What is use case testing

31 May 2018
Use case testing in software development

Use case testing is a crucial component of software testing. It provides a detailed description of how a specific user interacts with the system, making it an essential tool for ensuring comprehensive coverage of the system under test.

Why is use case testing important in software testing?

Use case testing provides a description of how a specific user interacts with the system. It is important to identify test cases that cover the entire system under test interaction from start to finish. Use cases are used to define and organise functional requirements and help ensure that requirements from the end user’s point of view are captured. Real system needs can be identified earlier in the design process since use cases focus on users rather than the system itself.

In a use case, there will be a set of actions for the user to complete. The actions can be:

  • Withdraw funds,
  • Balance enquiry,
  • Balance transfer, and/or
  • Other actions relating to the software that is being developed.

Use Case Example

When developing use cases, a test case table is usually developed. There will be a success scenario as well as the steps that the user should complete. Examples of the steps can be:

  • Insert card,
  • Validates card and asks for a PIN,
  • Enters a PIN,
  • Validates a Pin, and
  • Allows access to the account.

Following this, there will also be a list of extensions within the table. It could happen, for example, that upon validating the card, the system determines that something is incorrect. The extensions can be listed as follows:

  • 2a) Card not valid (Display message and reject card),
  • 3a) Pin not valid (Display message and ask for re-try – twice), and
  • 4a) Pin invalid 3 times (eat card and exit).

Many times, software testers and developers refer to users as ‘actors’. Use cases are associated with the following:

  • Actors (human users, external hardware or other components or systems), and
  • Subjects (the component or system to which the use case is applied).

Each use case specifies some behaviour that a subject can perform in collaboration with one or more actors.

A use case specifies a type of behaviour that a subject can perform in collaboration with one or more actors, and it can be described by interactions and activities as well as preconditions, postconditions and natural language where appropriate.

In conclusion, use case testing is a powerful tool in the realm of software testing. It provides a user-centric approach that ensures the system under test aligns with the end user’s requirements and expectations. By focusing on real-world scenarios, use case testing allows for comprehensive coverage and enhances the quality and reliability of the software. Whether you’re a developer, a tester, or a stakeholder, understanding and implementing use case testing can significantly contribute to the success of your project.

Sastri Munsamy

Executive: Technology and Innovation for Inspired Testing

Sastri is a passionate and engaging mentor, educator and speaker with extensive experience of real-world testing and automation projects. He has worked in the consultancy industry for over 17 years. He has implemented test automation on various systems ranging from desktop, Web, SAP and mobile applications in multiple industries across the world, with an emphasis on defining an efficient and profitable automation strategy. As a mentor, Munsamy has hosted testing community meetups in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and has guest spoken at numerous industry events.


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