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  • June 4, 2024

User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Definition, Process, and Tools

Learn about User Acceptance Testing (UAT), its purpose, types, challenges, and best practices. Discover how to perform UAT using cloud-based solutions.

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OVERVIEW

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a methodology where clients or end users participate in testing to validate the product against their requirements. This testing is typically conducted at the clients' or developers' sites.

Testing is a familiar concept, but approval involves agreeing to specific criteria. The user in User Acceptance Testing can be either the consumer of the software product or the person who requested its development. The main goal of UAT is to validate the product against business needs and requirements. An end-user with business familiarity typically carries out this validation.

What is User Acceptance Testing?

User Acceptance Testing (UAT), also known as end-user testing, is a crucial phase in software development where the client or end-users test the website or mobile app. It is the final phase in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), focusing on ensuring the application meets real-world business requirements and performance expectations.

The primary objective of UAT is to guarantee that the software meets the needs of its users and performs according to its specifications. It allows end-users to validate that the software can handle real-world tasks effectively.

During UAT, the development and core testing team typically do not directly participate in the testing process. Instead, the goal is to assess how welcoming users find the software applications. This stage comes after system, functional, and regression testing.

Why Perform User Acceptance Testing?

Despite meeting functional specifications, software often needs to catch up on business requirements and processes known only to end-users. This is where UAT plays a crucial role. It validates whether all business requirements are fulfilled before the software is released for market use.

UAT is important because it uses live data and real use cases, making it an integral part of the release cycle. Its success is paramount, as many businesses have experienced significant losses due to post-release issues. The cost of fixing defects after release is much higher than addressing them before, highlighting the importance of a successful UAT process.

The benefits of User Acceptance Testing include:

  • Enhanced user experience: It results in a product that aligns better with end-user needs, leading to higher satisfaction and a more positive user experience.
  • Improved workflow efficiency: It helps identify and address issues in the software that may hinder customer workflows, resulting in more efficient processes.
  • Cost savings: It identifies and resolves issues before the product is released, helps reduce support costs, and reduces the number of customer service tickets, saving time and resources.
  • Reduced production defects: It helps catch defects early in the development process, leading to fewer defects in production, less downtime, improved reliability, and higher productivity.
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Who Performs User Acceptance Testing?

The client or end-users of the software typically conduct User Acceptance Testing. It includes individuals who have purchased the product or had custom software developed by a service provider.

The UAT team can consist of beta testers, or the customer may be asked to select UAT members from various organizational groups internally. It helps ensure that every user role is adequately represented and that all aspects of the software are tested thoroughly.

UAT is crucial because it allows the end-users to validate that the software meets their specific needs and requirements, ensuring it is fit for purpose before it is officially released.

Types of User Acceptance Testing

UAT encompasses various types, each serving a specific purpose in ensuring the software meets user requirements. The fundamental kinds of UAT include.


types-of-user-acceptance-testing

Alpha testing

The QA team conducts it without the involvement of prospective users. It takes place in the development environment under the project team's control. The primary goal of alpha testing is to identify any system defects or issues. If any bugs are found during alpha testing, the development team is responsible for fixing them before the software moves on to the next level of testing, such as beta testing or other forms of UAT. It helps ensure the software is stable and functions correctly before being released to a broader audience.

Beta testing

It is a crucial phase in the software development life cycle that differs significantly from alpha testing. Unlike alpha testing, which is conducted in a controlled environment, beta testing aims to simulate real-world usage conditions.

During beta testing, the software is made available to a selected group of prospective customers who use it in their environments. It allows the project team to gather valuable feedback on the software's performance, usability, and potential bugs or issues.

Engaging with prospective customers in beta testing can provide insights that are difficult to obtain through other testing methods. It helps ensure the software meets user expectations and is ready for a successful launch.

Operational acceptance testing

It is also known as production acceptance testing and is a crucial phase in the User acceptance testing process. It validates user workflows and ensures the software is ready for operational use. It includes various test cases to verify that the software meets operational requirements. These may consist of validating backup plans, ensuring that user training algorithms are practical, completing security checks, and verifying that software maintenance procedures are in place.

Overall, operational acceptance testing is essential for ensuring the software is functionally correct and ready for deployment in a live operational environment. It helps reduce the risk of issues arising after the software is released and ensures a smoother transition to production.

Prototype testing

It is a crucial phase in the software development process, especially after designing the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). QA teams use prototypes to detect defects and errors before creating the final product version. It allows the development and design teams to iterate on solutions, improving the final functionality and interface.

During prototype testing, testers gather prospective users as part of focus groups to validate the interface's clarity and alignment with user needs and requirements. They collect behavioral data and verbal feedback to determine the direction the marketing and branding teams should take to enhance the positional and visual aspects of the product. This feedback is invaluable in ensuring that the final product meets user expectations and is user-friendly.

