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Understanding User Acceptance Testing for Better Results

In a tech-driven world where nearly everything seems to be complicated and confusing to understand, it doesn’t get more straightforward than with user acceptance testing (UAT). I mean, it says it right there in the term – user.  That’s the watchword here.

It’s safe to say then that UAT is somewhat – or perhaps even a lot – involved with helping increase user experience. This means that UAT is an important phase in the software development process when it comes to creating a positive digital customer experience, which is essential to survive and thrive in the “Age of the Customer.” After all, are they or are they not the ones who will use your software on a daily basis?

At the end of the day, you need to ensure that the user not only can actually use your software application, but also that it meets their requirements when faced with real-world conditions, is user-friendly overall and operates as expected.

What Is User Acceptance Testing?

The goal behind UAT is to validate that the newly developed software enables the full support of everyday business functions and has the ability to overcome any complications faced by business operations. Also equally important is that the UAT makes certain that once the software is released in a live environment, it does not negatively affect real time operation.

When to Start User Acceptance Testing

User acceptance testing is the final stage of testing before a software application is released. That is to say, UAT is also known in the development lifecycle as the beta testing, application testing or end user testing stage.

Who to Involve in the UserAcceptance Testing Process?

Unless your actual potential users are unwilling to participate in the UAT, you should only ever perform a UAT with your real users. Involve them in the process. These are the people who will use your software application everyday; therefore, they should be the ones to test your product before roll out. They will be the ones to find problems that paid beta testers wouldn’t be able to. Why? Because they are the ones who really care that the product works for them and their business.

Other people who typically perform UAT include product managers and those in client care and compliance.

Getting Started

Create a user acceptance test checklist

To best limit the amount of retests needed and avoid associated costs with potential mistakes, it’s best to consider the various scenarios that may be encountered and how to prepare for them. Before carrying out a UAT, create a checklist for those on the UAT team to help guide them through each stage of the process. Some questions to include on your UAT checklist to have your team check for include:

  • What aspects of business functionality need to be tested to gain the approval of clients and/or users?
  • Is all input data available that is required for testing?
  • Has the acceptance criteria been defined?
  • Has the testing procedure been defined?
  • Were all defects documented?
  • Were all identified defects resolved?

Design user acceptance test cases

User acceptance test cases should be designed based around the input received from clients and/or users. Once functionality and requirements are defined, then your UAT team can design test cases.

Execute test cases

After the test cases have been accepted, the UAT team will execute the test cases and any additional related tests that are needed.

Log bugs found and execute a solution

One way to ensure your software application is truly ready for release is by documenting any defects or issues found during testing. This is necessary in order to accurately measure and analyze outputs. If agreed upon by all UAT team members, then the defects found are resolved to meet user satisfaction.

Understanding User Acceptance Testing for Better Results

Summary

User acceptance testing is not meant to be easy, but it’s one of the most crucial tests before release. Understanding the foundation that makes up a UAT is the first step to ensuring overall product approval. Just remember these basic steps when preparing and performing a UAT:

  • Know your users and/or clients
  • Identify when is the best time to perform a UAT
  • Create a solid UAT team
  • Reach out to your users and/or clients for feedback and help
  • Create a checklist before you begin testing
  • Design and execute test cases, and log defects found and create solutions.

Sure, it’s another tedious process before release, but it’s a fantastic way to help reduce costs and increase user satisfaction. There’s simply no room for argument here. Ultimately, business success should be a good enough reason for your organization to move forward and perform user acceptance testing.