What Is User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and Why Do We Need It?
User Acceptance Testing, better known as UAT is the last section of the whole testing process of any software. Often overlooked and deemed time consuming, this process helps improve software quality and overall acceptance rate of newly implemented software (or iterations). How can your project benefit from this type of testing? And how does end-user testing excel and improve development quality?
User Acceptance Testing is in essence a process that verifies if a solution (new or improved) works for the user. Even though it’s done in the last stages of software implementation, that doesn’t mean it’s not important or can be skipped as a whole.
Yes, the user plays a key role in the UAT .
They are essential because they will be the people who will be using the software on a daily or regular basis. Not considering their wishes, current methods of working and or looking at the functionality of certain packages could create unnecessary frustration and irritations among users, frequently ending up in the end-users abandoning expensive software altogether.
ISTQB defines UAT as:
“Acceptance testing (UAT) is formal testing with respect to user needs, requirements, and business processes conducted to determine whether or not a system satisfies the acceptance criteria and to enable the users, customers or other authorized entity to determine whether or not to accept the system. [After IEEE 610]”
It is the last phase of the software/web development process, a must before installing software for a client, or final distribution amongst users. An acceptance test can be understood as a way to check if a previously defined “contract” between the developer and the customer is still on track. Running those acceptance tests also ensures that no requirement change has happened in the meantime and that everything is as it should be to satisfy the customer.
This is done by letting people from the intended audience, document and reflect on any defects, irregularities and or workflow mismatches which are discovered while working with the software. It gives the intended users a chance to check the software before implementation and see if it fits with their current ways of implementing business processes. Some of the questions you would answer during a test cycle:
- Is the software suited to the end-users’ needs?
- Does the software behave as what they expected?
- Do they encounter problems using it? (Think about workflow differences/user compatibility)
Why is user acceptance testing still important?
Would you drive an untested car?
On a daily basis, businesses take risks by not testing their software in accordance to a test plan. Imagine the time and money you would save by making sure your software works… It’s quite common to hear that software testing takes up too much time. We like to see this from a different perspective: what time is gained by testing?
Manual testing is important because it helps demonstrate that required business functions are operating in a manner suited to real-world circumstances and usage. Verified and tested by the people who are going to be working with it on a daily basis. Basically you and your testing and QA team are getting a better piece of software. The time invested in doing these beta testing cycles leads to significant improvements in the software quality.
Want to read more about why acceptance testing is essential in your organization? Check out our post: Why manual testing is absolutely crucial
Some benefits of UAT
- Keeps ongoing maintenance costs as low as possible
It’s faster and cheaper to fix functionality and usability issues early-on.
- Provide optimal opportunities to identify and repair broken features/usability issues
In the early phases of quality assurance testing. Keeping goals at task and requirement level allows testers to observe and notice much more and even attempt steps outside the developer’s provided scope.
- Provide an end-users vision
Outside of the field of view of the developers, feedback can be fed into subsequent iterations of software development.
- Increasing software robustness and usability
- Increase end-user happiness
Are there tools to help you with testing?
Most of what you see being used for manual testing is still old fashioned Excel sheets, being passed around the cloud or local environments. This is a very “old school” method, and although it’s better than doing nothing, it is time to enhance your projects with a tool like TestMonitor. (Read more about it on our blog why software testing in Excel is really not done anymore)
Create Happy Users!
By providing a simple and easy interface, users can easily share their opinions and findings of your soon to be implemented software within TestMonitor. Get the feedback that you are looking for and get structural insights in the acceptance rate, issues and functional workflows by your users of your new software by utilizing TestMonitor.
It’s now time to ask your end-users to create the experience they are looking for, does the software really work for them?