What is user acceptance testing, and why is it important?
This article will discuss this question and the impact of user acceptance testing as part of the software testing life cycle.
What is User Acceptance Testing (UAT)?
User acceptance testing (UAT) determines if a system satisfies its users’ needs and fits the business requirements. Thus, UAT is also known as end-user acceptance testing.
UAT is a process that verifies that the functions of an application work as expected. This means that, unlike other software testing methodologies, end-user tests are conducted at the end of the development cycle to verify how the application functions in real-world conditions.
Furthermore, UAT also serves as an opportunity for the client to consider if the delivered system meets their expectations and specification.
Why Is User Acceptance Testing Important?
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is crucial because it helps ensure that the app functions correctly in real-world conditions. It also allows for any errors or bugs to be identified and fixed before releasing the app to end-users.
In addition, earlier attention given to negative user feedback during UAT reduces the number of problems experienced by users after the system is deployed. And because of this, UAT helps to save time and cost in fixing errors after launch.
Other than that, another important reason is that UAT tests can also be used as documentation. This means that the test results of a system’s features and functions will be documented, allowing for future reference without requiring manual testing.
Benefits of End-User Testing
End-user testing is designed to ensure the final product fulfills all user requirements. The actual users of the software do this type of testing to ensure maximum accuracy and usability. The users are testing the software with user profiles that simulate real-world usage. The key benefits of end-user testing are:
- Gain confidence in your product before it’s released to the general public. This will help you avoid costly re-launches and bugs that negatively affect customer satisfaction.
- Realistic testing scenarios enable finding problems that might not have been noticed in simpler tests or earlier stages of software development.
- End-user testing helps the team better understand the product by identifying things that need improvement. This means security vulnerabilities can be resolved before customer use, which will further improve user satisfaction.
- The application’s usability is tested to ensure it’s easy to use during this stage. This will help you see if the first-time user can easily navigate the application and complete tasks, which is vital for gaining maximum customer satisfaction.
- While many applications must be simple, some require a more sophisticated UI. If that’s the case for your application, end-user testing is the only way to ensure it meets customer requirements while maintaining flawless performance.
- Ensuring product quality and usability before release will save you time and money by preventing costly post-launch issues. That’s why end-user testing is crucial before customer release and should be considered an integral part of your software development cycle.
What is a UAT session, you may ask? A UAT session is a meeting in which the client and engineers participate. At this stage, software testers communicate with users and technical staff to determine if all project requirements have been met.
Who Attends UAT Sessions?
UAT sessions are attended by end-users, client representatives, and development team members. The UAT team represents the group that will use the application, while others in attendance can help to determine whether or not an application is ready for live deployment.
The end-users, the actual software users, are to conduct tests of the application in real-world conditions. The client representative ensures that the app meets their expectations. Developers may be present in UAT sessions to ensure no issues with back-end functions or server-side processes.
What Happens During a UAT Session?
UAT sessions may vary. However, in general, software testers will begin by explaining the testing process and tools used. Then they typically demonstrate the basic functions of the application. After this brief presentation, it is up to the end-users to test the system themselves under real-world conditions.
After users have tested certain features, the UAT team discusses their findings, often informal. This is usually where any bugs or problems are identified. Only if all features have been tested and no issues have been found will testers proceed with the final testing phase known as System Acceptance Testing (SAT).
The length of a UAT session depends on the project. However, it is typically between one and two weeks.
The Benefits of UAT Sessions
First, UAT provides an opportunity for developers to understand how the application will be used in real-world conditions. This reduces back-end issues that may arise when the system is live.
Also, UAT sessions allow users and clients to determine if a project meets their specifications. Finally, a UAT session provides an opportunity to identify problems or issues with the app before it is available for use.
Likewise, end-users can provide feedback about the application’s usability. Again, this data can be used to improve future projects.
How to write UAT Test Cases
The art of writing good test cases is essential. They are the foundation of every UAT session.
