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User acceptance testing (UAT): what it is, and why your website needs it

12.09.2018
User acceptance testing (UAT): what it is, and why your website needs it
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When it comes to web development, you will often hear about quality assurance
But today we would like to take a closer look at a special type of testing called UAT, 

or user acceptance testing. Let’s find out how user acceptance testing works
and what makes it important for your website.

It’s true that the primary goal of quality assurance is to make every project spotless and precisely in line with the requirements. For this purpose, the experts on QA are using the best tools, manual or automated testing techniques, as well as their profound experience.

However, without UAT, this might not be enough in order to see how exactly the website will be useful to real users and meet the intended business goals. Why?

There is a legend, and it is 100% true, that developers once were web users who were distracted by the power of web development and forgot about their past ;) They think in technical notions and see their web projects, as well as interpret requirements, from the position of their professional point of view.

As Jakob Nielsen says, a famous usability consultant, it’s a disaster to guess at the users’ needs. Designers are so different from the target audience, he says, that the things they like or find easy to use will also be different.

That’s why it is so important to have your website also checked from the perspective of those who will use it on a daily basis. Here is where UAT comes in.

What is UAT (user acceptance testing)?

User acceptance testing defines whether the product is accepted by the end user or customer, and performs as they expected. That’s why UAT is also referred to as end-user testing.

UAT is the final step in software development that comes when all other phases are over, when the website has been thoroughly tested and is ready to go live. Is it ready — or not? Users have the final say!

Within the user acceptance testing, the target audience interacts with the website, points out some imperfections, and tells you what can be improved. This is not about finding bugs — they should have long since been cleaned up! It’s more about checking whether the website carries out its mission as desired.

UAT is very helpful in making sure that all the requirements from the user’s point of view have been properly communicated to the developers — and properly implemented.

Who performs UAT and what is the role of QA?

User acceptance testing can be performed by product owner or the selected user audience. However, very seldom it is done without a QA.

In many cases, QA engineers create the test plan, identify acceptance criteria for a number of use cases, select and organize the appropriate users, give them instructions, and, of course, record the results.

Another scenario is that QA engineers carefully examine the website as if they were end users and then present the detailed results to the customer who will decide whether the acceptance test has been passed or not. They should be experienced enough and familiar with the website’s business goals in order to explore the website as target users.

User acceptance testing vs. usability testing

When we talk about testing the user experience, the words “usability testing” may come to mind.That is another type of testing and while it overlaps some, it still differs a little from UAT.

Usability testing is done in the middle and end of the project. It deals with the user’s convenience when working with the website, and uses button sizes, readable fonts, well-positioned menus and sections, clear calls-to-action, and much more.

User acceptance testing is performed after everything else is ready. It is like the final approval as to how useful the website is for its intended mission. It is a chance for last-minute brush-ups before the project goes live.

Final thoughts

What about your website — do users accept it or not? Let’s check it out! Hire our expert QA engineers and they will organize the user acceptance testing process with all perfection that their perfectionist’s hearts are capable of! ;)

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