Exploratory Testing: Unleashing Creativity in Quality Assurance

When it comes to Quality Assurance (QA), conventional solutions usually involve planning and strictly defined and coordinated approaches that strictly adhere to particular test scenarios tailored to validate specific features of a product. While these methods are very crucial to guarantee reliability and stability, definitely they may not capture the unexpected bugs or poor usability that the true users of the product may find. This is where we come to exploratory testing which lacks rigidity and proactivity and instead relies on the creativity and gut feelings of the testers.

What is Exploratory Testing?

Exploratory testing can therefore be described as a dynamic and flexible way of testing software since it offers testers the license to freely navigate through the application under test and perform tests based on their observations. Exploratory testing does not restrict testers to execute tests that are laid down and have been prepared in advance, unlike in scripted testing where the tests are well laid down and the manner of executing the tests is also well prescribed.

Pros and Cons of Exploratory Testing



  • As these types of tests are not planned in advance, the testing can be done when because of some effects or other reasons the requirement documentation, cannot be accessed easily.
  • For short courses it is effective and does not require a lot planning; essential insects are quickly determined.
  • The testing technique that comes with the maximum of defects is this testing, when compared to standard regression testing because it is only done based on the set test cases of regression testing.
  • This may be another form of testing that may be conducted by the management team and stakeholders since testing of this strategy does not involve scripting.
  • Exploratory testing used during frequent transitions, and during the periods of conducting frequent deployment, may convey information in a limited time.


  • Since exploratory testing is a basic approach to testing, then one can easily deduce that its hinges on the tester’s background, expertise, and IQ.
  • The lack of any technical documentation before doing exploratory testing could have some negative impacts, as it is identified that no document is created before doing exploratory testing in the long-term project.
  • It becomes cumbersome to go back to test cases as this means that there are possibilities of missing some important bugs.

The Role of Creativity

Exploratory testing is all about the creativity and intuition of a tester and it is not about comprehensive documentation and coverage of specific tests and test cases. Although most of testing is done based on scripts most testers know how to approach it creatively by engaging their expertise in the field in order to come up with conditions where various problems may arise. It offers testers the flexibility to imitate real customer experiences thus their agenda embraces finding associated usability concerns, new scenarios, and latent flaws not evident in other testing methods.

Exploratory testing: When and How to Use it?

It is said that Exploratory Testing is practiced in some of the phases of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Exploratory testing is considered as very useful in the agile development environment where the sprints are short and the builds are released very frequently in order to provide testing feedback and report the bugs found to the developers immediately in the same sprint. Some possible benefits of exploratory testing for testers include the ability to learn from them and the use of the acquired information during subsequent tests and test case design. Such investigation and observation of system leads to the design of test cases After developing the test cases, they can be planned to be automated and then added to the regression suite.

Until now we know that exploratory testing simply means testing done with the intent to explore. Unlike the test first approach where exploratory testing is conducted to gain knowledge about product features, exploratory testing is also conducted to gain knowledge about the needs of customers. When using a software for the purpose of getting good quality bench marking, the better way to do so is by mastering the pertinent software by the end user mode. Exploratory testing does not follow a pre-described methodology but the below illustration will show in a format of a model that most testers use.


Exploratory testing’s primary principles: 

1. Adaptability:

Exploratory testing is also very flexible; an observer or tester can quickly change the pattern of testing based on the new information that has been gained or observed while testing. It makes the work of a tester flexible since he or she can devote the majority of efforts to the crucial sections of the application.

2. Learning-Oriented:

Exploratory testing is testing in its most open and heuristic form; it is a learning process first. Testers come to each testing session with an exploratory attitude to learn more about the application and find potential enhancements. Each testing session is a chance to get more knowledge and improve conditions for testing in the next iterations.

3. Risk-Based:

Exploratory testing on the other hand involves prioritizing areas of the application based on certain risk factors that are deemed to be critical. Testers always devote their time and effort to priorities or the aspect of the application that is most prone to errors, including those that are likely to give the program fatal flaws; the aim is to ensure that these areas are adequately tested, and any glitches that may arise therein are tackled before moving to other minor zones. This risk-based approach assists in the enhancement of the testing strategy employed in an organization as well as the identification of the best strategy for test coverage.

4. Collaboration:

Exploratory testing represents an effective approach that promotes communication among testers, developers, and other individuals. When working in teams, ideas and problems can be discussed more openly, and overall experience can be utilized to facilitate solving more problems. This also fosters the development of an understanding of the application, its panels, and requirements that aid in making the best decisions with reference to testing.

Real-Time Example of Exploratory Testing


You know, understanding the sheer magnitude of such numbers we say “Seeing is believing”, don’t we? You may still be wondering if there is a glimpse of what exploratory testing looks like. It seems like virtually exploring an application and charting your way across town to soar without having to rely on someone else’s instructions. This means that testers do not already have a built-in body of test cases and they get a kind of ‘memo’ as to what has to be tested.

  • Login
  • Search and filter
  • Outlets nearby
  • Restaurant selection
  • Choosing what food to include in the cart Moreover, there are times when some of these options may include the following:
  • Modifying cart
  • Promo codes
  • Payment Gateway
  • Delivery Tracking

Compared to product exploratory testing if possible testing should begin from the first box/dimension such as the Login Box and then go to the next dimension. General testing would also be embraced while following the testing according to the end user’s perspective in the following manner; Recall however that speed and accuracy are the two major issues in such applications.

If the food delivery app was linked with multiple restaurants and dishes, then the exploratory tester has to use different test data. Two of the areas which are more concerned here concerning security are the login and the payment gateway and it is very important to test some of the aspects of this using various testing techniques. However, exploration requires creativity and analysis two things that exploratory testing demands most.


Exploratory testing is a disciplinary model that gives testers free rein to unleash their imagination and instincts for improving quality. Exploratory testing can then be used to optimize a scenario and identify bugs or issues hidden by automation, improve test coverage, optimize user experience, and thus, improve the quality of software products; all of this provided that teams adopt change, learning, collaboration, and risk-based testing principles. Even as technological advancement is in constant progress, exploratory testing is also set to be a reliable and important weapon in the quiver of QA for several years to come.

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