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Priya Patole
Lead Technical Writer
Priya has over 7+ years of combined experience in the areas of Technical Writing, Project Management and Business/Software/Technical Analysis i... Read More

Have you heard of “user acceptance testing”? We are sure your answer would be “Yes” if you are involved in any part of the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle).

“It’s All About the User”

When it comes to this type of testing software, as the name suggests, the user is the key element. The users are the people who’ll use the application, or the client for whom the application is developed. So, basically UAT is performed by the client or end-user.

  • Clients – They are the customers of the organization, the ones who require the organization to develop the software.
  • End Users – The end-users of the software could be the customers themselves or the customers’ customers.

So, it’s vital to make clients or users a part of the whole quality strategy in the software development as well as the usability testing process.

We know that each project is different and has different requirements. And so, in this blog, I am sharing some general recommendations about UAT phase. I will also walk you through the types and tools of UAT. Let’s get started!

What is UAT?

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a vital part of the ETL testing process. It is the final stage of any software project where the end users, or their representatives, test the product and approve it before going live. You can also simply define it as the critical stage of any project where the final product is tested and approved by the client before it is released to production.

Once QA testing is done on testing instances like Stage and Alpha, the product is deployed on a separate testing instance/environment like Beta for UAT and is shared with the client for user acceptance. The main purpose of acceptance testing cycle is to validate the end-to-end business flow. During this phase, the client might also provide feedback, which can be included in the current release or can be prioritized and planned for future release.

Now, what are the main objectives of UAT? Let’s take a look at those.  

Major objectives of UAT

UAT should be well-planned, structured, and documented as it is a critical phase of system implementation projects.

There are three basic questions for UAT that define the entire objective for user testing:

1. Have all functionalities been specified?

This question, although being handled during the initial phase of the project, needs to be checked by the Quality Assurance team during UAT for final confirmation.

2. Does specified functionalities work?

Although the main aim is to see if the system works in business scenarios, there is still a need to check if the system works correctly.

3. Do functionalities work in business scenarios?

User testing entails developing certain business scenarios which the system is expected to deal with and then running them against it.

The other objectives of the UAT process are:

  • Reduces the risk of having defects post release – UAT prevents the loss of reputation that can be caused to an organization on releasing software with defects. Additionally, fixing items in development rather than production is less costly and risky to the business.
  • Client gains skills and confidence to use the new system –This will help businesses build their support team from scratch, since the idea of a well-performed service is that of increasing revenues.

Now, what are the prerequisites?

Prerequisites of UAT Process

Before giving the product for UAT, we need to make sure that the following pointers are in place:

  • The business requirements document must be available since these requirements are considered as a datum point for UAT.
  • The application code should be fully developed and must satisfy the Zero defects’ criteria.
  • Unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and regression testing should be completed.
  • The traceability matrix for the entire testing process needs to be completed.
  • UAT environment must be ready.
  • A pre-release note/user manual document must be ready for reference.
  • Test plan with test cases (optional – depending on the client’s/user’s requirement) must be established.
  • A handbook that includes everything they need – including test data, access links/file locations, instructions, what areas to concentrate on, how to report an issue, and any contacts they might need should be curated.

Let’s explore the UAT process.

UAT Process

The user/client can begin with the UAT process once the product is developed. The time required for UAT may differ depending on how the user’s/client’s team proceeds with software testing.

The following steps are performed during any type of UAT:

The UAT process Nitor Infotech

1. Plan

  • Plan the time frame and strategies for UAT.
  • Select the user testing team.
  • Select the technical writing team.

2. Design

  • Identify and create a test plan with test scenarios, test cases, and test data covering all the software’s functional scenarios in real-world terms.
  • Facilitate easy review and early finish by sharing the test plan along with test scenarios and test cases with the client/user.

3. Execute

  • Execute the test using the test data.
  • Document the test results.
  • Start preparing any release document, if required.

4. Update the code, retest and sign-off

  • Resolve the defects found in the system with the help of the development team and re-test (UAT).
  • Send a sign off mailer after UAT from the business analysis team.

After this, the product should be ready to release with no open critical defect.

Now that you are familiar with the process, let’s delve into the types.

Types of UAT

User Acceptance Testing is classified into certain types, each fulfilling one clear purpose. Here are the most common ones:

Types of UAT Nitor Infotech

1. Alpha Testing

Alpha Testing takes place within the development environment. It is done by a selected group of end users or internal stakeholders. It aims to highlight major issues and collect early feedback on the system’s usability and functionality.

2. Beta Testing

Beta Testing involves a bigger group of external users who test the system in a real-world environment. The aim is to gather feedback on the system’s performance, identify bugs, and analyze its suitability for a larger audience.

3. Blackbox Testing

Blackbox Testing is another crucial type of User Acceptance Testing. It focuses on validating the system’s functionality without considering its internal workings.

4. Contract Acceptance Testing

Contract Acceptance Testing is done to ensure that the system aligns with the contractual agreements and meets the specified requirements. It focuses on validating whether the delivered product aligns with the agreed-upon terms.

5. Regulatory Acceptance Testing

Regulatory Acceptance Testing is done to ensure that the system complies with industry-specific regulations, standards, and legal requirements. This type of testing is vital in sectors like healthcare, finance, and government. There, adherence to rigorous regulations is paramount.

6. Operational Acceptance Testing

Operational Acceptance Testing gauges whether the system is ready to be deployed and operated in its intended environment. It aims to assess the system’s performance, stability, and compatibility with existing infrastructure.

Now, let’s take a closer look at two popular types: Beta Testing and Blackbox Testing. 

Beta Testing

One of the most popular types of UAT is Beta Testing. This involves releasing the software to a bigger group of external users. They represent the target audience or customer base.

