Optimizing Test Automation: Strategies for Reducing UI Test Maintenance

Optimizing Test Automation: Strategies for Reducing UI Test Maintenance

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

In the realm of software development, maintaining a vast suite of UI automated tests can be challenging, especially when they cover extensive manual tests, including both positive and negative scenarios. High execution times and maintenance burdens are common issues. This article provides a comprehensive strategy to streamline test automation, reduce maintenance efforts, and enhance execution speed without impacting agile processes.

Understanding the Test Pyramid

The test pyramid is a visual metaphor that illustrates the different types of tests that should be included in a test suite. The pyramid emphasizes having a larger number of unit tests at the bottom, fewer integration tests in the middle, and the least amount of UI tests at the top.

Speed and Reliability

Two critical factors for effective test automation are speed and reliability:

  • Speed: Faster feedback is essential for the development team and management. UI tests are often slower due to the need to simulate user interactions. Shifting tests to lower layers (unit and integration tests) can drastically improve speed.
  • Reliability: UI tests are more prone to flakiness due to variations in devices, browsers, and network conditions. Reducing the number of UI tests in favor of more stable unit and integration tests can enhance reliability.

Strategies for Effective Test Automation

Based on practical experiences, here are strategies to optimize your test automation suite:

Convince Stakeholders

It’s crucial to communicate the importance of testing the right components at the right levels to stakeholders. Ensure they understand the need for a balanced test pyramid to avoid over-reliance on UI tests.

Set Up Test Conditions Without UI

To improve speed, set up test conditions and application states without using the UI. Utilize APIs to control the application state, which can significantly reduce the time required to prepare test environments.

Implement a Formal Triage System

During backlog refinement, determine what to test at each level (unit, integration, and UI). This structured approach ensures that tests are appropriately distributed across the test pyramid.

Automate API Tests

Introduce a proxy between your front-end and back-end to log requests during UI tests. Use these logs to create API tests, which can be automated to reduce manual efforts and improve test coverage.

Practical Implementation Examples

Here are some practical steps to illustrate these strategies:

  • Create example functionalities with a balanced mix of unit, integration, and UI tests.
  • Ensure unit tests mock dependencies and run quickly.
  • Encourage code reviews between application and automation engineers.
  • Expose test status and application stability information in the development area.
  • Maintain close communication between application developers and UI automation developers.


By adopting these strategies, you can create a more efficient and maintainable test automation suite. Reducing the reliance on UI tests and shifting focus to unit and integration tests will improve both speed and reliability.

For a seamless and efficient approach to mobile app testing, consider using Repeato. Repeato is a no-code test automation tool designed for iOS and Android apps. It leverages computer vision and AI to create, run, and maintain automated tests quickly, making it an excellent solution for quality assurance teams looking to streamline their testing processes.

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