process. In essence, automated testing helps reduce risk and serves as a guide through the development stage. 

For this reason, it’s best to partner up with credible automation testing companies to ensure that you’re conducting the right tests to improve your website’s performance. 

Reasons You Should Consider Automated Testing for Web Development

Working with automation testing companies can provide you with a plethora of benefits. Here are some reasons you should consider automated testing right now:

Reason #1: It’s Incredibly Time-Efficient

When you integrate automated testing, you get to conduct a huge number of tests and run them at the same time. If you do this manually, it could take forever, affecting your development and design stages. With automation, you get to speed up the deployment of new features and updates and get to deliver projects just in time. 

Reason #2: You Can Reuse the Same Tests

With automated testing, you’re able to use the same tests, and you can run them multiple times so you can make the necessary adjustments to your codes and design. This is because established and ready scripts are pretty handed and can help with different scenarios, especially when delivering different projects. 

Reason #3: You Get to Test in Different Browsers, Devices, and Scenarios

Perhaps one of the best things about automated testing is that you get to execute cross-device and cross-browser testing to see if your website will work seamlessly on different platforms. With automated testing, you’re able to benefit from various testing coverage and scenarios, reducing risks and preparing you for different situations. 

Reason #4: Utilize Regression Testing

You can reuse tests to help fuel regression testing, thanks to automated testing. This test allows you to make changes, especially with complex features and updates, enabling you to make many tests on different platforms as well. 

Reason #5: You Get High Accuracy and Better Results

Unlike manual tests, which are monotonous and repetitive, automation testing is quite the opposite. With manual tests, you may miss a bug or forget a certain step, but with automated testing, you get to test frequently and get accurate results since you eliminate human error.  

The Bottom Line: If You Want to Improve Your Website, It’s Best to Integrate Automated Testing

There’s no doubt that businesses are even more competitive now, especially since more businesses are claiming digital real estate. Because of this, it’s safe to say that you should produce a strong and effective website for your consumers to enjoy. However, testing is a vital component for this, and with that, it’s worth working with a credible automation testing company to ensure that your site is up to speed at all times!

How Can We Help You?

Codoid is an industry leader in QA, leading and guiding communities and clients with our passion for development and innovation. Our team of highly skilled engineers can help your team through software testing meetup groups, software quality assurance events, automation testing, and more. 

Are you looking for automation testing companies? If so, reach out to us today!

Understanding the Differences between APIs and Web Services

Understanding the Differences between APIs and Web Services

Technology and its ever-evolving nature can be quite challenging to comprehend, especially if one isn’t technologically adept. Not to mention that with every innovation, new terminology comes up.

Today, we’ll be discussing the differences between web services and APIs, two terms that many tend to interchange mistakenly. 

What Are Web Services?

Web services are software components that allow applications to communicate over the internet. They are like APIs that don’t require written code, but they do need additional web programming to work.

There are two types of web services: SOAP and REST. SOAP forms the base for web services that use structured data, such as XML and JSON. In this type of web service, a client accesses an endpoint, which it uses to get the data it needs. This data gets sent back to the client, using it for whatever purpose.

On the other hand, REST follows a more straightforward approach to web services. It doesn’t require any structured data and mainly functions when you only need a small and specific set of data.

What Are APIs?

Application Programming Interface (API) is a piece of code that allows new and existing software applications to interact with other applications. In addition, APIs make it possible to transfer data and content between different applications, allowing them to function the way you want them to.

You can think of an API as a way for third-party developers to access your product and build on it. If a company wants to create a new feature, it can use the API to access your company’s data.

You have likely come across this feature before. An excellent example would be the function that allows you to use your Facebook account to log in to other applications, like Spotify. Booking a flight through travel sites is also one example of using APIs in real life. 

Which One Does Your Business Need?

APIs and web services sometimes overlap in that all web services are APIs, but not all APIs are web services. Furthermore, APIs can function online and offline while web services cannot.

