TransUnion cuts weekly testing time from 30 hours to 2 with Applitools

Applitools' customer service and speed of response to technical issues is second to none.

Johnathan Thomas — TransUnionSenior Engineer - QA


TransUnion, one of the Big Three credit bureaus, needed to automate the testing of its subscription credit monitoring service, in order to better reach more than 500 million consumers and 45,000 businesses in over 33 countries.

When TransUnion decided to increase its release rollouts and move towards continuous deployment, the QA team realized they needed to migrate from manual to automated UI testing and researched different tools.

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Applitools was the clear choice, and now the team spends a fraction of the time they used to spend on testing – roughly two hours as compared to five days per release – freeing them up to focus on features and deployment.

The Challenge

TransUnion has a hard-earned reputation to protect. As one of the Big Three credit reporting agencies in the U.S., TransUnion markets credit reports directly to consumers through an online subscription credit monitoring service.

Since going public in June 2015 and now having to answer to stockholders, the success of TransUnion’s user experience is critical for a competitive edge in the market. With stakes this high, the company can’t afford any user abandonment stemming from problems with the UI.

Beyond credit reporting, TransUnion provides many other products and services to businesses and consumers, such as various offerings around fraud protection. This includes “CreditLock,” which allows individual consumers to unlock and lock their credit through the company’s app. The sheer scope of their offerings through a single membership portal requires an impeccable UI.

With the speed of their releases, the complexity of the information they aggregate and report, the many viewing permutations they have to consider, the volume of business, and their now publicly traded status, TransUnion had to start relying heavily on automated UI testing.

“Before Applitools, we were releasing once a week and it was all manual,” says Jonathan Thomas, Senior QA Engineer at TransUnion. “We were writing hundreds of assertions, which was horrendous. We had to speed up our release schedules and there were only two ways to do it – hire or get automation in place.”

The Solution

To ease the burden of writing all of these user assertions and to help speed up the release cycles, Jonathan started researching automation tools that could handle these visual validations without so much effort from the QA team.

He came across Applitools, and because the team was already using Python and Selenium, it was a natural fit. Applitools was the tool to free them to focus on the user experience as a whole, rather than spending time writing and maintaining hundreds of individual assertion tests.

“Nobody likes running hundreds of assertions that fail,” Jonathan says. “With Applitools, you just a take a snapshot of the page, plus you get a layout.”

The Results

Applitools instantly gave TransUnion a faster and more reliable alternative to performing hundreds of tedious and fallible assertions for each new release.

Where the QA team used to spend 30 hours a week doing functional testing and manual regression testing per release, with Applitools, they are down to about two hours a week spent on these tasks.

So far, they have rolled out Applitools almost completely across one of their main sites, with more on the way. And since they’ve recently switched to a responsive website, it’s even easier with Applitools since there is only one set of pages to test. This would have been impossible to do in the time frame they did – a couple of weeks – without the automation that they put in place, Jonathan says.

Today, Jonathan and the QA team spend most of their time on deployments and other automation. With the visual UI testing handled automatically by Applitools as part of each deployment, which Jonathan says is happening now almost daily, they can rest assured knowing they have the right testing in place for the speed at which they are making changes.

As Jonathan sums up, “It’s so much better to do my job now.”

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