Let’s dive deeper into the realm of Beta Testing:

  1. Scope and Purpose:The primary objective of Beta Testing is to amass valuable feedback from end users regarding the system’s performance, functionality, and usability in real-world scenarios. This helps organizations to identify potential bugs, glitches, and usability issues that may have been skipped during earlier stages of testing.
  2. Target Audience:The participants in Beta Testing are normally end users who are interested in trying out the software and provide their feedback. These users come from a diverse range of backgrounds, skill levels, and usage patterns. This enables a full evaluation of the system from distinct perspectives.
  3. Environment:Beta Testing is achieved in a live or production-like environment. It allows testers to interact with the system using their own devices and within real-world conditions. This environment feeds valuable insights into how the software performs and how users engage with it.
  4. Duration:The duration of Beta Testing changes depending on the complexity of the software and the number of participants involved. It typically lasts for a decided period. During this, testers actively use the system, report any issues they encounter, and offer feedback.
  5. Benefits: Beta Testing offers a lot of benefits to organizations. It helps to:
    • Compile real-world insights
    • Detect potential show-stopping bugs
    • Validate the system’s scalability and performance under varying loads
    • Judge user satisfaction

What’s more, it builds a sense of ownership and engagement with the customer.

Blackbox Testing

It focuses on evaluating the system’s functionality and behavior. This is sans considering its internal structure or code.

Read on to learn more about Blackbox Testing:

  1. Approach: In Blackbox Testing, testers have zero knowledge of the internal workings of the system. They interact with the software from a user’s perspective. This is using the provided user interface, inputs, and expected outputs. This approach leads to a more objective assessment of the system’s behavior.
  2. Test Scenarios: Blackbox Testing aims to validate whether the system functions as intended and fulfils the specified requirements. Test scenarios are designed to address various use cases and user interactions. This is to ensure comprehensive test coverage. Testers focus on input validation, boundary testing, error handling, and the overall flow of the system.
  3. Independence: Blackbox Testing is usually performed by a separate testing team or end users who are not involved in the development process. This independence ensures an unbiased evaluation of the system’s functionality. It helps to identify possible gaps between user expectations and actual system behavior.
  4. Test Techniques: Multiple techniques can be used in Blackbox Testing. These include equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis, decision table testing, and state transition testing. These techniques help to create test cases that cover a wide range of possible inputs and scenarios.
  5. Advantages: Blackbox Testing offers several advantages. It focuses on the system’s external behavior. This allows testers to identify issues that may affect user experience without delving into the system’s internal complexities. It also helps uncover functional defects, usability problems, and inconsistencies in the system’s behavior across different user interactions.

Beta Testing and Blackbox Testing are fundamental components of User Acceptance Testing. They contribute to the total quality and success of software projects.

By incorporating these types of UAT into your testing strategy, you can ensure a robust and user-friendly software product. This will be one that meets the expectations of your target audience!

Onwards to UAT tools!

UAT Tools

To streamline and improve the User Acceptance Testing process, various tools and frameworks are available. Here is a list of a few popular ones:

  1. JIRA: JIRA, a popular project management tool, offers powerful capabilities for managing User Acceptance Testing. It allows teams to:
    • Create test cases
    • Track defects
    • Monitor testing progress using customizable workflows
    • Integration with other development tools further enhances its functionality.
  1. LambdaTest: LambdaTest is a cloud-based testing platform that allows you to perform User Acceptance Testing on various browsers, operating systems, and devices. It has real-time testing capabilities, cross-browser compatibility testing, and visual regression testing. These make it a wonderful tool for ensuring consistent UX!
  2. TestRail: TestRail is a complete test management tool that supports you as you plan, track, and manage User Acceptance Testing activities. It brings to you features such as test case management, progress tracking, and real-time reporting. It enables efficient collaboration among testing teams.
  3. Selenium: Selenium is an open-source testing framework useful for automating web application testing. It supports multiple programming languages. It offers a lot of features for:
    • Simulating user interactions
    • Validating system behavior
    • Implementing regression testing

UAT is a crucial phase in the software development lifecycle, ensuring that the system meets the needs and expectations of its end users. By harnessing different types of UAT and using the appropriate tools, your organization can identify and fix issues before the software is released into production.

Whether it’s alpha testing, beta testing, or using tools like TestRail, JIRA, Selenium, or LambdaTest, opting for User Acceptance Testing is vital for delivering high-quality software and seeing those wonderful smiles on your end users’ faces!

Remember, choosing the correct type of User Acceptance Testing and zeroing in on the appropriate tools is necessary for great software delivery and customer satisfaction.

Also read – User aligned context driven testing.

Now, let’s take a look at risks in UAT.

Risks in UAT

  1. There are issues in the product that fail UAT.

Before you hand over the product to the user for UAT, make sure to work on the following points:

    • Perform testing in the UAT environment as well.
    • Make a report of known issues and share it with the user.
    • Share a resolution date for the shared known issues.
    • Share the list of critical modules you want the user to focus on.
  1. The client/users start too late in the process OR are too busy for UAT.

Try to do a test run together to avoid the delay. Else, make sure to take progress reports from the users at regular intervals.

  1. The user is blocking acceptance due to low priority items.

Communicate to the user and decide the priority and type of issue that should block acceptance. Anything outside the scope and low priority issues should be prioritized for future releases.

Well, it’s time for me to wrap up my ideas…

UAT is an important stage of almost every project and keeping it in the forefront of your planning can really yield dividends, particularly in managing risk. We have covered enough points here which I trust will help you to understand UAT.

Reach out to usif you’d like to share your feedback about this blog and visit us at Nitor Infotech.

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