Current Date :July 21, 2024

A Detailed Guide to Exploratory Testing

Today, every business requires robust, scalable, and high-quality software to provide a great customer experience (CX).

Typically, any hidden bugs in the software can cost companies in terms of customer experience, brand reputation, and business value. This is the cause why companies assure end-to-end testing of their software before releasing it in the market.

There are different kinds of software testing methods that are conducted to review the functional and non-functional parts of the software. While some of these tests are well-planned in advance, such as regression, automation, functional testing, to name a few, some tests like exploratory testing are completely unplanned and are conducted by software testers on the fly.

What is exploratory testing?

Exploratory testing is an effective software testing method wherein testers navigate through the software without any detailed aim in mind. In this testing process, testers review the app/website on the fly to recognize and document possible bugs. Unlike traditional software testing methods, testers do not operate on previously designed test cases while performing this testing process.

The basic concept behind this special testing approach is to let testers imitate individual end-users ’ personal freedom and options. Hence, in this method, testers examine the software to comprehend the product’s quality and user experience. It involves minimal planning as testers spontaneously determine what features and movements to test, thus reflecting the individual interests of end-users. According to James Bach, “Exploratory testing is concurrent learning, test design, and test execution.”

Different types of exploratory testing

Free-style exploratory testing:

This kind of testing follows a freestyle technique to testing and does not incorporate any rules, procedures, or specifications. Simply testers go through the application fast, mainly to recognize defects, confirm the work of other testers, or even conduct a quick smoke test.

Scenario-based exploratory testing:

This form of testing is based on real-user techniques wherein testers take each scenario and then test the software from all angles to check the scenario. The main purpose of this testing kind is to examine the software for maximum potential scenarios and assure to improve the test coverage.

Strategy-based exploratory testing:

This kind of testing is conducted by an experienced tester who has full knowledge of the software under test. It includes different testing procedures such as boundary value analysis,  error guessing, equivalence, risk-based, etc., to recognize more challenging bugs.


Why should businesses leverage exploratory testing?

1. Ensures faster testing:

This testing approach needs less preparation as it does not need any predefined test plans, which implies testers can begin testing early and at a quicker pace.

2. Delivers faster feedback:

Testers conduct this testing method on the fly, allowing speedier feedback.

3. Supports agile environment:

This special testing type can be conducted in an agile environment as it allows changes in prerequisites with faster feedback.

4. Discovers unexpected defects:

This testing procedure helps in discovering unexpected faults or behavior that remain unidentified during other testing procedures.

5. Promotes real-time thinking:

Exploratory testing gets in the human process to software testing as testers examine the app from different angles using real-time thinking and human intelligence.

6. Enables real-time learning:

This testing method permits testers to understand and test the software simultaneously. Thus, testers with less product knowledge can also conduct this test to understand the software while testing it.

How to overcome challenges faced by testers during exploratory testing?

Less traceability:

In this testing methodology, testers do not track any predefined test plan, test process, or test scripts. Also, its documentation is advanced. Hence, it lacks traceability which works as a challenge. To overcome this challenge, testers should log the test as and when it is performed. Also, the test progress should be transferred to stakeholders or fellow testers to keep them advised.

Lack of product knowledge:

This testing type can be conducted by individuals who lack product knowledge, but sometimes this can work as a challenge. Without an appropriate understanding of the product, there is every opportunity of missing some crucial scenarios. Hence, in order to overcome this challenge, it is recommended to incorporate skilled testers into the testing team to conduct this test. It is useful to leverage pair testing, where both testers should be highly skilled, or either one of them should be skilled.

Not knowing when to adopt exploratory testing:

Another challenge in this testing methodology is that sometimes companies don’t know the correct time to adopt and execute it. Since this testing method lacks test cases and is a bit casual, it is not regarded as good for auditing objectives. Therefore, if executed at the wrong time, it can have a negative influence. To overcome this challenge, companies should leverage this test method to discover bugs in the software when time is less. Once the bugs are resolved, this testing method can be used to demonstrate those bugs on the fly. It should not be employed for projects that require more comprehensive test coverage.

This special testing method is conducted manually to a large extent, and its effectiveness relies upon human intelligence. But, as companies continue to leverage test automation, there is constantly a question about whether it can be automated or not when it arrives at exploratory testing.

Exploratory testing tools

1. Tricentis qTest Explorer:

This tool is an easy-to-use software testing tool that facilitates scripted and unscripted testing. It can be employed to capture mouse clicks, field change, page change, etc. This testing tool can follow all interactions during the testing method and automatically creates defect documentation. Testers can easily present detailed bug documentation to Jira by leveraging this tool, which immediately turns test sessions into reusable automated test scripts.

2. Azure Test Plans:

It is a widely used tool that helps to enhance code quality. This tool can be employed to seize rich scenario data, test applications across desktop or web apps, and assure end-to-end traceability of tests.

3. Session Tester:

This tool is used for handling and recording session-based testing. It includes a timer that can set the time limit of test sessions to a certain length. This testing tool lets easy recording of session notes. These session notes are kept in XML format and can easily be converted to other formats.

4. Exploratory Testing Chrome Extension:

It is a chrome extension that is employed for web exploratory testing. This extension can be employed to report bugs, take notes, capture screenshots during the session, and more. This testing tool can easily summarize session reports that can be kept and imported if needed.

5. Bug Magnet:

An open-source extension for Chrome and Firefox lets easy access to standard boundaries and edge cases. This tool functions on input fields, text areas, content editable DIVs. Testers can inject values using JavaScript or clipboard events to affect user workflows employing this tool.

Also Read: Significance Of Functional Testing For Businesses In Agile & DevOps


Exploratory testing is a practical method of software testing that keeps time and brings human intelligence, critical reasoning, and analytical skills to best use. It is mainly employed in an agile environment where timelines are short, and teams are expected to deliver high-quality products quickly. While this testing process entirely depends on the tester’s intelligence and experience, it can be incorporated with test automation approaches using different automated testing tools to improve testing efficiency. Companies should leverage exploratory testing from a next-gen QA and independent software testing services provider for quicker quality software releases and to deliver a great experience to clients.

Need to implement exploratory testing? Think no more! TestUnity provides the testing services on-demand, serves with projects of any scale, and is ready to start with a few days’ advance notice. Choose to team up with a QA services provider like TestUnity. Our team of testing experts specializes in QA and has years of experience implementing tests with different testing software. Get in touch with a TestUnity expert today.


Testunity is a SaaS-based technology platform driven by a vast community of testers & QAs spread around the world, powered by technology & testing experts to create the dedicated testing hub. Which is capable of providing almost all kind of testing services for almost all the platforms exists in software word.

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