1. Define a test objective.
A test objective gives you direction on what to accomplish. To define a test objective, you must determine what you want to test. What are you looking for? What should be tested in the app?
2. Identify the variables that may affect the results of a test case.
List the factors that may affect the outcome and how they may do so. For instance, “What controls are in Play?” or “What browser does the user have?”
3. Construct test cases with steps and expected outcomes.
Next, you’ll need to create the test case. Then, with your objectives in mind, list out specific, step-by-step instructions that end-users can follow.
4. Prepare a list of items to be recorded during testing sessions.
Finally, before the UAT sessions, create a list of items recorded during testing time. This list should consist of screenshots and any other data the client or engineers may need to identify problems in the system.
Guidelines for UAT Test Cases
Here are some guidelines and tips to keep in mind when developing your UAT Test cases:
- Make sure your test cases are written in simple language that is easy to understand by both technical and non-technical people. Technical writing should be avoided if not familiar with concepts or terms related to the application you’re testing.
- Identify features that are too complex for first-time users. If this is the case, you’ll need to rework them to meet customer requirements better.
- Test your applications in real-world conditions by checking how users interact with the app in various situations. Your test cases need to include tasks that can be performed in multiple ways or by different types of customers, such as novice and advanced users.
- Check if the application works properly for all user-profiles and ensures consistent performance throughout. While your development team may use various tools during testing, such as automated scripts and scanners, end-users won’t have the same capabilities.
- Make sure all steps in your test cases are executed at least once to verify there aren’t any other problems you should know about before release. Your test plan needs to list and prioritize all tasks and test cases so performance issues can be prioritized accordingly before customer release.
Usability Principles For Your Application
In addition to these guidelines, some common usability principles should be applied to every application during testing:
- Ease of use is a priority: If you have a first-time user who can’t figure out how to use the application within 5 minutes, you’ll likely lose them as a customer.
- Work on mobile devices: Your website or application should be responsive and easy to use on any device, such as mobile apps. Users will rate your app higher if it works properly across multiple devices without issues.
- User-friendly: The interface must be user-friendly and self-explanatory, even for novice users who don’t have special training or skills.
- Bug-free: Your website or application should be free of bugs and crashes if possible to avoid usability issues that may cause users to give up. Make sure your product works in various conditions so customers can achieve the best possible experience.
- Good performance: Your application’s performance should be top-notch to avoid usability issues caused by delays. For example, users may become frustrated if it takes too long to load or complete specific tasks, which will affect the overall customer experience and retention rates.
User Acceptance Testing Process
The User Acceptance Testing process is an integral part of the overall testing process, but there are many development stages where it can take place. To best prepare for UAT testing, steps should be taken during each stage to make sure everything is working as expected. Here’s a list of common testing stages with pointers on how to handle UAT throughout the process:
- Prepare for user acceptance testing – this can involve scheduling tests, creating test plans, and identifying appropriate participants. Having detailed information about the software is crucial since it helps determine what to look for during testing. In addition, it is important to create good test scenarios that follow the product’s main functions and give testers enough time to execute their tasks.
- Create the user acceptance tests – this includes planning and creating scripts for each test case based on user profiles, priority, and risk level. Focus on real-world scenarios and common problems the application should be able to solve. Testing progress and variables such as test time, priority, and risk level are identified, it’s essential to update the test cases accordingly. The User Acceptance Test cases need to be well-documented and designed to detect issues during UAT. Once your team has completed the design process, it’s also important to have them reviewed for accuracy.
- Conduct user acceptance testing – this involves gathering results from participants and using them to identify issues that need further development. In many cases, the UAT process is iterative, as data from one round of testing can influence how future test cases are designed.
- Fix issues and repeat – once all bugs have been identified and fixed, it’s essential to go through the entire process again with similar test cases. This will help confirm whether or not any problems were resolved and allow you to release an application that works as expected.
- Review findings – once testing is complete, a review can be done to discuss the results and determine how they lead to future improvements. Again, it’s essential for software teams to work with users during this step so everyone can incorporate their feedback into new features or updates.
