The Ultimate Guide to UAT (User Acceptance Testing) – Ensuring Your Software Meets User Needs

by Manas Chowdhury
10 minutes read

When you build a software, it’s like creating something important for your business. But how do you know it’s good? That’s where testing comes in, checking your work to make sure it’s perfect.

Testing happens in different steps: First, each part is checked (Unit Testing), then all the parts together (Integration Testing), then the whole system (System Testing), and finally, we let real users test it (UAT). 

But what does UAT stand for? UAT stands for User Acceptance Testing.

UAT is super important because it’s the last step. It’s the final check to make sure everything is just right. Even though it’s the last step, it needs a lot of planning to make sure it works well.

Are you finding UAT hard? Are you struggling to make sure the software is what users want?

Let’s look at UAT meaning, how UAT is done, who does it, and some tips to make it easier.

UAT definition

User Acceptance Testing is the last step of building a web, mobile, or software app.

During UAT, the people who will actually use the app (testers) give it a try to see if it’s doing what it’s supposed to. 

For instance, let’s say they are testing a food delivery app. They will check if the app can do things like:

  • Find nearby restaurants.
  • Show the menu of a restaurant.
  • Add products to the cart.
  • Pay with a credit card.
  • Track the order’s prep and delivery.
  • Call customer service.
  • Send a message to the delivery person.

When the UAT testing wraps up, the testers give their verdict on whether the app matches what the project’s creators wanted. They make a list of changes and fixes needed to meet the original plan.

The testers test the app based on the exact requests made when the project began. It’s to make sure the app sticks to the game plan.

What is the purpose of UAT?

  • Does any product get made without thinking about the people who will actually use it?
  • Isn’t the whole point of creating an app to make it useful for the people it’s meant for?

And the answer is probably a big “Yes!” Now, think about this: “Why not let the actual users give the product a thumbs up or down?”

That’s where UAT comes into play. It gives real users a sneak peek to see how the product stands up to their real-world needs. The main aim of UAT is to make sure the product works just right and fits into the everyday business scene.

Now, different from other types of tests, like functional or unit ones, UAT is super important. Why? Because it answers questions that the other tests can’t:

  • Is the product user-friendly?
  • Does it help users reach their business goals?
  • Are there any pesky hurdles in the user’s way?
  • Does it do what it’s supposed to?

So, the whole point of UAT is to make sure the software matches what users, who use it every day, need. Plus, users can chip in with their feedback during UAT to make the product even better. And let’s be real, fixing problems early in the game is way smarter than dealing with them when the product’s already out there.

User Acceptance Testing Goals

The main point of user acceptance testing is to make sure the product works well and is okay for the people who will use it. Here are some common goals for user acceptance testing:

Make sure the user interface is good:

  • Check that the user interface is easy to use and understand.
  • See if users can figure out how to navigate the product.
  • Make sure all the important information can be seen and used.
  • Watch out for differences between what users expect and what’s real. For example, if they are told they can create a new account but can’t actually do it when they try.

Test if everything works:

  • Check that all the features of the product actually work and are easy to use.
  • Find out if users can do common things and find the info they need.
  • Look for differences between what users expect and what they get. For instance, they might be able to create an account but can’t view their profile or contacts.

Confirm the technical stuff:

  • Make sure all the features and functions do what they are supposed to.
  • Check if the product meets the technical requirements.
  • Watch out for differences between what’s expected and what’s real. For example, users might complete a task, but the results don’t look right.

Spot problems with usability:

  • Check if users think the product is easy to use and okay.
  • Look out for problems that make it hard or inconvenient to use (like if users can’t find what they need or the interface is tricky).
  • The whole point is to make sure the product works well and is easy for users to use.

Types of User Acceptance Testing

Let’s look at the 7 important types of user acceptance testing:

Alpha testing

Alpha testing gives your app or website a test run with a small group of users before showing it to everyone. This helps find any issues and fix them before you release the product to the public. It’s especially useful when you know lots of people will use it, so you can avoid any embarrassing situations.

You have got a few options for alpha testing your product:

  1. Get help from user testing services – These services set up users to test your product and give you feedback. They might charge you, but the feedback is usually really valuable.
  1. Ask external beta testers – You can find beta testers online or through networking. They will help you test your product and give feedback before it’s released. It might cost you some money, but beta testers are usually more dependable than user testing services.
  1. Invite friends and family – You can also invite friends and family to try your product for free. This way isn’t as reliable, but it can still help find any issues.

Beta testing

Beta testing is checking your software or website with a special group of users before you show it to everyone. This way, you can fix any problems and make sure the final product is really good.

Here’s what you do in each stage of beta testing:

  • Set up your testing environment – Get everything ready, from installing software to setting up your computer.
  • Make a testing plan and schedule – Figure out the important parts of the beta test and when to do them.
  • Pick testers – Choose people who will check that your app works as it should.
  • Test the app – The last part of beta testing is making sure the app works perfectly. This makes sure all the bugs are gone, and the app does what you want.

