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How to Create the Optimal UAT Environment for Non-Professional Testers

by René Ceelen, on July 20, 2023


Given ample opportunity, time, and resources, no QA manager would bypass the invaluable input that an end user could provide during user acceptance testing (UAT). 

From validating your software performance’s ability to meet real-world scenarios to helping catch potential issues as a way to prevent costly fixes, end-user involvement is important. Unfortunately, each of these elements—time, resources, and opportunity—are often in short supply.

Although QA managers can’t control every aspect of software testing, they can influence some key elements to make for a more productive and comprehensive UAT testing experience.

The 3 Benefits of Thorough UAT Testing Preparation

Why is it worth the effort to not only carve out enough time for thorough UAT testing but also really lean in and make the necessary preparation to empower your testers to comprehensively evaluate your software? Here are three key reasons.

1. Empowering Non-Professional Testers

Creating the conditions within your UAT environment doesn’t just help non-professional testers to add their perspectives and insights to a design. It also gives them the tools to ultimately improve the overall quality of your software.

Searching for an effective UAT test plan template? >>

2. Breaking Down Barriers

Facilitating a welcoming UAT environment promotes collaboration, learning, and effective communication of what went well, what needs to be fixed, what takes priority, and why these elements are important to overall delivery.

3. Unleashing the Power of User Feedback

Making the space for testers to uncover critical usability issues directly correlates to enhancing user experience and ensuring your software meets the needs of its intended audience.

Building the Optimal UAT Environment

How can QA managers evaluate if their UAT testing environment is providing the right conditions for testers of all skill levels and perspectives to provide the necessary feedback? Here are three key tips.

Invest in a User-Friendly Test Management Tool

One of the biggest steps toward enhancing the testing experience is providing a user-friendly test management tool with an intuitive interface and tools. By selecting test management tools with personalized interfaces and dashboards, testers can have a seamless user experience, easily access features and functionalities, effortlessly track work, monitor their progress, view assigned tasks, and track testing activities.

Test management tools can also help with:

  • Delivering real-time notifications and updates that can keep testers informed of any changes relevant to their work
  • Providing clear instructions and comprehensive guidance on objectives and test procedures
  • Centralizing essential data, such as test cases and documentation

Don’t Skip Training and Documentation

Take your UAT testing prep to the next level by providing comprehensive training programs that equip testers with the necessary knowledge, guidance, and skills to carry out their testing responsibilities. This can include user-friendly documentation and guides that provide non-professional testers with clear instructions and reference materials.

Leveraging structured and consistent test scripts can also help to significantly simplify the testing process by giving non-professional testers a predefined framework to use each step of the way, reducing confusion and errors. This approach enhances efficiency and accuracy while maintaining consistency throughout the testing phase.

Engage Testers Early and Often

One of the biggest challenges noted in TestMonitor’s 2023 UAT Survey Report was getting non-professional testers involved, actively participating, and motivated to test.

One way to do this is to engage testers early and frequently, fostering a supportive environment for testers to contribute their insights and feedback. This can take the form of visual reports that help testers and stakeholders visualize the impact of their contributions and understand the overall status of the project. 

Another tip is to involve testers in the test design phase, which ensures that the testing process addresses their unique requirements, work styles, and communication preferences, leading to more effective and productive testing outcomes. Taking this step helps testers feel more connected to the purpose behind their work. This can be as easy as showing them how their contributions fix annoying designs or improve usability with different features.

Together, these changes promote transparency and alignment among all stakeholders involved in the testing process and foster a sense of ownership and accountability, ultimately contributing to better UAT outcomes.

Bringing It All Together

At first blush, the idea of involving non-professional testers can bring on new levels of stress about timeline and engagement to an already tense phase in a project’s lifecycle. By following these tips and keeping the benefits of weaving them into the UAT process in mind, your QA programs will not only benefit from fresh perspectives on your work that can help to identify issues that professional testers may overlook, but your project will also benefit from more comprehensive test coverage. 

The end result? More secure, sound, and fit-for-purpose software.

Want to learn more about what your peers are doing, thinking, and experiencing when it comes to UAT testing? Take a moment to read the latest results of TestMonitor’s latest UAT Survey.

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