Contract and regulation acceptance testing

Contract acceptance testing involves validating a product against specific requirements outlined in a contract. The testing team reviews and provides feedback on the acceptance criteria defined in the service level agreement. The goal is to ensure that the software meets all contractual obligations and specifications.

Regulation acceptance testing, on the other hand, focuses on ensuring that the software complies with relevant regulations, standards, and guidelines. It includes data protection laws, government security requirements, and industry-specific regulations. Experts in this type of testing verify that the software meets all regulatory compliance requirements to avoid legal issues and penalties.

Factory acceptance testing

It occurs within the testing team before beta testing. It is conducted to validate both software and hardware system components before the product is released for broader testing or use.

It is valuable because it helps identify and address system defects early in the development cycle. The testing team can gain insights into why defects occurred and take corrective actions by conducting FAT. One of the key benefits of this is its cost-effectiveness compared to tests that require end users. It allows for thorough testing in a controlled environment, minimizing the risk of issues arising later in the development process.

How to Perform User Acceptance Testing?

You can perform User Acceptance Testing in a few simple steps. Once you satisfy the entry criteria, you must complete the following tasks:

User Acceptance Testing Process
  • Business requirement analysis
  • This stage involves developing and identifying testing scenarios that accurately reflect the real-world use of the software. Test scenarios can be derived from various sources, including business use cases, project charters, business requirements analysis, process flow diagrams, and system requirements specifications (SRS). These scenarios should cover a wide range of potential user interactions with the software to ensure that it meets the business needs and functions as intended.

  • Test plan creation
  • This stage involves creating a test plan for UAT, which is essential to outline the strategy for verifying and ensuring that an application meets the required business requirements. The test plan documents the entry and exit criteria, test case approach, test scenarios, and the test timeline.

    The test plan serves as a roadmap for the UAT process, ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to thoroughly test the application before it is released to the end-users. It helps to ensure that the UAT process is well-organized, efficient, and effective in validating the application against the business requirements.

  • Test scenario identification
  • This stage involves the test scenario identification phase, focusing on high-end business processes. Create test cases with proper steps to cover various User Acceptance Testing scenarios. Utilize business use cases as input to create comprehensive test cases, leading to a practical test design. This approach ensures that the testing process aligns closely with the actual usage of the software in a real-world business environment.

  • Creation of test cases
  • This stage involves creating test cases. It's essential to leverage live data intended for User Acceptance Testing. However, scrambling the data is crucial to ensure privacy and security. Testers should familiarize themselves with the database flow to create and execute test cases effectively. Understanding the database structure and how data flows through the system is critical for ensuring comprehensive test coverage and identifying potential issues.

  • Test data preparation
  • This stage involves test data preparation. Executing different test cases to identify and report any existing bugs is essential. After fixing these bugs, it's crucial to re-test them to ensure they have been resolved. Test management tools can be used to effectively execute and manage this process, ensuring that all identified issues are adequately addressed before the software's final release.

  • Running the test cases
  • This stage involves sending a sign-off email to indicate that testing is complete and the application is ready for production. This sign-off indicates that the application meets the user's requirements and is ready to be deployed.

    User Acceptance Testing deliverables typically include UAT scenarios, test plans, test cases, defect logs, and test results. These documents provide a comprehensive overview of the testing process and the results obtained, helping stakeholders understand the application's readiness for production.

  • Results recording
  • This stage involves transitioning from the test environment to the production phase. It's essential to record the test results, which includes checking for any open critical defects, evaluating the functionality of the business processes, and documenting feedback from stakeholders.

    Recording the results ensures that all issues are properly documented and addressed before the application is deployed to production. It also records the testing process and outcomes for future reference.

User Acceptance Testing Tools

Several tools are available for conducting UAT, and the choice of tool depends on various factors such as the setup of your project, the scale of your project, the specific requirements of your testing, and your budget.

LambdaTest

LambdaTest is an AI-powered cloud testing platform that lets you run manual and automated tests at scale. It offers a remote test lab of 3000+ real devices, browsers, and OS combinations designed to meet all web application and mobile app testing needs in the cloud infrastructure.

Tricentis Tosca

Tricentis Tosca is a powerful model-based tool designed to create automated tests based on business processes. It offers a comprehensive range of test automation features, including API testing, GUI testing, mobile testing, and data-driven testing.

TestComplete

TestComplete is an automated testing environment that supports various application types and technologies, including Windows, .NET, WPF, Visual C++, Visual Basic, Delphi, C++Builder, Java, and web applications and services.

User Acceptance Testing Design Template

A User Acceptance Testing design template is a document that outlines the plan and strategy for performing UAT on software applications. This document guides the QA team and provides a framework for executing the UAT process effectively.

