--By Samarjeet Singh--
As a consumer, we always want the best in every service and product that we opt for, and more so wherein digital has become one of the important parts of our lives. It is important for organizations to ensure best-in-class digital experience in the context of modern-day business. Similar to any consumer product in the market, digital platforms such as websites, applications, smart devices, software etc. need to be fully tested in order for them to meet the specific requirements and expectations of the end-users. And now in the present situation where COVID-19 pandemic pushes us more in utilizing and experiencing various digital platforms and an increased number of competitions it becomes more important for an organization to launch flawless products & services.
UAT, User Acceptance Testing might sound a little scientific when first crosses our eyes however this is something which we experience in our routine life. Like when we cook something, we first taste it before serving reason being the desire to offer our best handmade recipe. Similarly, UAT in the IT industry is also of utmost importance as if any digital products are released to the public with issues in functionality will certainly bring in negative feedback and might as well impact the brand’s image, and hence User Experience (UX) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT) can’t be ruled out.
Let me narrate a recent experience of a few weeks back. I saw an online add mentioning “loan on phone in 5 minutes”. Following my curiosity, I opened the website link as mentioned in the SMS and was quite amazed to see the website. The process was explained well, the user interphase was also fine and while surfing the website I saw the option of choosing languages. Impressive, I said to myself however as I selected the language as “Hindi” all my excitement vanished as the translation API used did the simple translation and changed the meaning completely. My perception of the brand went negative in a second. I almost thought as if there was a hurry to launch this product in the market or and that too without testing and validation from UX perspective, whatever the reason be, it had a negative impact on me as one of the potential customers.
Some little information about UAT
User Acceptance Testing is a type of testing performed by the user or the client to verify/accept the product or system before moving into the production environment. UAT is done in the final phase of testing after functional, integration, and system testing are done.
UAT stage plays an important and crucial role in new launches and modifications. Through UAT step, we are able to validate whether all the business requirements have been fulfilled before releasing the actual product or system for customer/end users. This step ensures whether the product or software is complete according to the functional specifications defined by the product/application owner or not.
In a nutshell, UX (which is the sought-after output of UAT) represents a user’s experience while using a digital product. This experience can be based on multiple factors like – feel of the product, graphics, clarity of text & content, outcome, and more outputs that are influencing the user’s experience. When UX testing is skipped, the development team runs a huge risk of launching a product with poor user experience. For organizations to be successful, their products need to bring value to consumers and exceed the delivery parameters against the perceived value in a product or service that a consumer looks out for.
User Acceptance Testing services are carried out in a dedicated testing environment with real like data setup in a Pre-production phase to ensure no impact on the external market.
Post-development, there are 2 major steps of performing UAT:
1. Pre-production Environment – Testing carried out in the testing environment. The programmers are free to change and push changes at any time for quick testing of codes and integration with other changes. There’s no fear of breaking anything in production here since it’s conducted on test database & services
2. Production Environment – It’s the real deal. Post successful signoff of the UAT the respective product or application pushed into the production environment. Here along with the end-users or customers the production UAT also performed for a double check on the development & it’s functionality to make sure that all logics & integrations are functioning accurately as it’s in the Pre-production environment. Production UAT is equally important to be performed for every new launch or modification to ensure that Customer experience is in place.
While the concept of UAT and UX testing is clear, it doesn’t mean that anyone can be aligned to perform these testing. It’s about following the fundamentals and keeping maker and checker to be different entities and hence developers should not perform UAT as they already are biased towards the product. Needless to say, the developers themselves won’t do fair justice of seeing their own product from the customer’s lens. UAT testing service specialists do not have pre-bias of the product/application before it is developed and this gives them an edge over the developer to perform UX testing.
In the context and agreement of the above-mentioned information, many organizations look forward to 3rd Party professional QA testers. This is due to the fact that these professionals have the required skills and experience to correctly identify a variety of possible bugs and enhancement opportunities. These testers also have the ability to prioritize the fixing of bugs basis severity, which makes bug fixing more efficient. The team also has tools to document bugs and provide detailed notes on observations along with relevant artifacts, which helps developers to course correct and improvise the product.