A user acceptance test is the final stop in the software testing process and one of the most important stages. It helps ensure that the system is intuitive enough for a user to navigate it effortlessly, it meets the audience’s expectations, and caters to its needs.
Missing out on proper UAT planning creates panic within the team when the application is about to be brought to the market. The testing process should be well-strategized and completed in advance so that the development team can fix errors and performance issues before the product’s final release.
Find out how to approach user acceptance testing, how it fits in the overall testing process, what types of activities QA specialists perform as a part of UAT, and what steps are needed to complete acceptance testing are.
Table of Contents:
- What Is User Acceptance Testing?
- User Acceptance Testing Goals
- What Is the Role of UAT in the QA Process?
- When Is UAT Performed in Software Testing?
- Different Types of UAT
- How to Do UAT: Step by Step Guide
- UAT with PerformanceLab
What Is User Acceptance Testing?
User acceptance testing ensures the end-user will be comfortable when using the system in real-world scenarios. Don’t attempt to analyze UAT as a subset of system testing — at this point, the QA team is no longer concerned about the bug-free performance.
Instead, a tester validates the ease of using the app, the intuitiveness of the interface, and the satisfaction level of the end-user.
Beta testing is another common UAT definition.
User Acceptance Testing Goals
User acceptance testing definition is the “final validation of the product’s high usability and functionality,” and it should be completed with the following objectives in mind:
- Ensure that the system can support day-to-day scenarios. The test cases suite is designed in line with real-life user experiences. It’s essential that a beta tester’s toolkit corresponds to that of the end-user so that a user journey during the test matches a real-life experience to the fullest extent.
- Confirm that the system meets business requirements. The chief goal of user acceptance testing is to ensure that the system is designed well enough to help the project stakeholders achieve their goals efficiently. That’s why user acceptance testers rely on business requirements heavily and need to ensure the product works in line with them.
- Identify discrepancies and solve them before the release. User Acceptance Testing needs to provide the client with confidence regarding the product’s flawless post-release functionality. That’s why the results of UAT serve as proof of functionality. In case any errors are pinpointed during the test, QA professionals collaborate with the development team to fix these issues without compromising the deadlines and reiterate the test until the quality of the user experience meets business requirements.
What Is the Role of UAT in the QA Process?
A fair share of software testing activities concerns the system’s functionality — designing, interpreting, and validating technical requirements the end product should meet before the release. Since developers and QA testers are mainly trained to deal with functional issues, they might miss out on whether or not the software aligns well with business requirements.
User acceptance testing is one of the chief stages of the release cycle as a way to ensure the system fully corresponds to business requirements and meets the expectations of the end-user.
Here is the UAT testing meaning in regards to the testing process:
- Ensure the program is ready for release. Launching poorly tested products results in the piling up of tech debt, low user retention rates, and high maintenance costs. The company managers who had to handle post-release errors know how much more stressful and time consuming it is to patch the software up when it’s live as opposed to running UAT when the product is still in development.
- Get feedback from prospective users. UAT is the only stage of the quality assurance cycle that involves getting feedback from the end-user. Finding out if a prospective user rates the system as fitted to its purpose is crucial for business managers. The unbiased views of beta-testing groups help improve the efficiency of post-release system usage and give project stakeholders more confidence in the usability of the final release.
- Assess product for go-live readiness. User acceptance testing is performed by fully emulating the post-release conditions and the actions of a prospective system user. If UAT is completed successfully and the system is proven stable, the project team can create the same level of reliability in real-world scenarios.
When Is UAT Performed in Software Testing?
Although a common misconception is to think that a QA team should validate user acceptance at the end of the software testing cycle, the frontrunner tech teams prefer to beta-test systems feature-by-feature to get detailed, data-driven feedback on every stage of development.
Testing user acceptance during development is a commonplace practice among testing teams. Having a continuous feedback loop is more efficient than running a single end-to-end user-acceptance test since it promotes flexibility, offers more room for improvement, and helps tailor the end-user’s needs with higher precision.
Different Types of UAT
Other than understanding the difference between functional and user acceptance testing clearly, make sure you have a clear distinction between the most common types of UAT. Here are the most popular user acceptance testing examples:
1. Alpha testing
The QA team runs alpha testing without engaging prospective users — it occurs in the development environment and is fully handled by the project team.
If the testing team spotted system defects during alpha testing, the development team needs to fix the errors before the product can be moved to the next stage of user acceptance testing.
