In web design, it often feels like there is a minefield of acronyms to learn and remember. CSS, UX, HTTP, SSL and more roll off the tongue of those who are fluent in all things digital, but UAT is one of the few that is essential to all website projects, big and small. In this article, we’ll explore what UAT is and why it’s a necessary part of your next digital project.
What is UAT?
UAT (sometimes pronounced U-A-T and sometimes as you-at) is an acronym for User Acceptance Testing. In layman’s terms, it’s the final step prior to bringing your project to market. While testing is commonplace in website, app and software design, the UAT phase often makes all the difference to the final outcome.
The aim of UAT is to make sure that the project (whatever it is) can actually handle real-world tasks and that it performs to spec for your intended audience. What’s key to remember with this phase of testing is that end-user experience is not always in alignment with what you think and/or how you’ve planned for it to work.
For example, a project may be designed and developed by experts in development and UX, but often it’s the UAT phase that will bring up any flaws from a user’s perspective. Developers and internal teams know how the digital project is supposed to work, but UAT allows the team to discover realities that limit user-experience or planned functionality. One of the main outcomes from acceptance testing is whether or not the application behaves as the user intends it to in the real-world with day-to-day tasks – highlighting areas which aren’t as clear as they should be, for example.
When should UAT be carried out?
UAT is the last phase of a web development project. It’s usually the final step before the software is released to the market. As it’s the closest thing to real-world testing (and far better than publishing something to find out there are UX issues once it’s live), so your project needs to be 100% complete prior to the UAT phase.
If it’s not, the feedback you’ll get from UAT might be wasted. For example, if there is another phase of development to happen prior to general release, it may make the UAT insights ahead of this redundant. You should also ensure that your UAT doesn’t come before internal testing, as some hidden showstoppers or defects could be lurking, which would waste the UAT phase as well as the testers’ time.
Who gets involved in UAT?
As a ‘real-world’ test, the ideal UAT group would be your end-users. Having internal staff test the software works to a point, but won’t necessarily showcase the issues that day-to-day end users would have. Also, internal testing has a lot of bias such as understanding what’s supposed to happen. Even an understanding of how similar/competitor systems should work would bias the results. Various roles from your end-user perspective should be taken into account, and all feedback taken should be treated with the same severity, regardless of the tester’s job role or position.
Need a hand with testing? As experts in all phases of web development, we are here to help you. We can support all phases of testing, or even work with you from your initial project concepts to help get things started on the right track. Give us a call today to get started with Verkeer.