How to Conduct User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
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Companies that want to keep their digital products running smoothly actively invest in testing. As the industry grows, the global software testing market will surge to $60 billion in 2027, compared to $40 billion in 2020.
Software testing is essential when creating any digital product. It allows you to check your software and ensure it is high-quality and safe for users.
Yet, testing the product’s technical qualities and finding bugs is only half the way to your software’s success.
Determining whether your digital product meets your business goals and the real customers’ needs is also critical. It is when user acceptance testing, or UAT, comes in handy.
Since our company launch, we have provided numerous clients with a full cycle of UAT support.
In this article, we’ll show you when and how to conduct user acceptance testing. The Softermii team is well-versed in all aspects of this testing procedure and is eager to share practical tips with you.
What Is the Difference Between UAT and QA?
People frequently refer to the QA process when talking about user acceptance testing. These notions, however, should be differentiated since they serve distinct purposes. Let’s go through UAT and QA one by one.
User acceptance testing (UAT) is a testing approach that ensures a product satisfies business’s and its end-users demands. This type of testing is also referred to as beta or end-user testing.
Quality assurance (QA) is a set of activities covering all stages of software development, release, and operation. These activities aim to ensure the quality of the digital product before its launch.
What distinguishes UAT and QA?
First of all, QA is an umbrella term. It consists of various testing approaches, including functional, system, and regression testing. Only when the quality assurance procedure has been completed does UAT begin.
In this context, we should also pay attention to verification and validation concepts:
- The verification is directly related to the QA process and aims to verify the technical aspects of the product. It results in high-quality software that works without limitations and errors.
- The validation applies to UAT and aims to confirm that the product meets user requirements and business objectives.
User acceptance testing is the last stage of testing, carried out before launching a digital product on the market. It can be divided into two main types:
- Alpha testing is acceptance testing conducted by in-house testers to verify that a product meets business needs.
- Beta testing is checking users’ acceptance of a product. It is conducted among a group of end-users or stakeholders of the company, i.e., people who are not professional testers.
Why Conduct User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
Developers and QA specialists can check the technical aspects of your product. They will take into account its functional features and fix any issues. Yet, even with a technically perfect product, you still can’t be 100% sure that users will like it.
Let’s now discuss why UAT is important. Here are some reasons:
Compliance with Business Objectives
UAT allows you to test how your digital product behaves in real conditions among real users. This testing helps you identify flaws in your software that you may have missed during the QA process.
During user acceptance testing, end-users can share interesting insights for improving your software. As a result, you can make your product even more customer-centric.
Refining your product and fixing bugs before it hits the market is best. Correcting issues before the release will be much cheaper, plus you will avoid user dissatisfaction. It is a particularly manageable task for development teams using the Agile methodology, and a crucial step in the software testing in the Waterfall model.
Before Starting UAT: Planning Phase
If conducting UAT testing is your way, you should first prepare carefully. The planning phase includes several fundamental steps:
Step 1. Define Your Objectives
First, determine what results you expect from user acceptance testing. To do this, you need to review the needs of your business and inform your team about their role in testing.
Testing goals will vary depending on the type of your digital product, whether it’s a website, mobile app, etc. The industry in which your business operates will also influence the formation of objectives.
Step 2. Prepare Test Scenarios for User Acceptance Testing
To test each element of your digital product, you will need to create separate test cases. They should describe the specific user actions with your software. You can begin by describing typical interactions with your product and then move to more unusual situations.
Creating a UAT test scenario involves adding the following info:
- Test case title
- List of steps
- User results
- Task priority
- Passing status
- User feedback
Here is an example of a test scenario:
|Task Title||Steps||User Results||Task Priority (High/ Medium/ Low)||Passing Status (Pass/ Fail/ Pass with Comments)||User Feedback|
Check if an unregistered user can add the product to the shopping cart
1. Open the website
The product appeared in the shopping cart
2. Add any item to the shopping cart
The system has requested the user to sign in
3. See if there’s no need for authentication
4. Move to the shopping cart
Step 3. Choose Who Will Perform User Acceptance Testing
You can now begin to select test participants based on your goals and ready-made test scenarios.
You can engage your testers’ team to conduct alpha testing. Or you may delegate UAT to outsourcing providers if there are not enough in-house employees to do this job. For beta testing, you need to gather a group of end-users who may be interested in your product. As a result, you can conduct testing in a real environment.
Conducting UAT Testing: Executing the Main Phase
After the UAT planning phase, you can proceed directly to conducting user acceptance testing. Here’s what you need to do:
User Acceptance Testing Execution
Once you have prepared the test scenarios and cases and found the participants, you can start the UAT testing process.
