Getting Started: How to Determine the Best UI and E2E Functional Automation Coverage

Getting Started: How to Determine the Best UI and E2E Functional Automation Coverage

In UI application test automation, achieving comprehensive test coverage can be challenging due to time and resource constraints. Therefore, it's essential to focus on the most critical areas and ensure efficient coverage. This tutorial provides a framework for approaching functional regression test coverage and emphasizes best practices for identifying and selecting the top N test cases based on business needs, priorities, risks, defect history, and team capacity.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding the Application
  3. Categorizing Test Cases
    - Smoke Testing
    - Critical Path Testing
    - Regression Testing
  4. Identifying Top N Test Cases
  5. Prioritization Factors
  6. Test Case Maintenance
  7. Conclusion


Functional regression testing aims to verify that the existing functionality of a UI application remains intact after changes or updates. While it's impossible to cover every scenario, prioritizing test cases is crucial to maximize test coverage and efficiently allocate resources.

Understanding the Application

Before embarking on functional regression test coverage for a UI application, it's imperative to gain a deep understanding of the application. This understanding is the foundation upon which your testing strategy will be built. Here are some key steps and considerations for comprehending the application:

1. Reviewing Requirements:

Begin by thoroughly reviewing the requirements for the UI application. This includes:

  • User Stories: Examine the user stories and their associated acceptance criteria. These define what the application is expected to do and how users interact with it.

  • Functional Requirements: Understand the detailed functional requirements that are part of the project documentation. These requirements provide insights into the specific features and behavior expected in the application.

  • Business Goals: Be aware of the overarching business goals that the application serves. Knowing the bigger picture helps in aligning your testing efforts with the organization's objectives.

2. Identifying Critical Use Cases:

Identify the critical use cases or user flows that are fundamental to the application's core functionality. These are the pathways that users most frequently traverse and are essential for the application to deliver value. Consider the following:

  • User Personas: Different users may have distinct critical paths. For instance, an e-commerce application may have critical paths for shoppers, administrators, and customer support.

  • Core Features: Identify the features that are integral to the application's primary purpose. In an email application, sending and receiving emails would be core features.

  • User Expectations: Focus on what users expect the application to do without fail. For example, in a banking app, users expect their balance to be accurate, and they expect to be able to transfer funds reliably.

3. Risk Assessment:

Conduct a risk assessment to determine which areas of the application are more likely to contain defects or vulnerabilities. This is crucial because you should allocate more testing resources to areas with higher risk. Consider:

  • Historical Data: Review past testing and development phases to identify patterns of recurring issues or defects. Areas with a history of problems may require more attention.

  • Complexity: Evaluate the complexity of different parts of the application. Highly complex areas are more likely to have defects.

  • Third-Party Integrations: If the application interacts with third-party services or APIs, potential issues in these integrations should be given special consideration.

4. User Feedback and Expectations:

Collect user feedback, either from previous releases or through user testing. This feedback can provide valuable insights into which features are most critical from the user's perspective.

  • Surveys and Usability Testing: Conduct surveys or usability testing to understand user preferences and expectations. This can help prioritize features that are most important to users.

  • Customer Support Data: Analyze data from customer support interactions to identify common issues and areas where users frequently encounter problems.

Consider any legal or regulatory requirements that apply to the application. Failure to comply with these requirements can have significant consequences, so prioritize tests that ensure compliance with relevant laws and standards.

Understanding the application in-depth not only helps in creating an effective regression test strategy but also improves the overall quality of your testing efforts. It allows you to allocate resources wisely and focus on areas that matter the most to your users and the success of your application.

Categorizing Test Cases

Categorizing test cases is a crucial step in designing an effective regression testing strategy for a UI application. By organizing test cases into categories, you can prioritize and focus your testing efforts more efficiently. In UI application testing, categorization typically involves three primary categories: Smoke Testing, Critical Path Testing, and Regression Testing.

Smoke Testing:

Smoke tests are the initial checks to ensure that the most critical and basic functionalities of the application are working. They serve as a quick litmus test to identify show-stopping issues early in the testing process.

Key Characteristics:

  1. Core Functionality: Smoke tests focus on the core functionality that must always work correctly. They are the bare minimum to consider the application ready for more extensive testing.

  2. Speed: Smoke tests are designed to be executed rapidly, providing a fast indication of the application's overall health.

  3. Minimal Depth: They may not go deep into the features but ensure that the most fundamental actions, like login and basic navigation, are functioning as expected.

Examples of Smoke Tests:

  • Verify the application can launch successfully.
  • Confirm basic user authentication (login) works.
  • Ensure the application's homepage loads without errors.
  • Validate core navigation functionalities are functioning correctly.

Critical Path Testing:

Critical path tests focus on user journeys and features that are vital for the core functionality of the application. These tests ensure that the primary user flows work without issues.

Key Characteristics:

  1. User-Centric: Critical path tests are designed to mimic the most common user interactions and paths. They mirror the typical user experience closely.

  2. Core Workflows: They cover the critical workflows or processes that drive the core functionality of the application. For example, in an e-commerce application, this could involve end-to-end order processing.

  3. End-to-End Testing: Critical path tests often span multiple pages or screens, covering the entire user journey from start to finish.

Examples of Critical Path Tests:

  • End-to-end order processing in an e-commerce application.
  • Payment processing, including payment gateways and order confirmation.
  • Data submission and retrieval, as in a content management system.

Regression Testing:

Regression tests have a broader scope and are designed to verify that changes in one area of the application do not negatively impact functionality elsewhere. They focus on ensuring that existing features remain intact after new changes or updates.