Aside from these key distinctions, APIs and web services also differ in terms of functionality. The question now is, which one does your business need? If you’re searching for something that can perform one of the following, then you’re looking to have APIs for your business.

  • Provide information about a subject matter
  • Offer the ability to request information
  • Bind services 

What Happens Next?

The first step is to find a software developer if you don’t have one in-house. They can take your business’s idea and create an application based on it. Your team should also finalize ideas for your web service during your search.

Having a solid idea to present makes it easier to collaborate with the software developer, who will likely offer their input on improving the final product. After extensive meetings, the software developer will work on your web service, and then you will need a quality assurance (QA) company to test it out.

QA companies have the programmers and resources to test your web service for flaws during the development phase. They can also try the application before its official release, providing feedback to the software developer. Working with a QA company is a must since you don’t want your web service going live only to find out later on that it has numerous bugs and security flaws.

Ending Note

Web services are programmatic interfaces for software components utilized to connect apps, sites, and various other services over the internet. They are designed to support the exchange of data between applications, and they send, receive, and process data over the web.

If you aren’t sure if you need web services, we recommend reviewing what a web service can do to see if it fits your business requirements. Additionally, you must keep in mind that working with developers during this endeavor can also make the process easier to understand. 

Should you push forth with web service development, you need to keep in mind that a QA company can ensure the successful launch of your web services. Codoid is a leading quality assurance company that strives to implement the best possible strategies to check if your web service is ready for launch. Contact us today to get started!

How to use the ChromeVox Screen Reader for Accessibility Testing?

How to use the ChromeVox Screen Reader for Accessibility Testing?

ChromeVox is an in-built screen reader developed by Google for Chromebooks. It can also be added to Chrome as an extension even if it is running on Windows or macOS. Since Windows and macOS have their own dedicated screen readers like Narrator and VoiceOver, you might not have the need to use ChromeVox. But if you are looking to test your website on a Chromebook, then knowing ChromeVox will definitely come in handy. As a leading web accessibility testing services company, we always make it a point to master all the resourceful tools for our accessibility testing projects. So we have written this guide to help you get started with accessibility testing using the ChromeVox Screen Reader and to explore all the important ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts.

There are two ways to run ChromeVox on your Chromebook.

1. You can click on ‘Options’ that can be found on the right side corner of your Chromebook and click on the accessibility symbol.

2. Or you can use the press shortcut keys Ctrl+Alt+Z to turn on ChromeVox.

ChromeVox Keyboard Shortcuts:

Once you have got ChromeVox up and running, you can use the various shortcuts to use it effectively. We have created a table of the most important ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts that you’ll need to know by categorizing them into different categories as well.

Main Content Navigation

Skimming through a page’s content is a very common activity that most of us do. So you have to test if your heading levels have been assigned properly as it will also impact regular reading as well. Once the user finds the part they want to be read out by the screen reader, they should be able to start the reading. So use the below ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts for easily testing all these aspects.

S. noFunctionsShortcut Key
1Heading NavigationSearch bar + H
2Previous headingShift +H
3Next Level 1 HeadingSearch bar + 1
4Previous Level 1 HeadingShift + 1
5Next Level 2 HeadingSearch bar + 2
6Previous Level 2 HeadingShift + 2
7Next Level 3 HeadingSearch bar + 3
8Previous Level 3 HeadingShift + 3
9Next Level 4 HeadingSearch bar + 4
10Previous Level 4 HeadingShift + 4

We also all know that not all users would want their screen readers to read everything that is on the display. So it is extremely important for you to test the Skip to main content feature. So once the user hits the enter or spacebar key, the focus should move to the main content area. It should also be verified on each and every page of your site without fail.

Line by Line Navigation

Being able to skim through the content alone isn’t enough. So we also have to test if line by line and word by word navigation also works well with your content.

