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6 User Acceptance Testing Best Practices in 2024

Altay Ataman
Updated on Jan 3
4 min read

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a critical stage in software development. End users test the program to ensure it satisfies their needs and functions as intended in a practical setting before the software release. 

Quality Assurance (QA) teams should be aware of the essential best practices to ensure user acceptance testing is carried out successfully. In this article, we cover the top 6 user acceptability test practices. By following these best practices, you can ensure that the user acceptance testing process is effective and successful, which will increase user satisfaction and lead to a successful product release.

How does User Acceptance Testing (UAT) work?

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is software testing that determines whether a system or application meets the requirements and expectations of its end users. UAT is typically the final phase of the software testing process, carried out after functional and system testing has been completed. (See Figure 1)

During UAT, the end-users, or a representative group of end-users, test the software in a real-world environment to ensure that it performs as expected and meets their needs. This includes testing for 

  • Usability
  • Functionality
  • Performance
  • Security
  • And compatibility with other systems

By conducting UAT, you can ensure that the software meets the requirements of its users and is ready for deployment. This helps to minimize the risk of issues and errors that could negatively impact the user experience or business operations. Once UAT is successfully completed, the software is typically considered ready for release.

Place of user acceptance testing in software stages

Source: Medium 1

Figure 1: Details of Different Testings

Who Performs User Acceptance Testing (UAT)? 

End users are the people who will use the program in their day-to-day tasks, and their feedback is essential to ensure that the product satisfies their requirements and expectations. End users or a sample of end users who are knowledgeable about the specifications and use cases of the software often carry out User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Depending on the program being built, end users might be internal or external customers.

A specialist testing team may occasionally carry out UAT. However, it is typically advised that end users carry out UAT since they are in the ideal position to offer input on the functioning and usability of the product. 

Those conducting UAT should not be involved in software development; this will prevent bias in the testing process and ensure an impartial assessment of the software’s performance.

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6 User Acceptance Testing Best Practices 

1- Involve the end-users 

UAT should be conducted exclusively by end-users or a representative group who understand software requirements and use cases well. This also means that you should know your target audience, what they prefer, and what might be problems for them. 

2- Define clear test scenarios

Test scenarios should be clearly defined and documented to ensure that all aspects of the software are tested. UAT test cases must be as complete, precise, and detailed as possible. It should also go over how well integrated new functionality is with old components. 

Clear test scenarios provide a structure and a defined process for UAT, making it easier for the end-users to conduct the testing and report any issues or defects they encounter.

3- Use realistic data without exposing user information

Realistic data should be used in UAT to simulate real-world scenarios and ensure that the software functions as expected. For example, if you’re developing an e-commerce website, you could use a realistic dataset that includes a variety of products, prices, and customer profiles, as well as simulated transactions, to test the system’s performance, accuracy, and usability. 

Exposure to user information is a risk even within the company. Therefore using synthetic data or Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PET) to generate test data can minimize exposure of user information, especially Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

As covered above, The UAT and QA environments should be kept entirely separate. If this is not possible, refresh the environment before UAT so that QA experts can verify everything is functioning. 

4- Invest in a good UAT management system

Investing in a UAT management system can bring significant benefits to your software development process, including

  1. Streamlined UAT processes: A UAT management system can help streamline the UAT process by providing a centralized platform for test planning, execution, and tracking. 
  2. Improved collaboration: A UAT management system can also improve collaboration among stakeholders, including developers, testers, and end-users. It provides a platform for accessible communication, feedback, and issue tracking, ensuring everyone is working towards a common goal.
  3. Better test coverage and quality: By providing a platform for more comprehensive testing, a UAT management system can help to ensure better test coverage and quality. It can also assist in ensuring that all test scenarios are covered and that all defects are identified and resolved before the software is released to production.

In addition to the management tool, the communication between the development team, testing team, and end-users should be clear and open, with regular updates on the progress of the UAT as a crucial aspect.

5- Create scenarios based on business requirements

To create user scenarios based on specific business requirements and scenarios for User Acceptance Testing (UAT), you should:

  1. Identify the business requirements: Review the business requirements and user needs that the software should address. Identify the scenarios where the user will interact with the software.
  2. Define the personas: Define the personas or user roles who will use the software. These personas should represent the different users of the software, including their needs, goals, and motivations.
  3. Create user scenarios: Based on the business requirements and user needs, create user stories that describe the software functionality from the user’s perspective. For example, a scenario should follow the “As a job seeker, I want a search engine so that I can search for jobs.”

6- Prioritize defects

Defects found during UAT should be prioritized based on their severity and impact on the user experience. Prioritizing defects found in User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is critical to ensure that the most critical issues are addressed before the software is released to production. Prioritizing defects will provide several benefits, such as:

  1. Risk mitigation: Defects in UAT may represent significant risks to the end-users and the business. By prioritizing these defects, you can first address the most critical issues, reducing the likelihood of negative impacts on end-users and the business.
  2. Cost and time savings: Prioritizing defects found in UAT can help to reduce the cost and time required to fix them. Focusing on the most critical issues first ensures that the development team uses their time and resources efficiently.
  3. Reputation management: Defects found in UAT that are not addressed can harm the organization’s reputation. By prioritizing and addressing these defects, you can demonstrate your commitment to delivering high-quality software and manage your reputation

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Altay Ataman
Altay is an industry analyst at AIMultiple. He has background in international political economy, multilateral organizations, development cooperation, global politics, and data analysis. He has experience working at private and government institutions. Altay discovered his interest for emerging tech after seeing its wide use of area in several sectors and acknowledging its importance for the future. He received his bachelor's degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Bilkent University and he received his master's degree in International Politics from KU Leuven .

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