Complete Guide to User Acceptance Testing

Functional Testing UAT Testing
Complete Guide to User Acceptance Testing
  • KiwiQAKiwiQA
  • November 10, 2022

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How many times have you come across an application (or website) where bugs, failures, or issues have acted as a complete turn off of the experience? Well, such an experience can be dampening to your business, as customers tend to shy away from such products.

End to end testing of the product features becomes absolutely essential in such scenarios. Along with unit testing, integration testing, E2E testing, load testing, performance testing, etc.; it is important to regularly conduct user acceptance testing for ensuring that the implemented features are meeting the needs of the end users.

When tested, features of your product might work in the ideal test conditions but they need to function as expected when used in real-world scenarios. This is where UAT (User Acceptance Testing) comes into the perspective. The million $ question is “Should UAT be performed for every type of software project”? From a tester’s point of view, you need to have a clear visibility on where user acceptance testing fits in the big scheme of things.

How much effort must the QA team spend on user acceptance testing? Can a software product be shipped without performing user acceptance tests? Who performs UAT, how frequently should you run those tests ? Well, we have you covered in case you need answers to these critical questions.

In this blog, we deep dive into the most essential aspects of user acceptance testing. The learnings of this blog will be useful in devising a UAT strategy that works for all types (e.g. e-commerce, SaaS, communication, etc.) of software products.

Let’s start with the basics of user acceptance testing, post which we would unravel the what, why, and how of UAT.

What is User Acceptance Testing?

User Acceptance Testing (or UAT) is a form of software testing where the features of the AUT (Application Under Test) are tested against real-world conditions. This software testing approach helps in improving the product quality and filling up the quality gaps since the tests are performed at a time when the intended users are using the app.

By the end of user acceptance testing cycles, you would know whether the features of the AUT meets the end-user requirements. User acceptance testing is ideally performance after rigorous cycles of unit testing, integration testing, and system testing.

To put it in simple terms, the system would have been appropriately tested before it reaches the UAT stage. If the testers give a green in UAT, it is an indicator that the AUT has met all the quality requirements. Now that we have covered the basics of UAT, let’s look at who are the ideal stakeholders who perform this particular form of testing.

Who should perform User Acceptance Testing

UAT is normally performed after the System Testing. It is one of the final set of tests that are carried out before the AUT is actually taken into production. Since the next step after UAT is shipping the product, it is normally conducted by the end-users or clients (in case of services companies) of the intended product (or project).

There might be a possibility that the software does not meet the quality requirements, in which case the entire cycle of tests (starting from integration tests) have to be conducted before reaching the UAT phase.

The next question that needs to be answered is “When should one perform UAT”? Since the user acceptance tests are performed after the system test, the tests must focus on whether all the requirements are met when viewed from the lens of the customers (or end-users).

In case the product is in a usable state, it means that it has passed the litmus test of UAT! Apart from the users and testers, it is recommended to involve non-technical personnel of the team. This is where you can use popular BDD (Behavior Driven Development) frameworks like Robot, Cucumber, etc. to make the most of user acceptance testing.

Different Forms Of User Acceptance Testing

Now that we have covered the basic essentials of UAT, let’s look at the different types of user acceptance tests. The type of test purely depends on the complexity of the project:

Alpha Testing

As the name indicates, this form of testing is normally performed when the product is still under the development phase. All the critical real-world scenarios are simulated using black-box and white-box testing techniques.

Since the features might be under development (or may contain some known-issues), alpha tests are normally conducted in a lab environment. Also, alpha tests are normally performed by a select set of users who might also be required to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).

Many enterprises also choose internal users for performing the Alpha Tests so that their feedback can be appropriately rewarded along with helping to improve the product quality.

Beta Testing

Contrast to Alpha testing, beta tests are normally conducted by the real users (or the target customers). If the test results of beta testing comes out positive, there is a high probability that the product is suitable to be released for a wider audience. The reason is because beta tests are performed on external users, not on a limited set of internal users!

Understandably, beta testing is the final form of user acceptance testing. It is an essential step to seek feedback and improve the product quality. The feedback is then prioritized and issues are fixed as per the priority. Minor issues that do not hamper the product usability can still be fixed after the product is live.

There is a possibility that the team might be overwhelmed with the feedback and suggestions provided by the end-users. Accommodating all the relevant feedback into the product might delay the timelines of the product. Hence, relevant project stakeholders must prioritize the feedback and get the critical fixes implemented in the final version of the product.

User Acceptance Testing Tools

Like other forms of testing, you have the option to choose from manual and automated UAT tools. Though manual testing can be used to a certain extent, it is preferred to choose automated user acceptance testing tools since the tests can be integrated in the CI (Continuous Integration) pipeline. Cucumber, Watir, Apache JMeter, Appium, Selenium, etc. are some of the most popular open-source automated testing tools that can be used to perform different forms of tests.


Covering every aspect of user acceptance testing is beyond the scope of the current blog, we would deep dive into the other aspects of UAT in our subsequent blogs.

It is recommended to perform user acceptance tests since the results of the tests is a testimony on whether the product would meet the user expectations or not.

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