Key Characteristics:

  1. Comprehensive Coverage: Regression tests cover a broad set of features and functionalities. They aim to validate the stability of the entire application.

  2. Change Validation: These tests are particularly useful for confirming that recent changes or new features have not introduced regressions in existing functionalities.

  3. Risk-Based: The selection of regression test cases is often based on a risk assessment, focusing more on areas with a higher likelihood of regression due to recent changes.

Examples of Regression Tests:

  • Testing core functionalities like user registration, which should not be affected by changes in other parts of the application.
  • Verifying that existing reports or dashboards remain accurate after updates to underlying data structures.
  • Ensuring that user profiles and preferences are maintained after changes to the application's settings.

Identifying Top N Test Cases

Identifying the "Top N" test cases for your UI application's regression testing suite is a critical step in ensuring that your limited resources are focused on the most important areas of the application. The specific value of "N" should be determined based on various factors, including business needs, risk assessment, defect history, user priorities, and team capacity. Here's a more detailed look at the process of identifying these top test cases:

1. Prioritization Factors:

To determine which test cases make it into the "Top N," consider a combination of key prioritization factors:

a. Business Needs:

Focus on features that directly impact business goals, revenue, or customer satisfaction.

  • Examples: High-priority tests might include the checkout process in an e-commerce app or the critical workflows in a financial application. These are areas that, if affected, could lead to a loss of revenue or customer dissatisfaction.

b. Risk Analysis:

Identify areas where previous defects or issues have occurred, as these are more likely to have regressions.

  • Examples: If a particular module or functionality has historically been prone to issues, it should be given higher priority in regression testing. Areas with complex code or third-party integrations are also considered higher risk.

c. Defect History:

Prioritize test cases that cover functionality related to past defects.

  • Examples: If a past defect affected a specific feature or module, it's essential to include comprehensive test coverage for that area to ensure the issue doesn't recur.

d. User Priorities:

Consider which features are most important to your users or customers.

  • Examples: If users frequently use a specific feature or if that feature significantly affects their overall experience, it should be prioritized. For example, a social media application might prioritize testing for posting updates and comments.

e. Team Capacity:

Assess the available resources and time to execute test cases.

  • Examples: If you have limited resources or tight release schedules, you may need to adjust the "Top N" based on what your team can realistically execute. This involves a balance between comprehensive coverage and available capacity.

2. Priority Scoring:

To create a ranked list of test cases, you can assign scores or weights to each prioritization factor. For example:

  • High Priority: Assign a score of 3 or 5.
  • Medium Priority: Assign a score of 2.
  • Low Priority: Assign a score of 1.

Then, calculate the total priority score for each test case by summing the scores for each factor. This results in a ranked list where test cases with the highest total scores are your "Top N" test cases.

3. Collaboration and Consensus:

In practice, it's crucial to involve key stakeholders, including developers, product managers, and business analysts, in the prioritization process. Collaborative discussions and consensus-building sessions can help ensure that the right test cases are selected based on a shared understanding of the application's importance and risk.

4. Regular Review and Adjustment:

Regression test case priorities should be reviewed and adjusted regularly. As the application evolves, new features are added, and priorities may change. Test cases that were once critical may become less so, while new areas may emerge as high-priority. Therefore, it's essential to revisit and revise your regression test suite as part of each testing cycle.

5. Document and Communicate:

Document the rationale behind the selection of the "Top N" test cases, along with the priority scores for each case. This documentation can serve as a reference for the team and help facilitate future discussions. Clear communication of the selected test cases and priorities to the testing team is essential to ensure that everyone is aligned on the testing strategy.

By following these steps and taking a holistic approach to prioritizing test cases, you can create a "Top N" regression test suite that maximizes test coverage while efficiently using your available resources. This approach helps ensure that you are addressing the most critical aspects of your UI application and reducing the risk of regressions in essential functionality.

Prioritization Factors

To prioritize test cases effectively, create a matrix that combines the factors mentioned earlier. Assign weightings to each factor based on their importance in your specific context. For example:

Test CaseBusiness NeedsRiskDefect HistoryPriority

The test cases with the highest priority scores become your "Top N" test cases.

Test Case Maintenance

Keep your regression suite up-to-date. As the application evolves, regularly review and adjust your regression test cases. Remove obsolete cases, update tests for changes, and add new ones as required.


Effective regression test coverage in UI application automation requires a strategic approach. Prioritize test cases based on business needs, risk, defect history, user priorities, and team capacity. Continuously assess and adapt your regression suite to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

By following these best practices, you can maximize test coverage and make the most of your resources while maintaining the integrity of your UI application./>


Testingfly is my spot for sharing insights and experiences, with a primary focus on tools and technologies related to test automation and governance.


Want to give your thoughts or chat about more ideas? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Instead of authenticating the giscus application, you can also comment directly on GitHub.

Related Articles

Testing iFrames using Playwright

Automated testing has become an integral part of web application development. However, testing in Safari, Apple's web browser, presents unique challenges due to the browser's strict Same-Origin Policy (SOP), especially when dealing with iframes. In this article, we'll explore known issues related to Safari's SOP, discuss workarounds, and demonstrate how Playwright, a popular automation testing framework, supports automated testing in this context.

Overview of SiteCore for Beginners

Sitecore is a digital experience platform that combines content management, marketing automation, and eCommerce. It's an enterprise-level content management system (CMS) built on ASP.NET. Sitecore allows businesses to create, manage, and publish content across all channels using simple tools.