Bold statement right? But of all forms of testing, user acceptance testing is often the most essential to get right. Why? Because when implemented correctly, it’s the most effective in reducing both time and cost, whilst increasing customer satisfaction. User Acceptance Testing, also known as UAT (or UAT testing), in a nutshell, is:
A process of verifying that a solution works for the user.
And the key word here, is user. This is crucial because they’re the people who will use the software on a daily basis. There are many aspects to consider with respect to software functionality.
- Does the application crash?
- Do all the functions accept the correct inputs and give the correct outputs?
- Does the application consume only the minimum amount of resources?
- What’s the load time of the application?
Whilst these are valid and essential, ultimately they’re quite meaningless – if the application doesn’t perform as the end user expects. As software artisans, we need to avoid situations such as:
- Can the user use the software?
- Is it really what they asked for?
- Do they have trouble using it?
- Does it behave exactly as anticipated?
What Is User Acceptance Testing?
I’ll keep it simple; according to Techopedia, UAT (some people call it UAT testing as well) is:
User acceptance testing (UAT) is the last phase of the software testing process. During UAT, actual software users test the software to make sure it can handle required tasks in real-world scenarios, according to specifications. UAT is one of the final and critical software project procedures that must occur before newly developed software is rolled out to the market.
User acceptance testing (UAT), otherwise known as Beta, Application, or End-User Testing, is often considered the last phase in the web development process, the one before final installation of the software on the client site, or final distribution of it.
UAT is the usage of the software by people from the intended audience and recording and correcting of any defects which are discovered. It’s the closest thing to a “_real world_” test available. It gives users the chance to interact with the software and find out if everything works as it should if features have been overlooked, miscommunicated, not communicated, and so on.
DevelopMentor puts it most succinctly when they describe user acceptance testing (UAT) as:
The goal of User Acceptance Testing is to assess if the system can support day-to-day business and user scenarios and ensure the system is sufficient and correct for business usage.
When Should You Start User Acceptance Testing
Whilst UAT – User Acceptance Testing – is essential, typically, it’s not able to be undertaken until the application is largely feature-complete. Guru99 lists 10 prerequisites, which must be met before UAT can begin. These are:
- Business Requirements must be available
- Application Code should be fully developed
- Unit Testing, Integration Testing & System Testing should be completed
- No Show stoppers, or High or Medium defects in the System Integration Test Phase
- Only Cosmetic errors are acceptable before UAT
- Regression Testing should be completed with no major defects
- All the reported defects should be fixed and tested
- Traceability matrix for all testing should be completed
- UAT Environment must be ready
- Sign off mail or communication from System Testing Team that the system is ready for UAT execution
Who should be involved in User Acceptance testing?
The most important peer group to include in UAT testing are “real” end users of your software. Every role and stakeholder group should be included which means that people from each group should be selected to join the UAT team.
How To Get Started With User Acceptance Testing
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for what UAT is and why it’s essential, let’s finish up by seeing how to get started. Normally, UAT consists of four steps. But it can vary, based on whether the application is being delivered to a single customer, or whether it’s intended to be off-the-shelf software, available for purchase by anyone.
Firstly, the criteria which the software is considered to be “working” needs to be assembled. These are likely to be collated from the system requirements, and user stories. Next, a set of UAT test cases must be created. Centric defines a UAT test case as:
A set of test steps, execution conditions and expected results developed for a particular objective, such as to exercise a particular program path or to verify compliance with a specific requirement
Each case covers a specific usage scenario of the software. It is normally a set of actions which the user can carry out and be able to verify if the software’s worked as intended.
With these in place, the tests then have to be run and the results recorded. Were the tests successful, or did defects result? Any bugs then need to be corrected and re-tested.
Finally, assuming that everything is working as expected, an orderly sign-off needs to be completed. This is done more easily with an individual client, where they state that what they’ve received works as expected and meets their criteria.
User Acceptance Testing framework
User Acceptance Tests might not be called User Acceptance Tests in your organizations. There are various buzzwords – such as alpha or beta testing – out there. And sometimes we also get ask about the differences between UAT and functional testing.
Therefore we decided to collect all our thoughts and knowledge on the different types of UAT in this article.
And that’s what, why, and how of integrating User Acceptance Testing as a standard part of your web development projects. It reduces the likelihood of issues being raised, which in turn reduces the amount of work required in development and maintenance.
Sure, it’s another process which you have to manage, but the reduction in overall cost and a higher level of user satisfaction more than offsets the associated costs.
To help you out, we’ve prepared a UAT testing template which you can download. This covers everything from preparing your team, the test environment, to test execution and evaluation. Feel free to grab a copy to help you out with your UAT testing efforts.
Is there a UAT tool?
When considering User Acceptance Testing, you’re probably thinking of some “old fashioned” methods – like email, attachments, powerpoint presentations, spreadsheets, etc. And you’re probably wondering, “but isn’t there a tool for that?” There is. In fact, there are a few. Make sure to check out our collection of the best UAT tools in this article!
If you found this post interesting, follow us on Twitter where we tweet about web development, web design, and startups.
Bonus tip: Get FREE Usersnap UAT Trial
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.
6 Tips For a Successful User Acceptance Testing Plan
A while ago, we published an article on “What User Acceptance Testing is all about” and a follow up article on “5 UAT Testing Types”. Since then, we got a lot of feedback from users and people asking for further advice on the topic of UAT. Therefore we decided to sum up all those inquiries…
Deconstructing User Testing
When interacting with our customers and blog readers, we usually find that everyone has a different set of ideas on proper user testing workflows. Blame it on the inconsistencies when it comes to the terminology of User Testing, Usability Testing or User Acceptance Testing. The need for clarification on this topic is certainly huge. In…
9 creative ways to ask your website visitors for feedback
You’ve finished some design drafts for a new website. You’ve even shipped those new designs to your website. And now you wonder what people – your website visitors – think about those new changes. In this post, I’m going to show you 9 creative ways to ask your website visitors for feedback which will help you…
12 web development trends for 2016
This article is brought to you by Usersnap, a bug tracker and feedback tool that helps you to communicate visually. Get a 15-day free trial here. We have just entered year 2016 and it’s already a couple of days old. Just before New Year’s Eve, I showed you our take on the year 2015 in…
23 amazing lessons learned from interviewing the world’s top developers
Three months ago – on Thursday, April 16th – we launched bugtrackers.io as a new platform showing the life of people in web development. I expected it to be super fun. And of course, I expected it to be successful. After all, we showcased the life of famous, successful or extraordinary tech people, like CTOs, developers,…
10 mistakes to avoid when tracking bugs. A glimpse into the world of bug tracking.
Errors happen during the entire web development cycle. And that’s perfectly normal. No matter how hard a team tries, errors creep into projects. But this means that there is always room for improvement. You’ll find hundreds of lists out there talking about mistakes that can be avoided during web development projects. However, most of these…