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End-to-end Testing Best Practices

Olaf Kühn

Jul 31, 20235 min read

Software testingSoftware development

Table of Content

  • What is end-to-end testing?

  • Benefits of end-to-end testing

  • What are the steps of an end-to-end testing process?

  • End-to-end testing best practices

  • To wrap up

When your business’s “to be or not to be” relies on a product or service, the end user is the one who determines whether you’ll be highlightsuccessful – or not.

You need to be aware of the user’s needs and keep in mind that they’re always evolving – as should your product or service, and website.

End-to-end testing is a key part of today’s development processes. Without it, users might be unhappy with the experience – and ditch your product (and perhaps go for a competitor instead).

By testing all the workflows that a user might go through in real life – and fixing them – you make sure you stay ahead of their expectations and provide a smooth and pleasant user experience.

In this blog post, I’ll go into details of what end-to-end testing is exactly, and what are the best practices for running such tests.

Let’s start.

What is end-to-end testing?

End-to-end testing includes testing every component, system and integration that goes into a software application.

The testing should strongly resemble the actual user working with the software. That’s why end-to-end tests are so necessary.

The method verifies the application’s workflow in its entirety to check if it works exactly like it should. By mimicking the real-world usage of the software, it allows to detect any issues that might ruin a workflow.

It includes using real-life workflow scenarios, APIs, or browsers.

Some common user workflows checked during end-to-end tests are:

  • singing up to a new account
  • logging into an application
  • using a search bar or filters within an app
  • adding products to a shopping cart
  • recovering a forgotten password

…and many, many others.

Benefits of end-to-end testing

Thanks to end-to-end testing:

  • you can be sure that every part of your application works as it should
  • your app is fully optimized to create a great, smooth user experience
  • you get a better idea of whether your application will fulfill your business objectives

What are the highlightsteps of an end-to-end testing process?

There are four basic steps:

1.Write out all user workflows that can happen in your app

Go through all possible paths that a user can stumble upon when using your app, even the edge cases. This includes the most common ones, like creating an account, logging in, recovering a password, etc., and those specific to your app only. So think it all through to not miss anything.

2.Design end-to-end tests (keep reading to see the end-to-end testing best practices below)

Correctly designed end-to-end tests take into account the ease of use, accuracy, speed, etc. Make sure your tests account for all of the essential factors.

3.Adjust the workflows in your application based on the results of the tests

Once the tests uncover any issues, nip them in the bud so nothing messes up the user experience. Your testers will walk through every possible path a user might take, so they should be able to correct everything that needs correcting before your customers use the app.

4.Keep adjusting your end-to-end testing process as your application evolves

While you’re running the tests, remember to adjust your process and improve it. You might consider using automation as well.

End-to-end testing best practices

Think about the user

First and foremost, think about the user. What goals are they trying to achieve in your application? Are there any obstacles that cause friction on the way to those goals?

This seems to be a no-brainer, but when you’re designing your end-to-end testing plan, always put your user in the spotlight.

Go through the entire highlightuser journey

During end-to-end tests, you should include all workflows that your user might go through.

I suppose I won’t surprise you when I say that it’s a good idea to start with the most popular ones, right? Those have the power to make your product a success – or a flop.

But don’t dismiss all the other workflows. It’s important so you can be sure your product offers a smooth and pleasant user experience each step of the path – no matter what path the user chooses. Even if it’s a small action that the user wants to perform, or if they will be performing it rarely. Don’t dismiss the edge cases.

Even if it doesn’t seem critical, it affects the overall vibe your user will get from using your product. So impress them even with the tiniest details.

Perform smaller, focused tests

While you’re at designing the tests, plan some smaller, more focused ones, too. When you’re testing just a part of a workflow, the test is easier to monitor, and it allows you to catch any issues and fix them faster.

Use the right data

Testing all these workflows – big or small – won’t give you real results without the right data.

You need to make sure the application will behave as it should in the production environment. Having said that, you shouldn’t use production data for your end-to-end tests.

And why is that?

Using production data might mean you risk leaking sensitive data – personally identifiable data or your business’s confidential data. That data needs to be masked to protect users from having their personal information revealed.

Production data might not include the most recent data, too. It might also mean you’ll miss the edge cases.

That’s why it’s a much better idea to rely on a test data management process.

The test data management process monitors actual data and tracks patterns to create data models that reliably mimic the real data of your organization. It includes synchronizing various data sources – from production, versioning copies, compliance masked data and multi-cloud distribution of test data.

Test data management is especially important in industries where there are a lot of sensitive data (such as health care), but since every business holds some sensitive data, it should be exercised in every end-to-end test.

Automate parts of the testing process

As competitive as the software world is today, you want to automate parts of your end-to-end testing process to save your team’s time and speed it up. Combine it with manual testing tactics for the best results.

Here are some tools that might help you out with end-to-end testing:

  • Katalon
  • Lambda Test
  • Datadog
  • TestComplete
  • LoadNinja

Keep track of what’s tested

Document every part of the app that has already been tested, along with the results. This will help you to make sure that every single part has been checked and will keep a record of what the results were, which might be useful for your future reference.

It will also give you an overview of how the user experience in your app really looks.

To wrap up

The best practices for running end-to-end tests will help you keep up with the demands of the ever-evolving, ever-faster software market – as well as your customers’ changing needs and expectations. 

You should uncover broken functionalities before your customers can stumble upon them when they’re using your app. Testing and troubleshooting any issues will allow you to build a valuable and pleasant user experience, turning customers into loyal and happy brand ambassadors.

Hope this blog post was helpful. If you’d like to chat with us more about the topic, let us know at .

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End-to-end Testing Best Practices

Published on July 31, 2023


Olaf Kühn Junior Marketing Specialist

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