What Is User Acceptance Testing?

What Is User Acceptance Testing?
Article by Maria Martin
Last Updated: April 06, 2023

The importance of testing and quality assurance in developing a digital product cannot be overstated. High-performing product teams with well-defined testing criteria spend 22% less time fixing issues. 

In this article, we will look at the UAT meaning, its purpose and the parties responsible for performing UAT. 

We will also discuss the essential steps for performing UAT testing and a specific bug-tracking tool, particularly useful for web developers and web designers.

What Is User Acceptance Testing?

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a kind of testing that the end-user or a client performs to verify the quality of the software, a website or a system before moving into the production or launch phase. 

User acceptance testing (UAT) is performed at the final stage of development and testing after functional, integrational and system tests are complete. 

The Purpose of UAT 

User acceptance testing (UAT) is implemented to determine if the software does what it was developed to do and if it meets the client’s expectations. UAT also validates changes that were made and evaluates if the development team adhered to the business’s requirements. 

User Acceptance Testing does not perform aesthetic or spelling trials – it is carried out in a separate UAT environment with a production-like test data setup. 

Experts that monitor the technical side of a website or software development shape the UAT cycles and help interpret the results. 

However, UAT is performed by the business users that know what the end product should look like, what functionalities it should contain and how it should behave in daily practice. 

When Is UAT Testing Necessary? 

Developers and testers validate the end product by comparing it to the functional specification document provided by the client. They interpret these requirements to develop and then test the product. 

Although the software product is developed and finalized according to client specifications, some business requirements and processes may only be known to end-users or can be misinterpreted and badly communicated. 

UAT testing is important because it validates if all business requirements are fulfilled before the product is released to the target audience and market. User acceptance testing helps businesses avoid big losses caused by post-launch issues. 

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UAT Prerequisites 

Before any proper UAT can begin, the testing team in charge must meet these eight prerequisites: 

  • Create a Business Requirement document 
  • Develop the application/website code and wireframe 
  • Complete Unit Testing, Integration Testing & System Testing 
  • Complete Regression Testing with no big defects 
  • Populate all the defects reports 
  • Complete traceability matrix for all testing 
  • Prepare UAT environment 
  • Sign off mail or communication from System Testing Team that the system is ready for UAT execution 

These necessary conditions must be met before UAT testing commences to ensure its success and full compliance with the original requirements. Following this step in the UAT process also ensures the end-users get the best version of the end product after the launch. 

[Source: BugHerd]

How To Perform User Acceptance Testing in 5 Steps

  1. Gather Necessary Data
  2. Define the Scope of UAT
  3. Develop the UAT Design
  4. Execute User Acceptance Testing
  5. Evaluate Product VS Business Objective

Although the intricacies of each user acceptance testing will differ based on the tested product type and niche, there are some obligatory stages that each UAT test plan should adhere to. 

Following the best practices below is the key to successful user acceptance testing from start to finish. 

1. Gather Necessary Data

The first step to a solid UAT is collecting the information needed to create a comprehensive, all-encompassing test. 

To gather this data, relevant stakeholders should answer these questions: 

  • Which processes need to be tested? 
  • What are the guidelines for identifying test data? 
  • What are the intended results of the changes that were made to the system? 
  • Which individuals are responsible for testing? 

Bear in mind that the UAT process requires a lot of collaboration between different functional leads, integration managers and relevant business process owners. 

2. Define the Scope of UAT

Not all websites, apps, software or system processes need testing. Some of them you can skip, so do not begin your user acceptance testing before defining the scope of the test. 

If you do not determine which part of the system needs testing, it may become very difficult for the testing team to decide on aspects critical for the test’s success. 

3. Develop the UAT Design

After identifying the scope, a team should develop the UAT design which consists of mapping and allocating various test steps to different end-users, as well as setting a timeline for the test. 

This will serve as a blueprint for the following step – the actual testing – and is there to provide guidelines and ensure an uninterrupted test phase. 

4. Execute User Acceptance Testing

Once the UAT process is clearly defined and all steps are established, your team can begin testing and addressing any bugs and defects. The end goal of this step is to decide whether to launch the product or not. 

A perfect balance between testers and developers is essential for this step to be a success. Documentation, progress reporting and defect management are particularly vital during UAT execution. 

5. Evaluate Product VS Business Objective

After the user acceptance testing is completed and all the bugs have been identified and resolved, the next phase is to sign off on UAT and go live with your product. The product deployment should be approved if it meets the business requirements delivered to you by the client. 

[Source: BugHerd]

UAT Checklist Template  

  1. Testing Scope, Objectives and Requirements 
  2. Testing Team
  3. Testing Milestones and Deliverables
  4. Environmental Requirements
  5. Features Being Tested

Now that you know what it is, you may wonder how to do user acceptance testing. We prepared a user acceptance testing template, a complete UAT checklist that will facilitate the testing process and make it as simple as possible.  

UAT checklist contains the following:  

1. Testing Scope, Objectives and Requirements 

The first user acceptance testing stage is answering important questions about the goals we aim to achieve with UAT, its scope and requirements:  

  • What are testing objectives?  
  • What insights will UAT provide us?  
  • How will we measure results at the end of the testing process?  
  • What precisely are we testing?  
  • What pain points do we aim to solve with this UAT?  

2. Testing Team 

The second step is defining testing project team members and their exact responsibilities so that each knows their role and what is expected from them. By listing out team members and their duties, you will avoid confusion, improve communication, provide excellent testing coverage, and allow efficient use of resources.  

