What Does User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Mean?
User acceptance testing (UAT) is an important phase of the software development process that verifies whether a product or software is fit for the purpose it was built for in the first place—namely, that it:
- Fulfills business requirements
- Provides a good user experience (UX) for end-users
UAT, which is is typically done after functional tests have been completed, involves testing the system or service with real users — or representatives of the target user group — in a controlled environment. This allows the developers to observe how the users interact with the system and identify any issues or areas for improvement.
Techopedia Explains User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
UAT can also be implemented by making software available for a free beta trial on the internet or through an in-house testing team.
Purpose of User Acceptance Testing
The main objectives of UAT are to:
- Ensure that the software is user-friendly and easy to use.
- Identify any defects or bugs that need to be fixed before deployment.
- Verify that the software meets the requirements and specifications of the end-users or client and is suitable for its intended purpose.
- Confirm that the software is ready for deployment.
Types of User Acceptance Tests
There are several different types of user acceptance tests in software development, including:
- Alpha testing: This type of test is typically conducted by a small group of internal users, and is used to identify any major issues with the software before it is released to a larger group of users.
- Beta testing: This type of test is typically conducted by a group of external users and is used to identify any remaining issues with the software before it is released to the general public.
- Contract acceptance testing (CAT): This type of acceptance testing is used to ensure that software meets the requirements specified in a contract between the developer and the client. Contract acceptance testing is typically conducted by the client to validate that the application behaves as expected and meets their specific needs.
- Usability UAT: This type of test is used to evaluate the usability of the software, including its ease of use, user interface design and navigation.
- Regulation acceptance testing (RAT): This type of acceptance testing is used to ensure software meets the requirements specified by regulatory bodies or laws. This type of testing is typically conducted by the client, but in some cases an independent third party may be required to conduct the testing.
- Accessibility testing: This type of test is used to evaluate the accessibility of the software, such as keyboard navigation, screen reader compatibility and color contrast.
How to Conduct User Acceptance Tests
The user acceptance testing process includes the following steps:
The UAT strategy is outlined during the planning step. For example, the requirements for each intended feature that will be tested are noted, and the minimum standards that should be met are determined.
Designing test cases
Test cases are designed to cover all the functional scenarios of the software in real-world usage. Each test must describe a sequence of steps and the expected results to cover an ideal usage scenario of the product. Ensure they use simple language and are written in a clear manner to make the test process easier for the testers.
Selection of testing team
The testing team is comprised of real-world end users that should meet certain criteria to be included (for example, knowledge of the business, ability to detect and report issues, etc.).
Executing test cases and documenting
The testing team executes the designated test cases. Sometimes it also executes some relevant random tests. All bugs are logged in a testing document with relevant comments.
Responding to the bugs found by the testing team, the software development team makes final adjustments to the code to make the software bug free. After bugs and errors are fixed, testing can be run again to ensure that the issue was properly addressed.
When all bugs have been fixed, the testing team indicates acceptance of the software application. This shows that the application meets user requirements and is ready to be rolled out in the market.
Importance of UAT
UAT is a necessary step that must be fulfilled before the release of the application to avoid issues such as the developers failing to understand the requirements of the end-users, or changes during the development phases that have not been adequately communicated.
UAT is important because it helps demonstrate that software is performing well and is operating in a manner suited to real-world circumstances and usage.