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5 Types of User Acceptance Testing (UAT) + Free Templates

5 Types of User Acceptance Testing + Template

The methodology of User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is pretty straightforward. The implementation itself requires some in-depth knowledge of the available types of User Acceptance Testing tools, though.

User Acceptance Testing is the process of verifying that a created solution/software works for ‘the user’. This might sound easy enough, but, in practice, it isn’t.

To make your journey into User Acceptance Testing a bit easier, we researched the 5 most common types of User Acceptance Testing you have to consider.

5 types of UAT testing

Now that we’ve clearly separated functional testing from the User acceptance testing process from Acceptance Testing, we can look at the various types of User Acceptance Testing. The following User Acceptance Testing Types exist:

  • Alpha & Beta Testing
  • Contract Acceptance Testing
  • Regulation Acceptance Testing
  • Operational Acceptance Testing
  • Black Box Testing

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1. Alpha & Beta testing

Alpha Testing normally takes place in the development environment and is usually done by an internal testing team or staff. Long before the product is even released to external testers or customers. Also potential user groups might conduct Alpha Tests, but the important thing here is that it takes place in the development environment.

Based on test data and the feedback – collected from the alpha testers – development teams then fix certain issues and improve the usability of the product.

Beta Testing: The testing process, also known as “field testing”, takes place in the customer’s environment and involves some extensive testing by a group of customers who use the system in their environment. These beta testers then provide feedback, which in turn leads to improvements of the product.

Alpha and Beta Testing are done before the software is released to all customers.

Is there a tool for that?

Yes, there is a User Acceptance Testing tool for that!

Did you email me the spreadsheet with the beta test results?

Asking testers via email to provide their test results is still a popular way to conduct and run alpha/beta tests.

And yet you’re probably wondering, “But isn’t there a better solution for that?” Luckily, there is.

Usersnap – Your testers will love it

Usersnap is a great solution for asking alpha and beta testers for feedback.

It’s an easy-to-use UAT solution that helps QA teams verify if a certain system testing solution works for the user. By having a simple feedback widget, alpha and beta testers can provide comprehensive feedback on a software prototype.

With Usersnap, UAT teams can easily gather and analyze qualitative feedback from testers. And for testers, it’s super-easy to work through a first alpha or beta test, as they can simply draw on their screen to provide feedback.

Screen Capture User Feedback Tool

2. Contract acceptance testing (CAT)

Contract Acceptance Testing means that developed software is tested against certain acceptance criteria and specifications that are predefined and agreed upon in a contract. The project team defines the relevant criteria and specifications for acceptance at the same time as the team agrees on the contract itself.

Contract Acceptance Testing is a critical phase in software development. It involves testing the developed software against predetermined acceptance criteria and specifications outlined in the contract.

These criteria are established during contract negotiations, ensuring that the software aligns with the client’s expectations and contractual obligations.

This process enhances transparency, trust, and project accountability, ultimately contributing to successful project outcomes.

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3. Regulation acceptance testing (RAT)

Regulation Acceptance Testing, also known as Compliance Acceptance Testing, examines whether the software complies with the regulations. This includes governmental and business objectives and legal regulations.

4. Operational acceptance testing (OAT)

Also known as Operational Readiness Testing or Production Acceptance Testing, these test cases ensure there are workflows in place to allow the software or system to be used.

This should include workflows for backup plans, user training, system testing phase and various maintenance processes and security checks.

5. Black Box Testing

Black Box Testing is often categorized as functional user acceptance testing tools, but can, to some extent, be seen as a type of User Acceptance Testing.

It’s a method of software testing that analyzes certain functionalities without letting testers see the internal code structure. Black Box Testing is part of User Acceptance Testing because Black Box Tests share the same principles as UAT.

During Black Box Tests the user isn’t aware of any code base, but only about the requirements which the software should meet.

Testers do not require any specific knowledge about the application or any of its features. The tester conducting Black Box Tests is only aware of what the software is supposed to do. They don’t know how it should be done.

Many QA and development teams use Black Box Testing for their UAT efforts integration testing, pretty frequently.

When & why User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is needed?

An acceptance test can be understood as a way to check if a previously defined “contract” between the developer and the client is still on track.

Running those acceptance tests also ensures that no requirement change has happened in the meantime and that everything is as it should be to satisfy the client

Acceptance tests are useful because:

  • they capture user requirements in a directly verifiable way,
  • they identify problems that unit or integration tests might have missed,
  • and they provide an overview of how “done” the system is.