S. noFunctionsShortcut Key
1Next lineSearch bar + Down Arrow
2Previous lineSearch bar + Up arrow
3Next WordSearch bar + Ctrl + shift + Right arrow
4Previous WordSearch bar + Ctrl + shift + Left Arrow
Interactive Elements Navigation

The tab is the primary key when it comes to navigating through the different interactive elements in the page like links, forms, edit fields, menu items, and so on. You can access the interactive element that has the focus by pressing enter or spacebar. But if you are testing if there are any broken links or if the links have a proper anchor text, you can even navigate across just the links or even get a list of the links on the page by using the mentioned ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts.

S. NoFunctionsShortcut Key
1Forward Navigation of Interactive Elements (Links, Forms, Edit Field)Tab
2Backward Navigation of Interactive Elements (Links, Forms, Edit Field)Shift + Tab
3Next linkSearch bar + L
4Previous linkSearch bar + Shift + L
5Next Visited linkSearch bar + v
6Previous visited linkSearch bar + shift + v
7Show Links listSearch Bar + Ctrl + L
8Show Form listSearch Bar + Ctrl + F
9To Move Focus to pop-up and dialogAlt + Shift +A
Table Navigation

Since tables can have many rows and columns, navigation around each cell using the search bar and arrow keys could turn out to be difficult and confusing. But since we can’t leave any content on the page untested, we have specified the ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts that will help you navigate any table with ease.

S. NoFunctionsShortcut Key
1Show Table listSearch Bar + Ctrl + T
2Next TableSearch Bar + T
3Previous TableSearch Bar + Shift +T
4First cell in the tableSearch Bar + Alt + Shift + Left arrow
5Last cell in the tableSearch Bar + Alt + Shift + Right arrow
6First cell in the current rowSearch Bar + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + Left arrow
7Last cell in the current rowSearch Bar + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + Right arrow
8First cell in the current ColumnSearch Bar + Alt + Shift +Ctrl + Up arrow
9Last cell in the current columnSearch Bar + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + Down arrow
Multimedia Content

There is almost no page that doesn’t have images and videos making alt text, transcripts, and audio descriptions key factors to check. You can use the shortcuts to quickly navigate to all the graphic images and test if proper alt text has been used.

S. noFunctionsShortcut Key
1Next Graphic ImageSearch Bar + G
2Previous graphic ImageSearch Bar + Shift + G

If there is a video on the webpage, keyboard playback controls must be available for the user to pause or play the content easily. Audio descriptions are important for videos that rely on visual cues to convey meaning.

Advantages of the ChromeVox Screen Reader:

Docked and full-screen Magnifier:

As a leading Accessibility Testing Company provider, we understand that Screen readers are not just for people who have total loss of vision. So you have to test your content with ChromeVox’s two types of screen magnifiers that will enable low-vision users to view and read the content of the page without any difficulties.

Of the two types, one is a full-screen magnifier and the other is a docked magnifier. Once the full-screen magnifier is enabled, the entire page is magnified with a zoom level that can be changed as per the need. So if the webpage isn’t optimized for this feature, then the content will start overlapping to create a bad user experience. Since the full screen is getting magnified, it should also be possible to navigate the content with ease at any given zoom level. So make sure to use the Ctrl + Alt + Arrow keys to test that as well.

Since not all users will require the entire page to be magnified, ChromeVox’s Docked Magnifier allows the users to magnify the part of the page where the cursor is. These are a few of the add-on features that are exclusive to the Chromebook that cannot be used in any other system. So make sure to test the content on your page and see if it is compatible with these features as well.

The ChromeVox Screen Reader Chrome Extension

Apart from these exclusive features for the Chromebook, ChromeVox can be added as an extension to Google Chrome on other platforms like Windows and Macs. Installing the ChromeVox extension is no different from installing any other Chrome extension. Though the extension does not have all the features the full version does, it surely has its own benefits as it offers some basic screen reader functionalities.