2. Beta testing
Beta testing, also referred to as field testing, is different from alpha testing. It’s the type of UAT supporting the customer environment and matches the conditions of real-life system usage. To run beta-testing successfully, the project team engages a group of prospective customers, encourages them to pinpoint bugs and share opinions on the product’s usability and performance.
3. Operational acceptance testing
This type of user acceptance testing comprises of the cases that validate user workflows. Also known as Production Acceptance testing, operational acceptance testing is one of the UAT types that validates user training algorithms, backup plans, the successful completion of security checks and software maintenance processes.
4. Prototype testing
QA teams run prototypes on the earliest stages of development, once the MVP is fully designed. It helps find errors and defects before creating the actual version of the product — this way, the design and development team can rework the solution to improve its final interface and functionality.
Prototype testers gather prospective users in focus groups and validate the clarity of the interface, its correspondence to user requirements. They collect behavioral datum and verbal feedback to have a better idea of which direction branding and marketing teams should take when conceptualizing the product’s positioning and visual identity.
5. Contract and regulation acceptance testing
This type of UAT implies validating the product against the requirements specified in the contract. The testing team reviews the acceptance criteria defined in the service agreement and checks if the project meets them.
Other than that the specialists need to ensure the software is compliant with governmental security, data protection, and other regulations.
6. Factory acceptance testing
This type of UAT is conducted within the team and precedes beta testing. The procedure is usually performed all the way throughout the development cycle and is designed to validate the hardware and software components of the system. FAT helps determine the cause of system defects and is much cheaper than the tests that require reaching out to end users.
How to do UAT: Step-by-Step Guide
When planning user acceptance testing, think about it as a separate phase of the testing cycle — it needs to be planned, strategized, and prepared beforehand. Although UAT plans may have variations depending on the type of the project, the number of testers involved, and other factors, here’s a unified user acceptance testing checklist for a UAT workflow:
- Analyzing business requirements — gathering business-related and contractual requirements that will be validated during the testing process.
- Developing a plan. It’s common for QA professionals to plan UAT and system testing together. Aside from figuring out the deadline and budget estimates, a solid user acceptance test plan should include a description of roles and responsibilities for every team member, the benchmarks that would determine the efficiency of the process, the templates used for documentation, entry-exit criteria, and other relevant data.
- Identifying test cases — when designing test cases, make sure they are based on user stories, are clear for all team members, and don’t require much additional data. Ideally, a testing team should be able to automate the execution of most user acceptance tests. Other than that, be sure to clearly state the expected results.
- Setting up the test environment — it’s not recommended to use the same environment for UAT and functional testing since you’re likely to overlook several important real-world use cases. Designing a separate testing environment is a standard in user acceptance testing — the best practices presume treating UAT autonomously from system testing.
- Preparing test data — In most cases, consider using a copy of production data. Be sure to protect any personal data that’s involved in the testing process. In case a testing team uses the data from the old system, QA professionals use the migration output copy.
- Running user acceptance tests — to streamline and facilitate test management, QA specialists usually rely on a tool set — JIRA, Bugzilla, Mantis, and others. Choose a test execution methodology as well — crowd testing is the most popular one for international product testing.
- Reiteration. In case there were errors and or a defect spotted during UAT, the project team will have to reiterate the testing after the bugs are fixed to verify there are no residual issues or that the fixes did not result in unforeseen system changes.
UAT with PerformanceLab
At PerformanceLab, you will work with a certified testing team, with all the needed technical and domain knowledge to run efficient acceptance tests for businesses in tech, finance, retail, e-commerce, and other industries.
All testing activities are followed by a detailed report that helps the development team fine tune the project and prepare it for a successful release.
As a project stakeholder, you will find out:
- If the system functionality corresponds to every business requirement;
- Which methodology and toolkit was used to execute tests;
- Which data was used for UAT;
- Recommendations for improving the performance of the software.
PerformanceLab testers work in line with the most common project management methodologies — including Agile, Waterfall, and others. We make sure to include business managers into every step of the decision making process.
UAT is one of the most important non-functional tests as it helps determine if a system is compliant with the acceptance criteria, prepare it for release, and offer people an opportunity to examine the software and rate the efficiency of its performance.
To launch a well-performing software, consider reaching out to PerformanceLab for acceptance testing services. We work with a wide range of testing tools like Jira, Redmine, TestLink, TFS, and others to offer continuous quality assurance assistance to small-, medium-, and large-scale projects.
Take a look at our portfolio to see the cases our team has already handled. To discuss your future project with the testing team — leave us a message.