Types of Automation Testing: A Beginner’s Guide

May 7, 2024

There are many types of automation testing and automated tests. Find out the best one for you with Functionize’s guide about test automation types.

There are many types of automation testing and automated tests. Find out the best one for you with Functionize’s guide about test automation types.

As you automate tests for your QA, you must understand the types of automation testing. This knowledge helps you create a full automation program. It will fit your current QA setup and enable informed decisions on which testing types suit your organization best. Normally, test automation can be conducted on and refers to the type of testing, the type of tests, and/or the testing phase. Some of these notions may overlap, and the classification often depends on workflow and preferences.

Type of testing

There are two main categories in testing: Functional and Non-functional.

Functional Testing

Functional testing is where you check if your software does what it's supposed to do. It focuses on what the application does. Functional testing uses a method called black box testing. In it, the tester checks functionality without knowing the internal details. This type of automation testing focuses on the main functions, basic usability, and user accessibility. You can do it at any point in the development cycle when you have functional code to test.

Non-functional Testing

Non-functional testing is when you check how well your software performs. You look beyond its specific functions. It rates speed, reliability, usability, and performance. Also, ensure your software meets quality standards. After completing functional testing, we execute this type of testing.

Type of tests

Automation is beneficial for a range of test types. Refer to this list for decision support.

1. Smoke testing

In early functional testing, there's a step called smoke testing. It finds big issues before release and saves costs. This type of test quickly checks your app's core functions. Automating it helps find big problems in new code or backend changes before release.

smoke testing

2. Integration testing

Integration testing brings all the parts and functions of your software together. It ensures they work well as a whole. This testing checks if different sections of your application are functioning well together. You can conduct automated integration testing. But, you must test both expected and unexpected inputs. This is crucial for thorough validation.

3. Regression testing

Regression testing makes sure new code doesn't break your app. It also helps find if old bugs come back. Regression testing involves retesting both the functional and nonfunctional parts of your application. This is after code changes to ensure performance isn't hurt. Regular regression tests are essential for ongoing development throughout your application's lifecycle. Please note, that you can conduct automated regression testing as well.

4. Security testing

Security testing helps uncover weaknesses and potential exploits in a system. At each step, it helps ensure no security holes are added. This results in products that keep user data and networks safe.

5. Performance testing

Performance testing is a non-functional test. It assesses how well an application performs under different conditions. Developers aim to simulate real-world scenarios and push the application to its limits. Analyzing the results helps identify operational issues. The tests ensure your backend can handle the expected user load. They include stress tests, load tests, and responsiveness tests. Each checks a different aspect of your backend.

6. User Acceptance testing

In the final stage of testing, called acceptance testing, you ensure the application does what the user expects. While some forms cannot be automated, others can be. Acceptance tests, which are functional tests, gauge how satisfactory the software is for end-users.

user acceptance testing beer

7. Keyword-driven testing

Keyword-driven testing makes functional testing easier. It does this by connecting specific keywords to corresponding actions. This removes the need for programming skills. It lets functional testers plan tests before the application is developed. It's compatible with nearly any automation tool in the market.

8. Data-driven testing

Data-driven testing means using external data to improve your automated test cases. It makes testing more efficient by reusing the same test for different data sets. These tests enable code reusability. Developers can use them at any software development phase. Modifying the script does not affect the test data.

Phase of testing

Unit testing

Unit testing is usually the first level and comes before integration testing. It involves testing the smallest unit of code. Developers create and run these tests to ensure each function in your application works correctly. A typical unit test has three phases. First, it initializes a small piece of the application to test (the system under test or SUT). Then, it applies stimulus to the SUT by calling a method. Finally, it observes the resulting behavior.


Testing application programming interfaces (APIs) directly is known as API testing. It involves checking if they meet functionality, reliability, performance, and security expectations. An API test automation and tools that perform it lets you quickly find bugs or vulnerabilities. It does this before they become issues. This testing phase is flexible. Either the development or testing team can do it. It can happen before or after the UI phase.

api testing


Checking the parts of software that users interact with is done through UI Testing. It focuses on visual elements. They must work as needed for function and performance. It makes sure the UI has no bugs. UI Testing covers many visual indicators. These include toolbars, fonts, menus, text boxes, radio buttons, checkboxes, and colors. UI test suites have features for these things. They cover functionality, visual design, responsiveness, performance, usability, accessibility, and compliance.

Automation Test Frameworks

You have found the types of automation testing for your project. The next step is choosing an automation test framework. These frameworks offer significant benefits. They allow for code reuse, saving time and effort. The set rules cut costs, making test case development more affordable. These frameworks run efficiently with little manual work. They ensure standardized, thorough testing.

