Improving Locator Strategies in Test Automation

Improving Locator Strategies in Test Automation

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

In the realm of test automation, one common challenge is identifying robust and reliable locators for web elements. Often, locators can be too complicated, fragile, or unreadable, creating a need for developers to add IDs or other attributes to elements. This article provides a comprehensive guide to improving locator strategies, ensuring your test automation is efficient and maintainable.

Understanding the Problem

The issue arises when testers must repeatedly request developers to add IDs or change markup for better locators. Typically, this is done informally through instant messaging platforms, leading to temporary solutions and TODO comments that may never be addressed.

Proposed Solutions

1. Establish Teamwide Coding Standards

Initiate a team discussion to develop coding standards that include test-friendly locators. This ensures that unique identifiers are added during the initial coding phase, saving time and reducing the need for retroactive changes.

2. Utilize Name-Based Locators

Names are more forgiving than IDs and can be used effectively for elements like rows in a table. They allow for easier recovery and identification of elements, even when multiple elements share the same name.

3. Implement CSS Locators

CSS locators are more stable and faster than XPath. They can utilize the hierarchy of elements, providing a sturdy alternative without relying on developer cooperation.

4. Introduce Locator Assessment in Code Reviews

Incorporate locator assessment into the existing code review process. This helps catch less desirable locators early and ensures that all team members adhere to the agreed standards.

5. Document and Review Locators

Documentation is key. Create tasks for adding locators and document the chosen IDs. Review all IDs to ensure they meet the established criteria, and avoid introducing TODO comments in the code.

6. Foster Collaboration Between Developers and Testers

Encourage developers to participate in writing and stabilizing end-to-end tests. This shared responsibility helps developers understand the importance of test-friendly locators and fosters a collaborative environment.

Practical Examples

Consider a scenario where a developer needs to add an ID to a button element. Instead of using a generic ID like button1, a more descriptive ID such as submitButton provides clarity and aids in test automation.


Improving locator strategies in test automation requires a combination of team collaboration, coding standards, and effective documentation. By implementing these solutions, you can create a more efficient and maintainable test automation framework.

For further reading, explore our related articles:

Enhancing Test Automation with Repeato

As you work towards improving your locator strategies, consider using Repeato, a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android. Repeato leverages computer vision and AI to create, run, and maintain automated tests quickly and efficiently. Its user-friendly interface ensures that even non-technical team members can contribute to the testing process, enhancing collaboration and productivity.

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