Inadequate testing is a major cause of digital product failure, as revealed by a 2022 report on App Growth. Two critical components of quality assurance that are sometimes overlooked include User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and Usability Testing (UT). And what are UAT and UT?
Both are types of software testing that are needed to ensure the usability of software solutions.
However, they are often confused and even used interchangeably, despite being distinct concepts. Businesses need to understand the key differences and benefits that each brings to the table. In this blog post, we’ll provide comprehensive information that will help you understand these test types more clearly.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) involves evaluating the main features and functionalities of a product in an actual user environment by a sample group of the target audience. This QA assessment is usually done at the final stage of product development. It evaluates the software’s ability to handle real-world scenarios and operations.
The main goal of UAT is to identify errors or glitches in the software before launch. It helps to verify that the software satisfies the target market’s needs and is ready for deployment.
UAT helps provide definite information on whether:
- The server crashes
- All functions working well and accepting the right inputs?
- Response to requests are right
- The load time is satisfactory.
- The app works as it was envisioned etc.
Types of User Acceptance Testing
There are four classifications of UAT:
- Alpha and beta: the project team tests internally in the development environment, whereas in Beta, a group of customers tests externally at the customer’s location. This helps to gather feedback and improve the product.
- Regulation acceptance: This type checks whether the software complies with governmental and legal stipulations. It is also called Compliance Acceptance Testing.
- Contract acceptance: In this type, the developed product is tested against predefined criteria and specifications agreed upon in a contract.
- Operational acceptance: This test type ensures that workflows are in place to allow the software or system to be used. It includes backup plans, user training, maintenance processes, and security checks. It is also known as Operational Readiness or Production Acceptance Testing.
UAT offers numerous advantages in software development, including:
- Acting as a final check to ensure the software is bug-free.
- Providing additional opportunities to identify and fix broken features or usability issues.
- Giving end-users a preview of the new system.
- Improving software robustness and usability.
- Increasing end-user satisfaction.
- Validating whether the software satisfies the client’s specifications as defined in user stories.
- Reducing the risk of discovering defects after launch.
- With a quality user acceptance testing tool like aqua cloud, for example, a sample target market can assess actual scenarios and provide accurate feedback. This ensures the product or service will be efficient, error-free, and profitable.
UT (also called User Experience or UX Testing) is a technique that involves gathering user feedback and suggestions to assess an app’s user-friendliness and ease of use. This assessment technique enables the evaluation of areas of concern, pain points, and feedback by a small group of testers who represent the product’s target personas.
In UT, your goal is to clearly understand how final users engage with your product, so you can make necessary changes based on the findings. A user-friendly, easy-to-navigate app is essential, as products that are difficult to use or understand will quickly lose users to competitors’ products.
Types of Usability Testing
UT consists of three main types:
- Moderated vs. unmoderated: In moderated assessment, a moderator facilitates the test (moderates it), while in unmoderated evaluation, no monitoring or guidance is provided.
- Remote vs. In-person: Remote assessment is conducted over the internet or by phone. In-person requires the participant to be physically present with a UX researcher or moderator.
- Explorative vs. Comparative: Explorative assessment is open-ended and focuses on brainstorming, opinions, and emotional impressions. Comparative assessment, on the other hand, involves showing participants multiple versions of a website, app, or competitor product and measuring their performance against specific tasks, similar to A/B testing.
By conducting usability testing, design, and development, teams can recognize potential problems before they are coded. Its benefits include:
- Evaluating whether participants can successfully complete designated tasks.
- Measuring the time it takes the test group to complete specific tasks.
- Assessing participant satisfaction with the product, such as an app or website.
- Identifying necessary changes to improve user performance and satisfaction.
- Analyzing the product performance to ensure it meets usability targets.
Key Differences Between User Acceptance Testing and Usability Testing
To summarize, UAT focuses on the functionality of the software and detects critical errors. In contrast, UT focuses on user behavior and identifies the actual errors.
Although they share similarities, UAT and UT have distinct objectives. The comparison table below details all you should understand about user acceptance testing vs. usability testing:
User Acceptance Testing
The UAT process evaluates the entire functionality of the software on a strictly technical level.
UT focuses on human factors and gives insight into user behavior, pain points, feedback, and suggestions as individuals test the different versions of the application,
Detects and reports bugs in an application or software design, ensuring that all features and functionalities are working seamlessly.
Used to assess if a product is user-friendly, easy to use, and navigate for the end user.
It aims to provide precise and dependable responses to inquiries such as:
Does the software serve its intended purpose? Does it allow the target market to achieve specific objectives?
It aims to obtain precise and reliable feedback on queries such as:
Does the app provide a satisfactory user experience?
How well does it help users complete specific objectives in a fast, easy, and glitch-free manner?
Helps in validating compatibility, support processes, and roadmaps.
Helps in verifying the satisfaction, credibility, memorability, and desirability levels of the software.
It helps the product owner or developer understand the limitations of the software with regard to its interface and key features.
Product owners and developers can use it to gain a greater knowledge of the target market’s mental model toward the app.
Typically, UAT is just once at the final stage of the project.
UT is performed at various stages of development, and any necessary changes are applied on the go.
Both usability testing and user acceptance testing are crucial for organizations to deliver efficient solutions to end users, meaning neither should be ignored. They go hand in hand to help ensure that any product or service is launched successfully and delivers the best ROI.