Operational acceptance testing

Operational acceptance testing (OAT) is a way to make sure your software works the way users want. It checks if the software does what it’s supposed to, responds quickly, and follows all the rules.

One big part of OAT is checking the user interface (UI). This means using real-life situations to test how the UI works and looks. It also helps find any errors in the UI.

Other things OAT checks are performance, security, and stress. 

  • Performance checks how well the software works under different conditions, like when lots of people use it.
  • Security checks if the software is safe from bad access. 
  • Stress tests how the software handles unusual situations.

Prototype testing

Prototype testing is trying out an early version of your idea to see if it works. A prototype is like a simple or experimental version of your product that helps you check if your idea is good and get feedback from users.

With prototype testing, you can:

  • Make sure your idea is good – Try out a prototype to see if your idea is possible and if users like it. This saves time and money by not wasting them on an idea that doesn’t work.
  • Get user feedback – A prototype helps you get feedback from users. This shows you how to make your idea better. You will learn why users might not like your idea and how to fix it.
  • Test marketing ideas – By making a prototype, you can see which marketing ideas work best for your product. This helps you save money and time, and makes sure your product is what users want.

Business Acceptance Testing

Business Acceptance Testing (BAT) is a final check to make sure a business application or system works for its users. It uses specific tests on the application to see if it’s what users need. If there are any problems, they are fixed before the app is used.

There are three main steps in BAT:

  1. Systematic testing – This is where you test every part of the software, from how it looks to how it works.
  2. Technical check – This tests if the software works with other systems and data and checks for any problems in how it works.
  3. Business check – This is where you see if the software actually does what the business needs.

Contract Acceptance Testing

Contract acceptance testing (CAT) checks if a contract between two parties is right. It’s done to make sure all the terms and conditions in the contract are met.

This includes checking for mistakes in language, making sure all the rules are followed, and fixing anything that’s not right. CAT also helps to find any problems or misunderstandings in the contract.

The steps in contract acceptance testing are:

  • Plan the tests – Make a plan that says what tests you’ll do on the contract.
  • Do the tests – Run the tests to make sure the contract does what it should.
  • Report and keep track – Write down the test results and show them to everyone in the contract.

Regulation acceptance testing

Regulation acceptance testing (RAT) is checking if a new product, process, or system follows the rules set by the regulations. It tests the product in real-life situations to make sure it works and follows all the rules in the regulations.

RAT can be done by the people making the product or the regulators themselves. The goal is to avoid problems by testing the product and making sure it meets all the rules.

For a product to be accepted, it has to pass different tests like functional tests, environmental tests, and safety tests. These tests check different parts of the product and make sure it’s up to the required standards.

User Acceptance Testing Process

Now, usually, there’s a go-to person leading the show here (think Product Manager or Business Analyst). But in some cases, it might be different people, depending on what exactly needs testing. If that’s the case, they will have a designated UAT leader to keep things on track.

So, once this UAT leader steps up, they will follow these steps:

Requirement Analysis

In this step, they roll up their sleeves and get into the nitty-gritty of business requirements and what features need a good test drive. They should know these features inside-out to whip up test scenarios, answer testers’ queries, and be the go-to guru during testing. They are the bridge between the development team and testers to sort out any issues or feedback.

Test planning

The test planning is divided into the following 4 stages:

Timeline Setup

They need to figure out when this UAT testing can happen. They have got to sync up with different people to see when the entry criteria are met, and the release plan aligns. Once they have got that in their pocket, they will send out invites to the testers and finalize the lineup.

Test scenario/case creation

UAT testers aren’t your typical developer testers. They are the real users, so things need to be crystal clear. No shortcuts here – every step needs to be spelled out because they might not know the app as a developer does. These cases better cover all the business workflows defined in the requirements.

Test Specifications & Assignment

This is where the test data and environment come into play. Test data is usually not ready to roll for UAT testers. So, the UAT leader does an activity with the development team to get the right test data based on the cases. Real, actual data is best – that way, the results are solid. This data is attached to the test steps, so testers can find it easily.

And then, the leader sets out where each tester will play their game. Different browsers, locations, operating systems – it’s all on the table, and it’s all specified.

Test Logistics

  • Where do testers note down test results? 
  • Where do they shout out if they find bugs? 
  • If there’s a fancy tool for test management, can UAT testers use it to report issues? 
  • Or should they scribble them down on a spreadsheet?
  • What tools should they use to track these bugs? 

They have got a limited time for the UAT session, so things need to be user-friendly and easy to set up.

The UAT leader better have these answers lined up, because a smooth session depends on it.

Test Execution

The UAT leader kicks things off by giving testers the lowdown on what’s what – the goals, the process, and which features need a spin.

Testers take the wheel from here, following their assignments and noting down any issues they stumble upon.

The UAT leader is around to help if needed.


