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Guide to User Acceptance Testing

Guide to User Acceptance Testing

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is part of the Product Development Cycle. Its primary goal is to have real-world end-users test the software's features and functionalities to check its compatibility in real-world scenarios. Here, you can find a basic guide covering the definition, types, and how to perform a UAT. Plus, we'll mention how UX testing are related and if you can use them in your business processes. Let's dive into the world of testing strategies!

What is User Acceptance Testing?

User Acceptance Testing (UAT), or application testing, is end-user testing applied to the end of the Product Life Cycle. Its primary goal is to test a product's functional requirements within a real environment to gain detailed customer feedback. You can run this test by involving paid test subjects using the software or making the test version available for download as a free trial.

After that, the results come to the dev team's hands, who make final changes before releasing the software product officially. UAT encompasses multiple advantages, such as the final product quality, time savings, effort, and costs, increasing user loyalty and transparency. In this same sequence, User Acceptance Tests allow developers to work using real testing criteria, and if successful, they can validate business requirements.

Types of User Acceptance Testing

Beta Tests. It involves releasing the Beta software version to a limited number of potential users and testing it in a real-time environment with the help of a customer base to get their feedback and customer validation. Beta testing is a popular tool for Quality Assurance (QA) as it minimizes usability issues.

Alpha Tests. Alpha testing simulates real users using White Box and Black Box testing techniques to get valuable feedback. The primary function is performing tasks as a typical user executes them within a developed or laboratory environment.

Operational Acceptance. These testing activities focus on the predefined workflow for the software and operational readiness, including product compatibility, reliability, and stability. Plus, this test should incorporate work processes for reinforcement plans, customer preparation, and different support cycles and security controls.

Regulation Acceptance Test. Its testing objectives are to ensure that software meets requirements specified by laws or regulatory bodies. The customer typically performs this type of testing, but in some cases, an independent third party participates in the process to complete the testing.

Contract Acceptance Test. Contract acceptance testing efforts ensure that the software meets the business conditions specified in a contract between the developer and the customer. The user typically validates that the application behaves as expected and meets their needs in a real-world environment.

How to Perform User Acceptance Testing?

The number of steps involved in UAT may differ depending on how the project team wants to define each stage of the development process. Within a general context, these steps include the following:

1. Planning: In this critical phase, the protagonists are the product requirements, time frame, and strategies implemented by UAT testers. The idea is to write the criteria for each intended feature to be tested and determine the minimum standards to meet.

2. Cases: It aims to cover all of the software's functional scenarios in the real world. Each test must specify a series of procedures and the anticipated results to represent an ideal product usage scenario. To make the testing process easier for the testers, ensure they use basic language and clear writing.

 3. Team: Developers can choose whether to test the program with only a few participants or to open it up to real-world users by delivering a free trial via the web. These participants must meet certain criteria to participate in the process, such as business knowledge, ability to detect and report problems, etc.

4. Execution: The intended users begin to perform real-world tasks with the software and record bugs or other concerns. All defects should be part of a bug tracker. The idea is that developers use end-user feedback and their bug-reporting efforts to analyze the data and implement the solutions in the development phase.

5. Bug Fixing: In response to the critical issues discovered by the testing team, the Software Development team makes final changes to the code to ensure that the program is bug-free. Once the problems and errors are all solved, the ideal is to run tests again to verify that the issue is now a thing of the past.

6. Sign-off: The testing team confirms that the software program is ready after the bug fix period. Likewise, it indicates that the program meets user needs and is suitable for market release. After these steps, the software should be ready for release into production.

User Acceptance Testing Best Practices

 Users: The success of your UAT application depends on identifying your target audience; considering your intended audience based on your product category, ecosystem, and global and regional markets is important. Likewise, market research helps you identify your target audience and comprehend their purchasing patterns, market trends, behavioral patterns concerning their competitors, demand forecasts, and other determining factors. This investigation helps you focus on a particular and suitable target audience and better understand user requirements.

 Plan: The success of a UAT test lies in the planning stage. Therefore, you must plan the entire testing process, including the execution stage, the steps to follow, and even the final documents that must be obtained and analyzed. A good testing plan will help you speed up the production release, streamline relevant workflows, and, more importantly, get better results from the UAT process.

 Protocols: You should enumerate the rules, standards, regulations, and compliances and keep their respective acceptance criteria ready. Also, you must share these regulations and norms with the UAT team so that they can have a clearer idea of the acceptance criteria. 

User Acceptance Testing vs User Experience Testing

Both UAT and UX Testing can collaborate, as both share the same main purpose of boosting digital product effectiveness. Yet, User Experience Testing involves how users interact with your websites or apps. It evaluates different aspects of the User Experience, such as usability, accessibility, design process, and functionality. On the other hand, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) controls the verification and validation that the product ensures a positive end-User Experience and works as intended regarding functionality, usability, and performance.

User Acceptance Testing Usability Testing (UX Testing)
Time It occurs at the end of the Product Development Life Cycle It takes place at every step of Product Development.
Testers End-users, business representatives, or subject matter experts Usability experts, UI Designers, and end-users
Feedback Focus on major defects, potential issues, and discrepancies. Focuses on potential customer satisfaction, frustration, and experience


User Acceptance Testing minimizes the possibility of errors to increase user satisfaction and meet business objectives, becoming vital for a successful Product Development process. Likewise, this test helps you save time to market, giving you a competitive advantage. The main purpose lies in testing the functionality before its official release. Remember, one of the most important tips in Production environments is testing, testing, and more testing.