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Material UI Testing: Bridging the Gap Between User and Product

The user interface (UI) is the first thing that users see when they arrive at your application. If a website has a poorly arranged or bland UI, users may lose interest in using your application and seek alternatives. This seemingly small factor can significantly deter potential customers. Inspired by the concepts of the material world like depth, elevation, motion, and transition, Material Design is widely used for interface design. Material UI, a React library, adapts the Material Design principles to offer React utilities and components, making it a popular choice among front-end developers. Let’s delve into what Material UI is and how to test applications built using it.

What is Material Design?

Material Design was developed by Google and provides a set of guidelines and design components for creating intuitive, interactive, and visually appealing user interfaces across various platforms and devices. Drawing inspiration from paper-based design guided by grids, scale, space, typography, imagery, and color, Material Design aims to create a hierarchy and immersive experience.

Material Design seeks to create a unified and consistent user experience across digital products such as mobile apps, websites, and desktop applications. It marries classic graphic design principles with modern technology to forge a visually engaging and functional design language. While Material-UI strives to adhere to Material Design as closely as possible, it also offers customization options and additional features to meet the specific needs of React developers. It provides theming capabilities, accessibility considerations, and integration with React ecosystem tools, making it a favored choice for building React-based applications aligned with Material Design principles.

Google, a major advocate of Material Design, has implemented it across its various products, including Google Search, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos, and Google Maps. These applications showcase Material Design principles such as vibrant colors, responsive layouts, and consistent typography. You can also observe Material Design elements in YouTube, which features floating action buttons, card-based layouts, and subtle animations. The interface provides a visually engaging and intuitive experience for users. Another example is Slack, a popular team communication platform, that incorporates Material Design in its interface. It showcases a clean, responsive design, consistent use of colors and typography, and interactive elements adhering to Material Design guidelines.

What is Material UI?

Material UI is a widely used React library for developing web applications, drawing inspiration from Google’s Material Design. It offers a comprehensive collection of pre-designed components that adhere to Material Design principles. Utilizing React’s component-based architecture, Material UI seamlessly integrates with React applications. By leveraging React’s virtual DOM, it ensures efficient rendering and updates, which result in highly performant and responsive interfaces. Material UI allows developers to effortlessly incorporate pre-designed components into their web applications and customize them to align with specific requirements.

This library is consistently updated with new features and offers extensive documentation to facilitate onboarding. If you need a solution that provides out-of-the-box components without requiring heavy coding, Material UI should be your pick.

Benefits of Using Material UI

Opting for Material UI to design your application offers several benefits.

  • Consistent and Professional Look: Using Material UI components, you can achieve a professional, modern look for your application without spending excessive time on custom design.
  • Faster Development: Material UI components can be easily integrated into your project, saving development time and effort. You can utilize the ready-to-use components and focus on implementing business logic instead of building UI elements from scratch.
  • Responsive Design: Material UI supports responsive design principles out of the box. Its components are designed to adapt to different screen sizes and devices, ensuring a seamless experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile platforms. This responsiveness reduces the need for writing custom CSS and handling complex layout issues.
  • Customization and Theming: Material UI offers a powerful theming system that enables you to customize the appearance of your application. You can easily modify colors, typography, spacing, and other visual aspects to align with your brand or design requirements. Material UI’s theming capabilities make it flexible and adaptable to various design styles.
  • Community and Ecosystem: Material UI has a large, active community, making it easier to find support in the form of documentation, tutorial videos, and community advice. The framework also integrates well with other popular libraries and tools in the React ecosystem, allowing for greater development flexibility.
  • Accessibility: Material UI prioritizes accessibility and offers accessible components out of the box. It follows WCAG 2.0 guidelines, ensuring that your application is usable by people with disabilities. By using Material UI, you can enhance your application’s accessibility without needing to address all accessibility concerns from scratch.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Material UI can be used for building web applications, mobile apps using React Native, and even desktop applications. This cross-platform compatibility allows you to leverage a single codebase and design language across multiple platforms, reducing development effort and ensuring consistency.

How to Test Material UI?

Like any other development framework, it is necessary to test your user interface built using Material UI. The React Testing Library, built on top of the DOM Testing Library, is popular for testing components designed using Material UI. Being a lightweight solution, it provides utilities on top of react-dom and react-dom/test-utils, which facilitate querying the DOM in the same way a user would. This approach encourages writing tests that mimic how a user would interact with the application, promoting more robust and maintainable tests. The library is compatible with any testing framework, although Jest is often preferred.

