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User Acceptance Testing Basics - How Userback can Help

User acceptance testing (UAT) is fundamental to digital product design and development. From features of SaaS products through to mobile apps and websites, all digital properties need to undergo UAT at some point during their development, launch and maintenance stages.

Throughout user acceptance testing, it’s critical to accurately capture honest and transparent feedback from your testers. In order for your testers to give you the best feedback they can, they need to be equipped with the correct user acceptance testing tools, and that’s where Userback comes in. Here’s a quick rundown of the world of UAT, best practices you can’t ignore, and an explanation of where we fit in.

What is user acceptance testing?

To put it simply, user acceptance testing is just making sure your product is fit for purpose. If your product can’t be used by your target audience, it’s unlikely to serve their needs as effectively as it otherwise could.

User acceptance testing occurs during the final stages of developing a product or website. Once the concept is largely built and functional for end-users, user acceptance testing is conducted to ensure that it delivers on the expectations and needs of users.

Who should conduct user acceptance testing?

The responsibility for organising user acceptance testing varies from organisation to organisation. Generally speaking, whoever is responsible for product or project management will also be responsible for organising UAT. Naturally, those who directly provide feedback on the product should absolutely not be those who were also involved in its development. Fresh eyes are essential for UAT.

Identifying appropriate candidates for UAT can be difficult. If you are actively selecting testers, there’s a good chance that you’re going to end up with a limited pool. There is also the added risk of some skewed results coming from testers who are aware that they are being observed during the testing process. This, naturally, raises the issue of how to find unbiased testers who are unaware they are being tested, but still have the opportunity and means of providing product feedback.

It’s possible to obtain feedback from website data and there is a slew of products that will help you turn that data into clear output that can be actioned by product managers. However, nothing beats blatant, clearly stated feedback direct from users. This is where Userback comes in. You can leverage real, unbiased website traffic in a limited product test to gain genuine feedback on your product or website.

How can UAT add value to your product or business?

UAT prior to widespread release of any website or product is an essential part of the final stages of product development. It avoids the necessity of expensive changes post-launch, which can often greatly increase the cost of development, tie up resources that could be contributed to other projects and result in dissatisfied, or even lost, customers. Employing an effective UAT process can help avoid these headaches, saving your business time and money.

Beyond simply avoiding problems, good UAT procedures, employing the right tools, can identify unforeseen opportunities. Allowing your target audience to run through your website or product and providing them with a way of providing adequate feedback at every stage of the journey means they can really identify whether your product is addressing their pain points, and where it might be improved.

User acceptance basics: 5 aspects of great UAT

Not all UAT is made the same. Incorporating a few basic best practices into your UAT system can help ensure that you avoid wasting your time and get maximum value from the process.

Communicate Goals and Expectations

Everyone needs to understand the expected outcomes of UAT. Ensure that the people responsible for implementing your UAT procedures are setting clear goals for themselves and testers. Further, the testers, if hired specifically for the task, should be aware of what is expected of them.

Begin UAT as early as possible

It’s not always possible to conduct adequate UAT during product build. Often, UAT prior to a quality assurance process can be a waste of time. However, if you can isolate aspects of your website or product and conduct UAT on it prior to completion, this may help you avoid wasting time on building out unnecessary features and will assist in addressing issues prior to them being baked into the product.

Use the right testers

Pick your audience. You know who your ideal target market is, so ensure that the people you’re using to test your product are firmly within that market. Further, testers should ideally be real end-users of the product. This is where launching a beta version can come in handy. You can have a limited release to real users and gain genuine feedback from your core market.

Focus on improvements

UAT shouldn’t be about bug detection. It should be about user experience and how the product addresses the user’s problem. If you’re using UAT to find and address bugs within your product, you need to improve your quality assurance process. Testers should be utilised to further refine a finished (or almost finished product) and to suggest improvements.

Collate and act on feedback

User feedback must be collated and reported on. You need a clear process to communicate feedback from testers to those who can act on it. Communication channels should be clear, not convoluted, and enable all stakeholders to clearly understand their role and address any issues that arise.

As a shameless plug, this is one of the most valuable features of Userback. Userback takes user feedback directly from the website or product and adds it to a task management platform of your choice. It’s simple, instantaneous and adds immense value to the UAT process — that’s why we designed it that way.

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