UAT is an essential step in software development and testing as it directly involves the software’s intended users or clients.

They are the ones who will use it, and hence, your software must meet their expectations.

Through user acceptance testing, you can achieve that.

It will help determine whether the software works as per the requirements while detecting imperfections. It will also cater to wonderful user experiences.

So, if you want to know more about UAT, read on.

What do you mean by UAT?

Unit Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a phase of a software development lifecycle where the client or user tests the software to determine whether or not the software performs, behaves or is built according to their requirements.

UAT is the final software testing performed after the testing has completed system, functional, and regression testing.

Every software is built based on specific requirements or needs. So, the purpose of UAT is to ensure that requirement is met. It validates the software system against those business requirements. Since it’s the last software testing before making the product live, it’s the final chance for the user or client to test it and find out whether it can perform tasks it’s designed for in the real world efficiently and without errors.

It’s also useful for the test team because the user or client can test the software and provide feedback to improve it. It will ensure that the product is not only of high quality but also relevant to the user’s requirements.

What are the types of UAT?

Different types of user acceptance testing are:

Alpha Testing

Alpha testing is performed on a software system to detect all possible bugs and errors before deploying the software in the market for public use.

It is run by the QA team in the software development environment. It aims at testing the product by carrying out certain tasks that a typical user would do. When they spot any issues, the development team will be notified to fix them and move to the next step of UAT.

Beta Testing

In Beta testing, the software will be deployed for use by a limited number of real users. They will use the software’s Beta version in the real environment and check for issues, bugs, errors, and overall functionality and usability of the software based on the intended purpose. Next, the users will provide feedback to the team or developers creating the software to improve it.

Beta testing is the last testing before you deploy your software to the public. Hence, by deploying the software directly to a given group of users, you can take real, authentic feedback. This will not only improve the quality but also customer satisfaction and engagement while reducing risks.

Black Box Testing

Black-box testing involves an end-user testing a specific software function without looking at its internal code. The user testing the software is only aware of the business requirements and the software’s purpose to provide feedback.

Operational Acceptance testing

In this type of UAT, the software is checked for operational readiness in terms of product stability, reliability, and compatibility, ensuring predefined workflows are in place so that the software can be used. It’s also called production acceptance testing and verifies backup plans, user training algorithms, security checks, maintenance processes, and more.  

Contract acceptance testing

Contract acceptance testing involves checking the software based on certain specifications and criteria defined in the contract between the client and the project team.

Simply put, the software testing team will review the project’s acceptance terms outlined in the server level agreement (SLA) and check whether the software meets those criteria or not.  

Regulation acceptance testing

This UAT checks the software to ensure it meets compliance regulations and legal rules applicable in the region or country.

It requires you to test for data security and protection, ensuring you are maintaining top-level security of your software and data contained in it and will never sell or misuse the data in order to protect customer and business data.

Factory Acceptance testing

Factory acceptance testing takes place in the testing team before Beta testing. It’s actually performed throughout the software development lifecycle and can validate the product’s software and hardware components. It also tells the case of defects in a system so that you can rectify them faster.

Why is UAT done?

User acceptance testing is performed to validate whether the software meets the client or user requirements. That’s why it comes at the end of the software development lifecycle after other tests, such as unit testing, system testing, integration testing, etc., are complete.

Testers and developers can validate the product based on the required functional specifications using their domain knowledge and experience. Although the software might look complete this way, it might not meet the end users’ requirements. It can happen when the requirement is not defined clearly to the developers; something that can be improved, certain changes in the project’s scope, and so on.

So, the final decision is for the end users or client to make whether to accept the software or not based on their specific requirements and usability. This is why user acceptance testing is performed to ensure the requirements are met. This also saves you from releasing unfinished, ineffective, or faulty software products in the market.

Therefore, conducting a thorough UAT based on user needs is essential to detect and improve issues on time.

Here are some of the benefits of UAT:

Fits the purpose

Deploying a system that doesn’t serve its purpose is a waste of time and effort. Ultimately, your client or end-user can reject or not use it altogether. This makes all your efforts in creating, testing, and deploying the software in the market go in vain.

Therefore, you must strive to develop software relevant to a user’s requirements. This is also why a service level agreement is maintained between a client and the product team. Through UAT, you ensure the requirements are met so that the software is fit for the intended use.

Ensure higher product quality

If you don’t perform UAT, you wouldn’t know the issues that the real users might face while using your software. Although you would be confirmed of its quality functionality-wise, how a user will feel about this will still be unknown to you. Once you deploy the software, the user may not be pleased. 

Ultimately, you will have to work on improving it. But at this phase, taking feedback would be more difficult, and while you do so, your software would have gained a faulty image already. 

But, if you do UAT and deploy its version for Beta testing, you can allow a group of users to use and collect feedback easily to spot issues. This way, making changes and improving the software will become much easier and less costly.

User satisfaction

The software is built for users; hence, they are the ones deciding whether it meets their expectations or not. Through UAT, you are doing just that. It will help you understand the issues and problems users face while using the app so that you can solve them. It enables you to provide unmatched user experience and satisfaction with the product.

Who performs UAT and When?

UAT is usually performed in the last phase of software development, making the software live for the audience or delivering the product to the client. It takes place after testing the product thoroughly and can be performed by:

  • End users/client: If you are releasing software for commercial use, then the client buying the software can perform UAT. It can also be someone who has given a contract to a software service provider to custom-build the software. Or, if you are creating software for public use, you can release a version for a group of people and seek feedback from them to improve your software.
  • Testing team: The internal team comprising testers and functional experts can also participate in UAT. They will help design the UAT cycle and manage and run tests. In addition, the experts can analyze the results so that developers can work on them.