When looking at the process of software development, we can see that UAT is utilized to identify & verify client needs.

Software development process and testing methodologies

How is User Acceptance Testing (UAT) different from functional testing?

Now you’re probably wondering about the differences between User Acceptance Testing and functional testing.

User Acceptance Tests consist of a set of test steps that verify if specific business requirements are working for the user. If the customer and the supplier agree on the product, the software development starts. Legally. And practically.

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Functional testing, on the other hand, tests specific requirements and specifications of the software. It lacks the user component. A functional test could conclude that the software meets its specifications.

However, it doesn’t verify if it actually works for the end user. The functional dimension is only one of many.

There are a lot of user acceptance testing examples, here’s one: Let’s say Facebook launches a new feature allowing Facebook users to send postcards to family & friends. Technically, the implemented solution works. Testers also test scenarios can use it – however, due to a lack of interest and need, no one will want to send printed postcards. Functional tests would go well, and usability tests would go fine, too, but the user acceptance test would probably fail as Facebook users do not demand to send postcards within Facebook.

UAT vs different types of system testing

In this section, we will explore User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and compare it to various other types of system testing, including System Integration Testing (SIT), Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT), Quality Assurance Testing (QAT/QA), Production Testing, Regression Testing, Staging Testing, and Unit Testing.

We will highlight the differences between UAT and each of these testing types, along with examples of test cases and business requirements for a better understanding of each case.

UAT vs System Integration Testing (SIT)

System Integration Testing (SIT) is a crucial phase in software testing that focuses on verifying the correct interaction and integration of different system components. Unlike User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which assesses the software from an end-user perspective, SIT ensures that the individual components work harmoniously together to deliver the expected functionalities.

The main difference is that while UAT evaluates the software’s usability and functionality from the user’s viewpoint, SIT concentrates on verifying that system components integrate correctly and communicate as intended.

SIT does not assess user satisfaction or acceptance but rather ensures the technical interoperability of these components.

Test Cases Example:

  • UAT: Ensure that users can successfully log in using their credentials.
  • SIT: Verify that various system components (e.g., database, authentication service) integrate correctly.

Business Requirements Example:

  • UAT: Users must be able to log in within 10 seconds.
  • SIT: The system should handle 1000 concurrent user logins without errors.

UAT vs Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT)

Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT) evaluates whether a software system can operate efficiently in its intended operational environment. Unlike User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which assesses user-centric aspects, OAT delves into the system’s ability to withstand various operational scenarios, such as hardware failures or disaster recovery situations.

The primary distinction is that UAT focuses on end-user satisfaction, whereas OAT is concerned with the software’s robustness and resilience in real-world operational conditions. OAT ensures that the system can continue to function effectively, even in adverse situations, rather than just meeting user expectations.

Test Cases Example:

  • UAT: Confirm that the user can create and submit an order.
  • OAT: Check if the system can recover gracefully from hardware failures.

Business Requirements Example:

  • UAT: Users must complete an order in less than 5 minutes.
  • OAT: The system should have a documented disaster recovery plan with a maximum downtime of 1 hour.

UAT vs Quality Assurance Testing (QAT/QA)

Quality Assurance Testing (QAT/QA) is a comprehensive testing phase that encompasses various testing types, including functional, performance, security, and usability testing. Unlike User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which focuses on user satisfaction, QAT/QA covers a broader spectrum of quality-related aspects to ensure a high-quality software product.

The primary difference lies in the scope and objectives. UAT evaluates the software from a user’s perspective, whereas QAT/QA aims to guarantee the overall quality and reliability of the software by conducting various tests to identify defects, vulnerabilities, and performance issues.

Test Cases Example:

  • UAT: Validate that the shopping cart calculates the correct total amount.
  • QAT/QA: Conduct comprehensive testing, including functional, performance, security, and usability tests.

Business Requirements Example:

  • UAT: The shopping cart should accurately calculate the total, including discounts.
  • QAT/QA: The application should pass all OWASP security tests and load tests with a response time of under 2 seconds.

UAT vs Production Testing

Production Testing involves monitoring and testing a live software system in its actual production environment. In contrast to User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which evaluates the software before release, Production Testing assesses how the software performs under real-world conditions and ensures its reliability and availability.