The components of UAT design template include:-

  • Project Name: Clearly identify the project or software version
  • Testing Objectives: Outline the goals and objectives of the user acceptance testing.
  • Change Log: Document changes made during the testing process.
  • Test Items:List the specific items or features being tested.
  • Detailed Action Plan: Present a step-by-step plan for executing the test cases.
  • Environment Requirements: Specify hardware and software requirements for testing.
  • Entry Criteria: Define the conditions that must be met for testing to begin.
  • UAT Team: Identify individuals or roles responsible for UAT.
  • Tools: List and describe any tools employed in the testing process.
  • End of Testing: Outline the criteria or steps that signify the completion of testing.

Ensuring comprehensive coverage of software functionality and performance. Effective UAT involves understanding user roles, leveraging business language, and providing hands-on training for real-world scenario simulation.

Simplify User Acceptance Testing on Cloud

To perform User Acceptance Testing on LambdaTest, we must follow some steps, as shown below.

Step 1: Select Real Device from the left menu of the dashboard to access Browser Testing on mobile.

Step 2: Under the Real Device menu, click on Browser Testing. On the right side of the screen, you can provide the URL, and select the browser, device, device type, and OS version.


Real Device menu, click on Browser Testing

Step 3: Click the Start button and wait for the device to launch based on the configuration.


 Start button and wait for the device to launch based on the configuration

Once the device is launched, you can use various options to help you perform testing effectively. To leverage more features of real-time testing, refer to the documentation: Real Time Browser Testing.

Challenges in User Acceptance Testing

Conducting User Acceptance Testing can be challenging, especially when confronted with issues such as a lack of resources or communication gaps. Businesses can consider handing over UAT responsibilities to their functional testing team to address these bottlenecks.

While functional testers typically focus on the product's functions, business analysts can bring a user-centric perspective, ensuring that the product meets end-user needs and requirements. Ultimately, allocating UAT to a professional team helps ensure thorough testing and validation of the product from the user's perspective.

  • Lack of communication
  • This can be a common challenge in software development projects, and it's crucial for software developers, business analysts, testers, and all team members to maintain open and timely communication. Without effective communication, even minor errors can lead to confusion and delays.

    To address this issue, teams can use test integration tools to log defects, track progress, and facilitate smoother communication among team members. These tools help ensure everyone is on the same page and issues are addressed promptly, leading to more efficient and effective software development processes.

  • New stakeholder requirements
  • When testing a product, it's important to remember that your business has the freedom to set new needs and requirements. Stakeholders may introduce new business requirements for consideration in future releases, even if they are not always time-sensitive. It's essential to align project management requirements with business needs to ensure the project stays on track and meets its objectives.

  • Lack of proper plans for the process
  • This process can lead to delays and inefficiencies. It typically occurs after the regression testing process, giving the team a final opportunity to ensure that the product meets the development requirements. However, delays in other project stages can impact the time available for UAT.

    It's essential to plan UAT during the requirements and risk analysis phase. Identifying and communicating real-time use cases to the QA team is crucial. It helps ensure that UAT is conducted efficiently and effectively, leading to a successful product release.

    To learn more about incorporating risk management in your testing strategy, follow this guide on typical risk analysis and management strategies and gain valuable insight.


  • Providing personal opinions
  • Its customers may sometimes provide critical or unnecessary feedback. It's essential not to dismiss these comments outright but to build positive customer relationships. Instead of assuming their intentions, ask for clarification and understand the reasoning behind their feedback. This approach can lead to more meaningful discussions and help address any legitimate concerns they may have.

Best Practices for User Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing can be done correctly when you involve the correct practices. You need to be clear on your objectives and get going. Here are the most used User Acceptance Testing practices:

  • Identify and understand your target audience
  • Organizations should try to know about them in detail. You shouldn't waste your time when things don’t work as they should. When you connect with your users, you must select your potential and actual users to conduct User Acceptance Testing. The development team should refrain from the user test. The feedback you receive from your users is quite helpful.

  • Develop the best test plan
  • A comprehensive test plan is essential for guiding and enhancing the testing effort. The test plan serves as a manual outlining the testing objectives, general practices, and detailed activities to be performed. It's essential to prepare thoroughly to minimize obstacles for the user. Additionally, listening attentively to user questions and problems is crucial for addressing their needs effectively.

  • Come up with how you communicate about the bugs
  • When communicating about bugs, it's essential to have a straightforward process. When a user reports a bug, record all necessary information, including steps to reproduce the issue, environment details, and any relevant screenshots or screencasts. Automated screenshot testing can be a valuable tool for quickly capturing and sharing bug information with your team, helping to streamline the bug-fixing process.

