Automating ‘Look and Feel’ Testing for Web Pages

Automating 'Look and Feel' Testing for Web Pages

5 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

In the realm of web development, ensuring that a website’s ‘look and feel’ remains consistent across different projects and hundreds of web pages can be a daunting task. The layout of HTML elements, in particular, needs to be checked to ensure that they are not broken or misaligned. Automating this aspect of testing can save considerable time and resources, and there are several tools available that can help with this process.

Understanding Automated Visual Testing Tools

Automated visual testing tools are designed to replicate the human eye’s ability to assess visual elements on a web page. These tools vary based on several factors:

  • Type of Visual Comparison: Tools may use pixel-to-pixel, threshold-based, or more complex algorithms to detect differences.
  • Automation Integration: Some integrate with existing automation frameworks like Selenium/Webdriver, while others may use proprietary frameworks.
  • Availability: They can be open-source or commercial, with some offering free plans.

Below is a list of tools that can be utilized for automated visual testing:

  • Applitools Eyes:

    This is a commercial tool that provides advanced visual testing capabilities. It’s designed to perform visual tests as a human would, reducing the need for manual threshold settings or screen marking. Test maintenance is managed via a web application, simplifying the process. Applitools Eyes supports various SDKs including Selenium, Appium, Protractor, and offers an extension for code-free testing.

  • WebdriverCSS:

    An open-source tool that works with WebdriverIO, a JavaScript wrapper for Selenium. It uses GraphicsMagick for image comparisons and allows users to set a threshold for image differences. It’s particularly easy to integrate if you’re already using WebdriverIO.

  • Sikuli:

    Sikuli is an open-source tool that relies on screen visual elements for automation. It has its own proprietary automation framework, making it a unique option among visual testing tools.

Other tools worth mentioning include PhantomCSS, Huxley, and dpxdt, each with its own set of features and capabilities.


Automating ‘look and feel’ testing can significantly streamline the process of ensuring web page consistency and quality. While it’s possible to conduct this type of testing manually, the use of specialized tools can save time and reduce the brittleness associated with such tests. It’s important to choose a tool that fits your specific needs, taking into consideration the type of visual comparison, automation integration, and whether an open-source or commercial option is more suitable for your project.

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