The key distinction is the timing and environment. UAT occurs before the software is released to users, while Production Testing takes place in the live production environment after release. Production Testing aims to ensure that the software functions correctly in its real operational setting, whereas UAT focuses on user satisfaction during development.

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Test Cases Example:

  • UAT: Confirm that user registration emails are sent promptly.
  • Production Testing: Monitor the live system to ensure it’s performing as expected in the real environment.

Business Requirements Example:

  • UAT: Registration confirmation emails should be sent within 1 minute.
  • Production Testing: The system should maintain 99.99% uptime.

UAT vs Regression Testing

Regression Testing is a software testing technique that aims to verify that recent code changes have not negatively impacted existing functionality. Unlike User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which focuses on user satisfaction, Regression Testing is concerned with maintaining the stability and integrity of the software as it evolves.

The primary difference is the purpose and scope. UAT assesses the software’s overall functionality and user satisfaction, while Regression Testing concentrates on preventing the introduction of new defects as code changes are made. It ensures that existing features continue to work as expected.

Test Cases Example:

  • UAT: Verify that a software update does not affect the user’s ability to make purchases.
  • Regression Testing: Re-run previously passed test cases after a change to ensure existing functionality still works.

Business Requirements Example:

  • UAT: Users should be able to complete purchases without errors.
  • Regression Testing: All existing functionality should remain unaffected by code changes.

UAT vs Staging Testing

Staging Testing is a phase in software testing where the application is tested in an environment that closely mimics the production environment before it is deployed. While User Acceptance Testing (UAT) assesses the software from an end-user perspective, Staging Testing ensures that the software operates flawlessly in an environment that mirrors the production setup.

The main difference is the testing environment and purpose. UAT focuses on user satisfaction and validation of requirements, whereas Staging Testing is about ensuring that the software works correctly in an environment that resembles the production system, serving as a final check before deployment.

Test Cases Example:

  • UAT: Validate that the new website design meets user expectations.
  • Staging Testing: Test the application in an environment identical to the production environment before deployment.

Business Requirements Example:

  • UAT: Users should find the new design visually appealing.
  • Staging Testing: The staging environment should mirror the production environment’s configuration.

UAT vs. Unit Testing

Unit Testing is the testing of individual components or units of code in isolation. Unlike User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which evaluates the software’s overall functionality, Unit Testing focuses on verifying the correctness of small code units. It is the earliest stage of testing in the software development process.

The primary difference is the scope and granularity. UAT assesses the software as a whole from a user’s perspective, while Unit Testing isolates and tests individual code units. Unit Testing is typically developer-centric and aims to identify defects in code components before they impact the broader system.

Test Cases Example:

  • UAT: Ensure that the user can view their order history.
  • Unit Testing: Test individual code units (e.g., functions, methods) in isolation.

Business Requirements Example:

  • UAT: Users must see a list of their previous orders.
  • Unit Testing: All functions related to order history retrieval should return accurate data.

Understanding the distinctions between UAT and these various testing types is crucial for effective software quality assurance and ensuring that the software meets both user expectations and business requirements.

Each type of testing serves a specific purpose within the software development lifecycle.

UAT testing checklist for download

If you’re just getting started with User Acceptance Testing, we’ve prepared a UAT testing checklist for you. You can download it and export it as a PDF.

It covers everything from preparing your test plan, team, and your test environment to executing and then evaluating the UAT test.

free user acceptance testing checklist

UAT templates from Usersnap’s library

Usersnap offers a free templates to streamline your testing process. It includes pre-defined scenarios, checkboxes for tracking progress, and collaboration features to ensure your software aligns with user expectations before beta release.

Usersnap’s UAT template form simplifies documentation. It captures testing details, scenarios, and progress, fostering collaboration and integration with your development workflow for iterative improvements pre-release.

Usersnap survey templates website offering

Get Your FREE Usersnap UAT trial now

Of course, there are more types of User Acceptance Testing. I hope that by providing you with our basic overview of 5 types of User Acceptance Testing, we shed some light into the darkness of UAT.

We have 100% faith that user feedback will help companies strive, therefore we allow you to try out Usersnap for free, for real – no credit card, no time limit, no gated features. Once you have experienced the power of collecting and acting on user feedback, we then prompt you to select a paid plan.

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Getting feedback has never been easier and we hope you’ve realized that after reading this article. Let us know what you think, your feedback is important.

And if you’re ready to try out a customer feedback software, Usersnap offers a free trial. Sign up today or book a demo with our feedback specialists.