Here is an example of a test using the React Testing Library:
import React from 'react'
import { rest } from 'msw'
import { setupServer } from 'msw/node'
import { render, fireEvent, screen } from '@testing-library/react'
import '@testing-library/jest-dom'
import Fetch from '../fetch'

const server = setupServer(
  rest.get('/greeting', (req, res, ctx) => {
    return res(ctx.json({ greeting: 'hello there' }))

beforeAll(() => server.listen())
afterEach(() => server.resetHandlers())
afterAll(() => server.close())

test('loads and displays greeting', async () => {
  render(<Fetch url="/greeting" />)

  fireEvent.click(screen.getByText('Load Greeting'))

  await screen.findByRole('heading')

  expect(screen.getByRole('heading')).toHaveTextContent('hello there')

test('handles server error', async () => {
    rest.get('/greeting', (req, res, ctx) => {
    return res(ctx.status(500))

render(<Fetch url="/greeting" />)

fireEvent.click(screen.getByText('Load Greeting'))

await screen.findByRole('alert')

expect(screen.getByRole('alert')).toHaveTextContent('Oops, failed to fetch!')

How to Use React Testing Library for Material UI Testing?

To use the React Testing Library for testing Material-UI components, you can follow these general steps:

  1. Install Dependencies: Start by installing the necessary dependencies. You’ll need @testing-library/react and optionally, a testing framework like Jest. You can install them using npm or yarn.
    npm install --save-dev @testing-library/react
  2. Set Up the Test Environment: Create a test file for your Material UI component. In the test file, import the necessary testing utilities and any Material-UI components you want to test. Depending on your testing setup, you may also need to import relevant dependencies, such as React and ReactDOM.
  3. Render the Component: Use the render function from the React Testing Library to render your Material UI component into the testing environment. This action creates a virtual DOM representation of the component for testing purposes. You can also provide any required props or context to simulate different scenarios.
  4. Interact with the Component: Simulate user interactions with the component using the utility functions provided by the React Testing Library. For example, you can use fireEvent.click to simulate a button click or fireEvent.change to simulate user input in an input field. These interactions help to test the behavior of Material UI components based on user actions.
  5. Make Assertions: Use the utility functions from the React Testing Library to query and assert the expected behavior of your Material UI component. For instance, you can use getByTestId or getByRole to select specific elements in the component’s rendered output. Then, use appropriate assertion functions, such as expect from your chosen testing framework, to make assertions about the selected elements’ properties or behavior.
  6. Clean Up: After each test, it’s essential to clean up the rendered component and any associated resources. Use the cleanup function from the React Testing Library to unmount the rendered component and free up resources.
  7. Repeat for Additional Tests: Repeat the above steps for each test scenario or behavior you want to test in your Material-UI component. Write tests that cover different props, states, and user interactions to ensure comprehensive test coverage.

Using Test Automation Tools to Test Material UI

With technologies like cloud and AI at the forefront, you can utilize testRigor test automation tool to examine your application’s UI and much more. testRigor offers a no-code solution, employing its Generative AI engine in which you can write your test cases in plain English statements, as opposed to the code required for using the React Testing Library. These English statements make it easy to reference UI elements such as buttons, input fields, or even tables and their attributes without worrying about implementation details. For example, if you wish to click on a button visible in a particular section of the screen, you can write your command as ‘click “Login” in the top of the screen‘. This simplicity is made possible thanks to testRigor’s powerful AI engine.

testRigor offers a cloud solution that eliminates the need to import any dependencies or perform local setups. You can easily compare screens and perform visual testing, cross-browser and cross-platform testing, which involves web, mobile, and desktop testing, as well as accessibility testing. Since Material Design promotes a unified experience across devices and interfaces, the ability to run tests across multiple devices is necessary. Thanks to testRigor’s integration with different device farms like BrowserStack, you can access over 2000 device-browser combinations on which to run your tests. Other integrations offered include CI frameworks, test case management frameworks, and databases.


Material UI aims to mimic real-world representations of various elements by including accessibility considerations for differently-abled audiences, adding various visual cues and feedback to indicate how users should interact with the product, offering responsive design for a consistent experience, and providing customization and branding options. It promotes a visually consistent and intuitive experience that helps users quickly understand and engage with the product, ultimately enhancing user satisfaction and bridging the gap between user expectations and product functionality. By leveraging Material UI, developers can benefit from a robust and well-designed UI that is visually appealing and user-friendly. When paired with a powerful testing tool like testRigor, the significant burden of maintaining test cases and struggling with collaboration can be eliminated.

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