The Importance of User Acceptance Testing

One common advice every product designer should give is to 'test often, test early, and keeping on testing.'

User Acceptance Testing commonly referred to as UAT is a process that verifies if a solution (whether new or rectified) works for a user. The users are the most significant players in this process, as they will be the one interacting with the software on a daily basis. Therefore, their feedback is critical to judging the design aspects as well as the functional attributes of the product. UAT is the final phase of the web or software development process and serves as an effective way to figure out if a formerly defined contract between both the relevant parties (customer and developer) is still on track. 
One of the key advantages of these acceptance tests is to ensure the remaining of the initial requirements, or potential changes, to ensure customer satisfaction. In other words, proceeding this way provides high levels of transparency, and help building sustainable business relationships between the stakeholders involved. 

Who performs UAT?
In a usual scenario, a designated team of professional testers uses their expertise in conducting various tests. In the case of a typical UAT, the product’s end users are the ones who take part in this activity. That's when risks occur: if the end user isn’t happy with the product, he or she will not only stop using it. Likely they will share their negative opinion on the product, damaging the brand reputation. 

In anyways, you should never conduct UAT targeting the product team exclusively. People who work closely on the product may have a specific idea of how it should work.  Therefore, they are not objectives and can quickly become the victims of a tunnel vision. Therefore such patterns could harm the continuity of the project: 

Team members cannot be completely neutral and may skip some essential steps in the user journey, which can be an obstacle to identifying flaws in the product. 

Testing with team members will not be an accurate reflection of the real user reaction to the system. 

Why should you always run UAT?
There are many examples of companies that incurred significant losses due to post-release issues. They learnt the hard way how vital UAT is in the success of a product. Improving a product and its defects after the release involve high costs as well as a high level of last-minute stress. 
After verifying that the product works as intended, the development team can reasonably assume a reduced probability of issues raised after release time. 

The significance of UAT

In most scenarios, UAT takes around 15 to 20% of the project time, but it can save as much as 30% of the total waste. UAT is critical as it serves as a final check to make sure that the end product is well built and functioning at the optimal level. Since most developers are working under strict deadlines and managing heavy workloads, the risk of errors remains. Failing to undertake UAT places another burden in the system as bugs tend to be spotted on late notice - if at all. Considering these repercussions and high stakes, the benefits of UAT outweigh the incurred investment.                                

Benefits of UAT
It validates the customer requirements are met based on the in-scope user journeys.
What is more, it helps to confirm the model builders' understanding based on the specific needs of each business.
It also helps reducing risks of discovering defects in production, as fixing bugs gets easier when proceeded in the development phase. 
What is more,  integrating a new system before the release will boost end-user' s confidence. 

How to secure effective UAT
Writing and conducting acceptance tests should only be based and directed towards User Journeys.These tests should be objective and straightforward to facilitate a correct interpretation and to help decision-making. UAT should be able to provide a quality layout and its impact on user actions.

The implication of UAT in the modern world
UAT highlights a culture of professionalism and transparency that bounds with the client satisfaction in its whole.  As clients become more confident to meet their requirements, grow concerns that are related to product integration in a real-life environment. The role of the client will be to define the quality criteria of the product from the first day of development to make sure that developers and customers are on the same page from the inception until the release. 

UAT in the digital world
With almost 85% of B2B customers comparing products and prices online, flawless and visually appealing web pages are a must. More and more customers will find you during their digital journey. No wonders why your product, whether it is an app or website, must pass stringent UAT tests that check for everything against established user journeys. 
Once your page loads, users will have formed an opinion about your company within just 0.05 seconds. According to The Gomez Report, 80% of online consumers are less likely to come back to a website after a bad experience and that likely; they will choose their competitor. 

Concluding thoughts 
Investment in UAT ensures high-quality web traffic, helping you to boost your brand reputation, to increase your sales and ultimately generate more revenue. 

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