Post-UAT, the big people – QA, Product Owners, and developers – gather to prioritize and evaluate the issues reported by testers.

And then, a quick retrospective meeting helps the team tweak things for the next UAT round. A little room for improvement never hurts.

Exit Criteria

This is the last checkpoint before the big reveal.

Bugs in Check

No critical or major bugs should be hanging around. If any sneak through, it’s a backtrack to the drawing board – fix time. And that fix doesn’t get a free pass – testers put it through the wringer again, along with regression testing. Fixing bugs here is no pocket change, so let’s try to get it right earlier.

But if the coast is clear and no bugs are giving us a green signal, we are good to go.

The Goal – Business Needs

Sometimes, testers might give features a thumbs up but throw in a wishlist of extra goodies. Those wishes go straight to the Product Owner’s desk for consideration in the next development cycle.

Sealing the Deal

Once all the boxes are ticked – bugs gone, features loved – it’s time to bring the curtain down. Stakeholders gather up for a sign-off meeting. This is the official nod for the release. Everyone’s on the same page, ready to move things forward.

Who is responsible for performing the UATs?

The stars of this show are the “testers.” In the world of IT development, testers are the ones putting the application or software through its paces. They are the quality control team, making sure everything’s up to snuff. These testers are usually the clients themselves or the end users – the real-life people who will be using the product.

Now, who else makes up the UAT team? It’s a mix of both tech-savvy and business-minded people. They are the ones who dive deep into the nitty-gritty. The UAT team should ideally be a blend of technical and business whizzes.

Testing the Recipe

You know what some people call this kind of testing? A “recipe.” Yep, just like making sure that delicious dish you are cooking up follows the steps to a T.

The Perfect Blend

UAT isn’t just about the tech stuff. It’s a team of superheroes combining their powers. You have got your tech experts who know the ins and outs of the software, and you have got the business users who live and breathe real-world applications. The magic happens when they all come together. Business users are the secret ingredient here. They know exactly what the software needs to do and feel like because they will be using it day in and day out.

So, even if the software’s ticking all the functional boxes, it can still miss the mark if it’s not hitting the business bulls-eye. It’s the same as making a tasty dish – all the ingredients need to come together just right.

How does UAT work?

When the system or app is good to go for testing, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Understanding the Business: First, dive into what the business needs from the system or app.
  2. Making a Plan: Create a plan for the UAT. Think of it as a roadmap for testing.
  3. Figuring Out What to Test: Know what scenarios to test. Know what situations you need to try out.
  4. Setting Up the Tests: Get your UAT test cases ready. Think of these as your test instructions.
  5. Getting Test Data Ready: You need test data to run these tests. 
  6. Running the Tests: Now, go ahead and run the tests. Run an experiment to see what happens.
  7. Checking the Results: Keep track of what happens when you run the tests. Did things work as they should?
  8. Making Sure It All Adds Up: Make sure the results match the business goals. Check if everything’s on the same page.
  9. Matching with Requirements: Lastly, go back and check if everything lines up with what the business wants.

Best practices of UAT

Let’s break down User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and make it easy to carry out. Here are the steps:

Pick Your Testers: Choose the people who will do the testing. It’s best if they are going to use the product in the end, like your customers. If your product is for customers, get real customers to test it. Their feedback helps find problems.

Plan the Tests: Testers need clear instructions, a map to show them where to go. These steps should be simple so testers don’t get confused and everything gets checked.

Get Ready: Before the testing, make sure everything is ready. Testers should have what they need, like usernames and passwords.

Remote Testing: If your testers are far away, schedule a time for them to do the tests. Send them an invitation to join the test. Even if they are far, good planning can make it work.

Finding Bugs: Mistakes might show up. But when they do, there’s a plan. Testers should show how they found the problem. This helps the tech team fix it faster.

UAT Examples

  • Testing the functionality of the software: This includes testing all of the features of the software to make sure they work as expected. For example, you might test the ability to create a new account, log in to the software, add a new contact, or send an email.
  • Testing the usability of the software: This includes testing how easy it is for users to use the software. For example, you might test the navigation of the software, the clarity of the instructions, and the overall user experience.
  • Testing the performance of the software: This includes testing how well the software performs under different conditions. For example, you might test the software with a large number of users, with a large amount of data, or with a slow internet connection.
  • Testing the security of the software: This includes testing the software for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers. For example, you might test the software for SQL injection attacks, cross-site scripting attacks, or denial-of-service attacks.


UAT, or User Acceptance Testing, is a big deal in making software. It’s the final exam for your software, and there are different ways to do it. When UAT is done right, it not only makes the developers happy but also makes the users happy.

UAT might sound complicated, but with the right steps, it becomes a way to catch issues before your product goes to everyone. Just like double-checking your work before showing it to others!

UAT is the finishing touch that ensures your software is perfect for your users. So, will you perform UAT now for your own products?

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