Types of Testing Frameworks

You have many automation testing frameworks to choose from. Here are the most common ones:

Linear Framework

In a linear test framework, you're at the introductory level of testing. You create and run test scripts one by one in sequence. As a tester, you record each step. This includes navigation or user input. Then, you let the script playback to run the test. The advantage is you don't need to write custom code, so you don't have to be an automation expert. It's a straightforward, one-step-at-a-time testing approach, suitable for projects with basic testing needs. Keep in mind that it offers fast, low-code test design. But, maintaining these tests can be hard. Record-and-playback tests break easily.


You're breaking down the application into separate units in a modular framework. You're then creating testing scripts for each one. It involves making separate scripts for each module. Then, you combine them for full automation testing. The advantage is that changes in one module don't affect others. The scripts stay intact unless you manually change them. It's structured to ensure flexibility and efficiency in your testing process.

Library Architecture

In a library architecture test framework, you follow the modular framework's guidelines. But, you add benefits. The framework does not divide an application into many scripts. Instead, it groups similar tasks within scripts into a common library. It identifies and groups tasks with common functions, creating a library that archives all functions and tests. This lets you call these functions when needed. It streamlines and organizes your testing.

Tools to Use for Your Automated Tests

Once you've picked the right automation testing framework, you'll need a tool to run your tests. You might find that only a few of these well-known automation tools are a good match for your needs. It depends on your testing needs.

1. Functionize

Functionize stands out among testing tools. It excels in types of automation testing: functional, regression, and compatibility testing, and covers diverse browsers and devices. Its AI can handle frequent changes in UI and functionality. This makes it especially effective for dynamic applications. The self-healing tests feature minimizes manual efforts in script maintenance. Functionize's scalability makes it a uniquely versatile choice. It works for small projects and large enterprise applications. It's a great fit for a broad range of testing needs.

2. Selenium

Many see Selenium as the top choice for test automation. This is especially true for Web application testing. It works well in many browsers. It supports multiple programming languages. Many people use it for continuous testing. It has features like Selenium Grid for parallel execution. It's a versatile choice for efficient testing, especially in web development.

3. Katalon Studio

Katalon Studio can do comprehensive testing. This makes it a versatile choice for many scenarios. Katalon Studio goes beyond Selenium's strengths. It offers support for Web testing, API testing, mobile app testing, and desktop app testing. 

4. Ranorex

Ranorex is the solution for all your UI testing requirements. The design focused on usability. It supports many web, desktop, and mobile platforms. Ranorex stands out with smart object recognition. This lets tests adjust to changes mid-test and offers reassurance throughout testing.

5. Applitools

Applitools provides a robust solution for detecting and managing visual differences in applications. It is great for UI testing and ensures the look and layout of web and mobile apps stay consistent. This is true across different browsers, devices, and screen sizes. 

How To Do Automation Testing Better?

Testing professionals must align with accelerated development cycles as the trend toward DevOps gains traction in software development. Two main approaches to automation testing emerge, each offering distinct advantages.

On the one hand, they can utilize a test automation framework to construct a tailored automation solution. This approach grants complete control over development, implementation, and maintenance processes, allowing customization to meet specific needs. However, it requires significant technical expertise, and the continuous maintenance of test scripts becomes challenging as the system expands.

On the other hand, they can use a test automation tool from a third-party vendor. Commercial tools come equipped with a range of features, saving time on development and enabling immediate testing initiation. They eliminate the need for extensive in-house development, and commercial tools often provide support, documentation, and training, reducing the demand for specialized expertise within the team.

Companies increasingly recognize the benefits of automated testing. Automating time-consuming processes supports frequent code revisions and positions businesses to compete effectively in the modern software landscape.

If you're unsure about selecting the right testing tool, refer to our updated list of top automation testing tools widely recommended in the industry. These tools cater to diverse needs, balancing customization and ready-to-use features, providing valuable options for testing scenarios.


This short overview looks into the details of types of automation testing. It also covers diverse test automation frameworks. Explore the highlighted tools to find the right fit for your needs. We wish you success in navigating the dynamic types of automation testing. If you find this info helpful, share it.

About the author

author photo: Tamas Cser

Tamas Cser


Tamas Cser is the founder, CTO, and Chief Evangelist at Functionize, the leading provider of AI-powered test automation. With over 15 years in the software industry, he launched Functionize after experiencing the painstaking bottlenecks with software testing at his previous consulting company. Tamas is a former child violin prodigy turned AI-powered software testing guru. He grew up under a communist regime in Hungary, and after studying the violin at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, toured the world playing violin. He was bitten by the tech bug and decided to shift his talents to coding, eventually starting a consulting company before Functionize. Tamas and his family live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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