The methodology of User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is pretty straight-forward. The implementation itself requires some in-depth knowledge on the available types of User Acceptance Testing, 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.
Getting started with User Acceptance Testing
If you’re just getting started with User Acceptance Testing, we’ve prepared a UAT testing checklist you can download. It covers everything from preparing your team and your test environment to executing and then evaluating the UAT test.
When & why User Acceptance Testing 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 which unit or integration tests might have missed,
- and they provide an overview on how “done” the system is.
When looking at the process of software development, we can see that UAT is utilised to identify & verify client needs.
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, which verify if specific requirements are working for the user. If the customer and the supplier agree on the product, the software development starts. Legally. And practically.
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 user. The functional dimension is only one of many.
Let me give you an example: Let’s say, Facebook launches a new feature, allowing Facebook users to send postcards to family & friends. Technically the implemented solution works. Testers also can use it – however due to lack of interest and need, no one will want to send printed postcards. Functional tests would go well, 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.
Types of User Acceptance Testing
Now that we’ve clearly separated functional testing from User 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
Alpha & Beta Testing
Alpha Testing normally takes place in the development environment and is usually done by internal 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 the feedback – collected from the alpha testers – development teams then fix certain issues and improve the usability of the product.
Beta Testing, 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?
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 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 analyse 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.
Usersnap offers a free 15-day trial as an easy way to get your testing project started. Sign up now
Contract Acceptance Testing
Contract Acceptance Testing means that a developed software is tested against certain criteria and specifications which are predefined and agreed upon in a contract. The project team defines the relevant criteria and specifications for acceptance at the same time when the team agrees on the contract itself.
Regulation Acceptance Testing
Regulation Acceptance Testing, also known as Compliance Acceptance Testing, examines whether the software complies with the regulations. This includes governmental and legal regulations.
Operational acceptance testing
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, and various maintenance processes and security checks.
Black Box Testing
Black Box Testing is often categorized as functional testing, but can, to some extent, be seen as a type of User Acceptance Testing.
It’s a method of software testing which 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 pretty frequently.
Get Your FREE Usersnap UAT Trial
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.
Last but not least, I wanted to give you a heads-up on Usersnap, which is our very own visual user acceptance testing solution, used by companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.
Start your UAT efforts with a free Usersnap trial.