  • Define your Acceptance Criteria correctly
  • This is crucial for determining the success of your product. After product development, clear and well-defined acceptance criteria are essential to determine whether your product is ready for approval. Your acceptance criteria should be easily testable, understandable to everyone, and written in simple language from a user-oriented perspective.

  • Observe how your customers react to visual aspects
  • To observe how your customers react to visual aspects, ask open-ended questions about the app's visual appeal and color scheme. Conducting UI testing can help you understand these factors better. You can make this process easy by using LambdaTest smart visual UI testing feature to automate this process and ensure a consistent visual experience across browsers and devices.

Note

Note : Perform UAT across 3000+ browser environments. Try LambdaTest Now!

User Acceptance Testing vs. Beta Testing

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and beta testing are distinct yet complementary stages within the software development life cycle. Explore those differences from the table below.


Aspects User Acceptance Testing Beta Testing
Description Distinct yet complementary stages within the software development life cycle. It involves releasing a pre-release version (beta version) to external beta testers.
Core Function Focuses on verifying that a software application aligns with its designated users' specific needs and requirements. Involves external beta testers exploring the software in authentic conditions.
Participants End-users or specified stakeholders actively engage with the software. The selected group of external users is known as beta testers.
Validation Focus Functionality, usability, and alignment with real-world scenarios. Identifying bugs, glitches, and user experience aspects.
Timing in Life Cycle Ultimate validation step before the official release of the software. Pre-release version before the full launch of the software.
Purpose Identify and address any issues or enhancements necessary to meet user expectations. Uncover issues missed during internal testing, enabling refinements and improvements.
Contribution to Quality Ensures the software meets user requirements. Engages external users in identifying final issues or refinements for a successful release.
Overall Goal Deliver a high-quality, user-friendly software application. Contribute to a successful release through external user input.

User Acceptance Testing Vs. System Testing

In this section, we will learn how User Acceptance Testing differs from system testing, which is intended to test the functionality of a system as a whole after all the system components have been integrated.


Aspect User Acceptance Testing System Testing
Purpose To check whether the software meets the user's requirements. To check whether the software or product meets the specified requirements.
Performed by It is performed by testers, stakeholders, and clients. Developers and testers perform it.
Testing Type Only functional testing. Both functional and non-functional testing.
Constituent Testing Constitutes alpha and beta testing. Constitutes system and integration testing.
Sequence Done after system testing. Done before acceptance testing.
Test Cases Constitutes positive test cases. Constitutes positive and negative test cases.
Input Checks The system is checked for random inputs in acceptance testing. The system is checked for dummy inputs.

Conclusion

User Acceptance Testing is essential for realizing your branding and marketing potential. Using the right testing tools and strategies is crucial for performing UAT correctly. Sticking to the approach and best practices outlined in tutorials on UAT is essential.

This comprehensive tutorial outlines each step of UAT necessary for delivering user-friendly software applications. Using appropriate automation testing tools and techniques, you can optimize the testing procedure, identify issues early on, and deliver software that exceeds your users' expectations.

Frequently asked questions

  • General ...
What is the purpose of UAT?
The primary goal of UAT is to ensure that the website or app can comply with the real-time scenarios as per user specifications.
What is the difference between QA and UAT?
The difference between QA and UAT is that a QA would aim to offer error-less software. On the other hand, UAT would ensure that the users get everything they want in the product.
Who performs UAT testing?
The client or the end user would perform the User Acceptance Testing before they move on to the software application’s production environment.
What is UAT, and how does it work?
User Acceptance Testing is a process in software development where end-users test the software to ensure it meets their requirements before deployment. Users validate functionality, identify issues, and provide feedback to improve the final product's quality.
How should User Acceptance Testing be performed?
User Acceptance Testing should be performed by end users or representatives from the intended user base. They execute test scenarios, validate system behavior, and provide feedback. UAT can be performed through manual testing, automated scripts, or both.
Why is User Acceptance Testing important?
User Acceptance Testing is necessary because it validates the software's fitness for use, assesses its readiness for production, and provides crucial feedback from end users. It helps identify gaps or shortcomings before the software is released, reducing the risk of user dissatisfaction or rejection.
What is User Acceptance Testing in Agile?
In Agile development, User Acceptance Testing is performed iteratively throughout the development process. It involves collaboration between the development team and end users to continuously validate and refine the software's features, ensuring they align with user expectations and business goals.
Can automated testing be used for UAT?
While automated testing can be used, manual testing is often preferred for UAT because it focuses on real-world user scenarios.
How long does UAT typically take?
The duration varies based on the system's complexity, but it is generally a short phase compared to earlier testing stages.
Is UAT mandatory for every project?
While not mandatory, UAT is highly recommended for projects to ensure user satisfaction and identify potential issues.
What documents are essential for UAT?
Requirements documentation, test cases, and user acceptance criteria are crucial for a successful UAT process.

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