Testing usually takes place in a separate room, where your QA specialists and project managers are with the rest of the test participants. The user acceptance testing process can take several sessions over several days.
You must start by instructing the participants on how to perform the tasks correctly, how to fill in the test scenario forms according to each criterion, and provide feedback. After that, end-users can begin to complete the test cases.
During testing, your company’s employees should monitor work progress and assist participants in case of any questions or issues.
UAT Testing Results Documentation
As a result of the UAT testing, you get a lot of valuable data from your users. At the end of the test session, your employees can also conduct participant surveys and record the information received. Then, you’ll have the documents with feedback and comments.
The Last UAT Testing Stages: Evaluation and Reporting
After testing, you have plenty of data that your QA specialists will need to study. After careful analysis, you will get a report with key deliverables.
How the process of evaluating test results is carried out:
- Your specialists assess whether users have been able to achieve the goals you set.
- QA experts consider failed tests and identify what problems have arisen.
- Your specialists think about how to solve existing problems.
- QA experts analyze quantitative and qualitative data: the number of tests performed, the number of failed tests, the overall assessment of test scenarios, etc.
Then your QA specialists initiate the reporting phase. It involves drawing conclusions based on evaluated data. Your employees will build a strategy to improve your project and correct errors.
What Needs to Be Done to Make UAT the Most Valuable
Let’s look at best practices to make your UAT testing strategy valuable and effective. Using these methods, you can get valuable insights from your testing. Here’s what you should pay attention to:
- Prepare for the UAT in advance, preferably in the early stages of your product development.
- Before testing, be sure to create UAT checklists in which you will describe the main goals and objectives.
- Before conducting beta testing that involves your end-users, execute UAT among your employees.
- Clearly and concisely describe the goals and expected test results.
- When creating a UAT test plan, prefer real-life test scenarios.
- Before conducting UAT, be sure to perform a usability test.
UAT Testing Templates [Bonus]
We have already given an example of a test scenario and mentioned the need to create a checklist for user acceptance testing. We want to share some more UAT templates that may be useful to you:
- UAT Test Plan Template by Coley Consulting
- UAT Test Plan Template by International Institute of Business Analysis
- UAT Test Report Template by QATestLab
With these templates, you can significantly improve your UAT approach.
Softermii’s Experience in UAT Testing
Our company provides software and user acceptance testing services that guarantee the solution of problems in the initial development stages and, as a result, savings of up to 60% on your product launch.
Our specialists can also successfully do user acceptance testing. UAT process includes preparing test documentation for end-users, test execution and support of this process, and evaluation of data collected from users.
We have already had many thriving projects for which we have conducted UAT. In particular, these are products such as Smart Start and Rently. Let’s dwell on them in more detail.
Smart Start is a mobile and web application for personal finance management. Our goal was to create an application that would allow users to control their budget and financial goals.
Our QA team conducted over 200 tests, including automated testing and UAT. As a result, we developed a high-security application that gathered more than 24,000 subscribers in just two months after launch.
Rently is a web and mobile application for showcasing rental housing. The customer turned to our company to improve the usability and performance of the existing product.
We conducted the UAT to identify the app’s main use cases and to determine improvements in the design of this digital product. As a result, our team delivered a convenient application that has received favorable user reviews.
If you want your product to prosper, you must conduct user acceptance testing. You can find opportunities to improve your software to fulfill your business goals and user demands by executing UAT before launch.
The UAT process has many stages, and its success depends significantly on careful planning. To do this, you need to set goals clearly, gather test participants and analyze the data obtained after testing.
If you understand that your product needs improvement but are unsure if you will be able to test it among your in-house employees, then we have good news for you. Try user acceptance testing outsourcing by contacting our diligent team.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a UAT checklist?
The UAT checklist summarizes all tasks and expected results from user acceptance testing. The user acceptance testing should consist of:
- Pre-UAT stage: defining the business goals, preparing test scenarios, and gathering test participants.
- UAT execution stage: conducting UAT testing and gathering user reports.
- Post-UAT stage: evaluating the gathered data and making conclusions.
What makes a good UAT?
To get the most valuable results from UAT, you must get ready for testing in the early stages of product development, clearly define the testing objectives, and prepare the team and end-users for testing in advance.
Do all software development companies provide UAT testing?
No, not all. Some, for example, focus purely on product development. However, Softermii’s services include product development, design, and testing. In particular, we conduct user acceptance testing for our clients.
How to generate criteria for entering and exiting UAT?
Consider the industry in which your business operates and the type of software you need to test. Also, think about what goals you want to achieve with UAT. To exit the testing, you must ensure that the participants have completed all the tasks and submitted the relevant reports.
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