User Acceptance Testing, or UAT for short, is crucial for the successful launch or maintenance of any online platform. From mobile apps to full-scale ecommerce sites, UAT ensures that your platform is performing as expected and, as the name suggests, whether the user accepts the finished product.
Acceptance testing is performed when other tests, such as system and functionality tests, have already been completed. It represents the last stage of the testing process before a product is launched or re-launched.
UAT helps demonstrate that the required functions of a test object are operating in a manner suited to real-world circumstances and usage. As a result, UAT is concerned with both software performance and human behaviour.
It is essential that the interaction between the functionalities of the test software and the end-user’s thought process be in harmony. In practice, testers work from a list of expected outcomes that the test object should perform and record what actually happens when they try to execute tasks such as placing an item in a shopping cart or logging in to a customer account.
The Importance of UAT
UAT is important because it helps demonstrate that required business functions are operating in a manner suited to real-world circumstances and usage. If the expected outcome is not achieved during testing, the item will be documented and sent back to the developers for repair. This process serves as a final check to ensure the finished product is well built. But make no mistake, just because UAT is the final test conducted before production does not mean that few bugs are uncovered!
The pesky bugs discovered can ruin the user experience and even render the software unusable. Because of these high stakes, the benefits of UAT significantly outweigh the investments. UAT generally takes 5-10% of the project time, but it can save almost 30% of the total waste.
Of course, developers should ensure the code they have written is not flawed, but user acceptance testing should be conducted by an independent third-party. Doing so ensures the test results are objective, and QA professionals bring an important, fresh perspective to the test object.
Failing to undertake UAT can place an unnecessary burden on system developers. Most developers already work under tight deadlines and manage heavy workloads. They do not have the time to test their work effectively.
Simply put, developers should develop and QA professionals should test. Additionally, having developers test their own work increases the risk of testing bias. Asking developers to test their own work is akin to having students grade their own papers.
Go-live fixes are also significantly more time consuming to fix and can place an unnecessary burden on developers. What’s more, it has been proven that software is often more, not less, likely to be released with bugs when tested by developers (source: Software Development Times).
It is common knowledge that having an independent source review one’s work is more effective than having the author review it themselves. With exploratory testing, independent testers are discovering the product for the first time and, consequently, they will discover bugs that developers may miss. In short, QA professionals are significantly more effective than developers at finding bugs during user acceptance testing.
Putting it all together
UAT is essential to any testing project because it serves as a final check to ensure the finished product will be bug free.
The quality review UAT provides has a great return on investment as the number of bugs uncovered in UAT far surpasses the amount of time the testing takes.
UAT should not be conducted by developers because they do not have the time to do the testing themselves and using developers carries the risk of biased test results.
It has been proven that the independent testing performed by UAT professionals is more effective than testing done by the product’s developers.