3. Testing Milestones and Deliverables 

The third step in UAT contains five stages that will lead to successful testing execution:  

  • Design and testing process. Share design and wireframes to ensure the entire testing team understands their responsibilities. Then, specify the testing schedule and method.  
  • Staging environment. Specify the needs for the staging user acceptance environment, which should be as similar to production as possible.   
  • Training. Describe your plan for training beta testers.  
  • UAT execution. Describe the entire UAT process to the smallest details, from onboarding to testers' reports and data analysis.  
  • Reporting and data analysis. Complete analysis of each test case — discover the issues that testers encountered and potential areas for improvement.  

4. Environmental Requirements 

Environmental requirements include software and hardware requirements:  

  • Software requirements. List all additional software you need to download and install for UAT purposes.  
  • Hardware requirements. If the software has difficulties running on hardware, list the essential and recommended specifications so the QA team can confirm that the testers' computers can run the software.  

5. Features Being Tested 

Identifying and listing the features you’ll be testing is crucial, especially if you deal with many features simultaneously. Without this list, the testing team could get distracted and lose important testing time or data.  

  • Name each feature you’re going to test.  
  • Provide a detailed explanation of the features' pass and fail criteria.  
  • Create clear, concise, step-by-step instructions on how to test each feature.  
  • Define the features testing teams should ignore during functional testing so they don't get distracted, primarily if they’re testing many functionalities at once.  

How To Conduct UAT Quickly and Accurately 

Teams who perform UAT can benefit from bug-tracking software to make sure there are no process delays and further errors along the way. 

Take BugHerd, for example. This all-in-one visual feedback tool and bug-tracking system for collecting, organizing and managing website feedback act as a digital form of sticky notes for tracking bugs on a webpage. 

The tool allows users to leave their feedback on website development directly on a webpage that is in the works or already live. BugHerd can contain test data like a screenshot, OS, CSS selector data, browser info and others so that technically-savvy personnel can resolve issues without looking for clarifications from less savvy individuals. 

The principles of how BugHerd works are: 

  • It pins feedback to the website 
  • The feedback can include, videoscreenshots, browser and OS info, screen resolution, CSS selector, etc.
  • Feedback with bugs is sent to a centralized, Kanban-style board where team members can collaborate remotely and track and manage everything until the bug is resolved 
  • BugHerd is a tool suitable for anyone involved in the website development and QA process, as well as clients in UAT. 

In terms of who can use the tool, BugHerd can provide numerous benefits for: 

  • Web Developers 
  • Web Designers 
  • Project Managers 
  • QA Testers 
  • SaaS Product teams 

The Benefits of a Visual Feedback Tool and Bug Tracking System 

This type of tool benefits all businesses, no matter the vertical, industry, size of their target audience or, indeed, the size of the company itself. 

An intuitive and easy-to-use tool like BugHerd allows businesses to: 

  • Remove extensive email or spreadsheet back-and-forth and save time on UAT and QA for new website builds 
  • Save time on coordinating and managing feedback 
  • Store all feedback in one central location so that no feedback falls through the crack 
  • Enable other team members to view feedback on the website 
  • Get instant reports on website bugs and issues 

The Cost of Using a Bug Tracking Tool 

Bug tracking tools usually come on a monthly subscription basis. The average range is $10 to $50. The costs will depend on the features and the registered number of users. 

BugHerd pricing range goes from $39 per month (with access for five users) to $229 per month (up to 50 users) for monthly users. 

The software also provides an option of a custom plan. Companies can personalize their BugHerd set of features and the pricing is agreed upon accordingly. 

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BugHerd also offers a free, 14-day trial period with no credit card info needed upfront. 

Are UAT and acceptance testing the same?  

The user acceptance testing process and acceptance testing are related but aren’t the same thing.  

Acceptance testing verifies that a system or application meets specified requirements and is ready for deployment. At the same time, performing user acceptance testing is focused on ensuring that the software or application is acceptable to end users or customers. 

User Acceptance Testing Takeaways

The user acceptance testing process is about the client's requirements and the end-user entity. Its purpose is to make sure that the final product meets the standards and requirements outlined by the client.

UAT testing is also done to ensure the software or program provides value and good usability to the target audience who will use the product. 

UAT is the last stage of the software testing process during which actual users put the software to a trial to ensure it handles tasks in real-life scenarios according to the set specifications. 

It is the final verification step before the product is released. If the product works as intended during real-world condition simulations, teams can assume that it will also work properly once launched. 

The five essential steps for performing UAT are: 

  • Collect necessary product data 
  • Define the testing scope 
  • Develop the UAT design 
  • Conduct user acceptance testing 
  • Evaluate product VS business objectives 

UAT Testing FAQs

1. What are the 4 types of user acceptance testing?  

Four types of user acceptance testing are:  

  1. Alpha Testing & Beta Testing - Alpha testing is an internal process of identifying apparent flaws. Beta testing is an external pilot test of a product before it enters commercial production.  
  2. Contract Acceptance Testing makes assurance that manufacturers, vendors, or suppliers who have agreed to work as contractors on a project have adhered to the product's standards.  
  3. Regulation Acceptance Testing - a type of UAT performed on software that is required to meet specific regulatory standards, such as healthcare or finance industry software.  
  4. Operational Acceptance testing is used to verify software or a product's operational readiness (pre-release).  

2. What is the difference between QA and UAT?  

There are three critical differences between Quality Assurance (QA) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT): the stage of the software development process they take place in, the testing's primary goal and the testing participants.  

  • QA is usually performed on the test data throughout the software development life cycle, while UAT takes place at the end of the development cycle.  
  • QA's goal is to discover issues in the early stages of the development process so they can be improved, while user acceptance testing validates that software meets end users' needs and is ready for deployment.  
  • QA is typically carried out by a development team or a special QA team, while a representative group of end users performs UAT.  
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