- Improve the product – this involves focusing on real-world scenarios, taking the feedback from UAT, and building on it to make sure future releases are successful. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but it’s critical to review what worked well and what needs improvement so your team can best meet customer expectations after each release.
Deliverables for UAT Testing
Deliverables could vary depending on the nature of the project. However, a basic list of deliverables could include:
- A testing checklist can help document aspects to be tested and ensure everything is checked off before proceeding to the next step.
- Test environment details – as part of creating a test plan, steps should be taken to create a controlled UAT environment as close to the real-world production environment as possible.
- Test cases – this document describes how the software should perform in specific situations. This ensures everything works as expected and desired, which can help identify bugs before they get out of hand.
- A test report – this can be used to summarize testing results and provide feedback on the overall quality of the project. It can also help guide development teams to address issues that came up during testing.
- Test documentation can serve as a comprehensive guide for how the application should perform in different situations. It’s imperative if end-users are part of the user acceptance testing process.
When done correctly, UAT provides valuable insight into user behavior and how they use the application. It can help identify usability problems and offer guidance for making the app more intuitive and easy to use.
UAT testing has a lot to offer from launch validation to checking user behavior and making sure all feedback is heard. In addition, through real-world testing in actual working conditions, you can gain valuable insights into how the application performs.
UAT Acceptance Criteria
When it comes to UAT, there are certain criteria that participants should meet for this testing round to be considered successful. Here is a list of core acceptance criteria for user acceptance testing:
- Requirements – these can be tested by ensuring participants and other users understand and accept the requirements and guidelines laid out during the design process.
- Usability – make sure the user can access all functions of the app and find them through intuitive design. Again, if there are any inconsistencies, this could lead to problems after launch.
- Security requirements – these should be tested to make sure data is kept safe, hackers aren’t able to gain access, and compliance standards are met. If the application doesn’t meet security standards, this could lead to severe problems down the road.
- Performance – if there are any performance or processing speed issues, they should be identified and resolved before launch. For most modern software projects, it’s vital for speeds and response times to be fast enough that people don’t get frustrated and abandon the app altogether.
- Efficiency – it’s crucial to ensure everything runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If there are issues, identify them and develop a plan to correct them before launching the new software.
- Data accuracy – this should be tested by comparing data entered into the app against data in an independent database to verify accuracy.
UAT vs. Beta Testing
While both UAT and beta testing involve external users, the two processes are still different. With beta testing, the main goal is to find bugs with the software’s release candidate. Their primary focus is on stress-testing the product and seeing how it holds up against heavy loads before finalizing or releasing it out into the market. UAT allows end-users to test the product and find problems with actual use. On the other hand, businesses want to know if their customers are satisfied with what they offer.
The two testing procedures are different with varying objectives and goals, but they are both useful in their ways. For example, while it’s important to capture user feedback for launch validation or product improvement purposes, thorough User Acceptance Testing can save time and money when it comes to fixing any bugs before the final launch.
UAT vs. Functional Testing
UAT is also different from functional testing, which is done with development teams in mind. While UAT focuses on how actual users will use the application, functional tests are conducted internally to identify issues that could impact the product’s functionality. Both parties need to work together to meet their specific goals and plan accordingly.
User acceptance testing is valuable for companies who want to improve their products and services. It provides an in-depth look into end-user behavior and how they use the product, leading to future improvements and help guide development teams. In addition, UAT can help identify usability problems and offer guidance for making the app more intuitive and easy to use.
With a focus on user satisfaction, UAT testing is a great way to incorporate customer feedback into future product iterations. It also helps with UX testing and launch validation, so you know your users are fully satisfied, and the product will be successful when it reaches the market.
UAT testing can be valuable for companies who want to improve their product and services. It provides an in-depth look into end-user behavior and how they use the product, leading to future improvements and help guide development teams. In addition, UAT testing is a great way to incorporate customer feedback into future product iterations.