How to do UAT?

User acceptance testing processes may differ from organization to organization based on their end goals and business requirements.

However, the basic steps remain the same in every team. In general, UAT is performed by users in their location, like in the case of Beta testing.

So, once you know the software is ready for a user acceptance testing procedure, make sure these prerequisites are met:

Gathering the acceptance criteria: you must know all the points you which the software will be evaluated for. It could be – non-contractual aspects and business-relayed or app functionality-related aspects. You must revisit the initial contract drawn for the project before SDLC actually began. It will help you check whether all the deliverables are covered or not. In addition, you must validate the business functionality.

Defining QA involvement: Before starting the test, you must ensure how many people you are involved in your team. They will assist in the testing and training of UAT users on using the app and ensuring they face no difficulty. They can also share the feedback once the test is done. 

In addition, the QA team can also perform UAT based on what portion of the software the users want to test. They will also analyze and present the result to the client or development team for improvements.

Furthermore, ensure:

  • App code must be developed completely
  • No significant defect is there in the system
  • System testing, unit testing, integration testing, and regression testing are done
  • UAT environment is ready
  • Everyone on the team is informed and ready for the test

Finally, here are the steps you must take to initiate and run UAT.

Step 1: Test planning

You must plan UAT based on business requirements, best practices, and time frame. It will also include budget estimates and a description of responsibilities for each member in the process. In addition, set the benchmarks beforehand to examine process efficiency along with entry and exit criteria.

Step 2: Design the test cases

While designing a test case, ensure the test cases are clear for each team and based on real user stories. It must cover the functional aspects of the software. You must outline the steps in sequence, so the test workflow is streamlined. Also, if possible, automate the UAT process to increase productivity and efficiency.

Step 3: Set up a test environment and prepare data

The UAT test must ideally be different from that functional testing. The reason is many important real-time user scenarios would be ignored. So, set up a separate test environment.

Next, you can use the data from the production phase for the test data. However, you must ensure not to involve any personal data.

Step 4: Run UAT

Execute the UAT test case. You can also assist the end users performing UAT on the software to get started and check their use cases. If they feel any trouble, you will be there to help them.

For running UAT, many teams use a UAT tool such as Usersnap, JIRA, etc. You can also select a test execution method beforehand, such as crowd testing.

Step 5: Iteration and bug fixing

If some errors occur in the testing phase, you can reiterate the test. And if some bugs or defects surface in the testing, you can fix the bug and reiterate the test to check whether it’s resolved or not.

When all bugs are cleared, you can sign off to indicate the software’s acceptance. It means the software is now ready for development and meets all the business requirements.

Best UAT tools

Using the right user acceptance testing (UAT) tool will ease the testing process, help you collect user feedback, and improve your software. So, here are some of the best UAT tools you can consider.

#1. Usersnap

Usersnap is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to collect user feedback through on-screen comments, screenshots, voice feedback, and screen recordings so that you can finish your projects faster. This tool is useful for SaaS, eCommerce, web agencies, and software companies to enhance their software with accurate testing and results.

Usersnap enables contextual bug reporting wherein testers can easily annotate, draw, and comment on the screen without going back and forth. In addition, every visual feedback will capture vital metadata such as browser information, OS, screen resolution, location, etc. You can seamlessly connect Usersnap with Jira and receive a notification whenever someone provides feedback or reports a bug.

#2. Userback

Leverage Userback and perform each UAT with greater efficiency and clear communication using visual site feedback. With video screen capturing, you can allow your tester to test and tell their honest experience with your website or application.

You can forward the feedback to your developers so that they can understand the issues and find a suitable solution faster and enhance your application. Managing UAT and bug reporting in the same tool will help you save significant time while allowing you to stay organized with notifications, categories, and tags.

#3. Opkey

If you are looking for a test automation tool for your packaged application Opkey is an excellent option. It lets you discover all your current test scenarios quickly within minutes. You can easily create custom tests even with no coding.

Opkey utilizes artificial intelligence to self-heal your broken tests and process mining to immediately discover business processes, generating 100% of required test cases. Furthermore, receive proactive alerts on the impacts faster changes go through the production phase and analyze them closely.

#4. TestMonitor

Manage UAT tests using TestMonitor, which offers a simple and intuitive way to test. No matter how complex your test requirements are, you can organize each test effectively, from planning, defining, and designing to performing tests and tracking results. 

Get an upper hand on your planning, gain clear insights into your software quality, and follow developments accordingly. This tool allows users to quickly report bugs and issues in your software and share opinions by leveraging an easy-to-use interface. Its reporting features are powerful to help you stay updated with every progress and outcome.

TestMonitor’s test case editor is designed to work out of the box and is capable of handling a large number of tests. You can also prioritize tests and understand risks as well. It also has a robust integrated issue tracker that includes features like filters, history, commenting, time management, and attachment handling.

Conclusion

Performing a UAT test will ensure no defects or errors are present in the software you are building and that it has been developed in accordance with the client or end users’ intended use.

Thus, keep in mind the above prerequisites and steps and run user acceptance testing. You can also use the above UAT tools to automate the tests and make them more effective. 

You may now read about the different types of application testing.