ChromeVox’s Speech Viewer

Once the ChromeVox Screen Reader has been turned on, the speech viewer will automatically be displayed on top of the screen. This is a great advantage in ChromeVox when compared to other screen readers such as NVDA that don’t have a separate speech viewer as it will overlap the web content.

Disadvantages of ChromeVox:

As you can see, the search bar key and the shift key are important when it comes to ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts.
For Example: Unlike other screen readers, pressing the H key without pressing the search bar key will not move to the heading levels.

But the major drawback in the ChromeVox Screen Reader when it comes to testing is taking screenshots as the content in the speech viewer will not be covered. So you would have to rely on videos for your bug reports. Videos for major bugs are fine, but it will be a cumbersome task to add videos even for small bugs.

Conclusion:

Apart from the few disadvantages, ChromeVox is a great screen reader for testing your content on a Chromebook. The unique ChromeVox Screen Reader Chrome extension might also turn out to be useful in rare scenarios. So we hope you are now clear on how you can use ChromeVox to get effective web accessibility testing done using the various ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts. If you are looking to test your content across various platforms and screen readers, there are various options such as JAWS, NVDA, Narrator, OKRA, Voice Over, and so on.

Essential Skills Every Top Automation Tester Must Have

Essential Skills Every Top Automation Tester Must Have

Most firms in the business software industry are moving towards accelerated and agile methodologies. One of the essential specializations in these companies is automation testing, replacing manual testing. Automation is also key to the business success of the software industry.

A professional who performs automation testing has many essential skills, which their managers must know before making a particular person head of automation testing. A few of these skills are listed below:

1. The Ability to Manage and Prioritize Tests

Managers want to know that their automation testers can handle multiple assignments simultaneously. As a professional, you must know how to prioritize, which is a successful automation tester’s essential skill. Allocate the tests so that the most important ones are executed first. For example, the tests that were left incomplete during the last sprint should be worked on first.

2. The Ability to Identify and Resolve Bugs

Managers should know that a successful automation tester can identify and resolve bugs. Only when a tester can identify the bugs and fix them can the company ensure that the product will be ready for production. They should be able to write automation scripts that identify and resolve bugs.

3. The Ability to Identify and Track Bugs

Managers want to know that their automation testers can identify and track new bugs in software. The testers must track bugs effectively to resolve issues as soon as possible.

4. The Ability to Identify and Understand the Business Requirements

Managers want to know that their automation testers have an in-depth understanding of the business requirements. This is important to create practical tests and meet the business goals.

5. The Ability to Write Automation Scripts

Managers want to know that their automation testers can write scripts ready for execution. A good automation tester must have the skill of writing precise, efficient, and effective automation scripts.

6. The Ability to Investigate Bugs

Managers want to know that their automation testers can investigate the cause of an issue. As a professional in the industry, you must master the art of investigating bugs. The managers want to find someone who can create tests and resolve issues.

7. The Ability to Write Test Scenarios

Managers want to know that their automation testers can write test scenarios clearly and effectively. Automation testers should be able to write compelling and thorough test scenarios.

8. The Ability to Use Automation Tools

Managers want to know that their automation testers can use QTP and Selenium effectively. QTP, Selenium, and other types of automation tools are used to test a software package, and you must be aware of the importance of these tools.

Conclusion

Automation testing is a niche specialization in the business software industry. It is one of the essential specializations because it helps a software company save time and money. Automation testing has a huge industry, and it is growing worldwide. 

Therefore, automation testing is an essential specialization that the software industry employs today. The software industry’s future depends on automation testing, which is why managers must know the skills of a qualified automation tester before offering them a job.

Codoid is an industry leader in QA. We don’t say this just to bragwe say this because it is our passion to help guide and lead the Quality Assurance community. Codoid does it all: web, mobile, desktop, gaming, car infotainment systems, and mixed reality applications. Our automation testing services will help you to test your applications across multiple platforms, devices, browsers, and wearable devices. If you need test automation services in the United States, get in touch with us now! Let us know how we can help.