Have you ever worked on an email marketing campaign? Most email software will stop you before you press ‘Launch’ and ask if you’ve sent a ‘Test’ email, randomly populated with someone in your email list.
It’s to ensure that the final product (the email, in this case) renders perfectly for the end-user.
Successful products and email campaigns have something in common: testing. For products and services, specifically, User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
So, what is User Acceptance Testing?
Commonly called beta testing, User Acceptance Testing is the last test of a product development cycle before it’s launched to the general public. Right after Quality Assessment (QA), a product is tested by a select few beta users who offer feedback that the creators can evaluate and use to improve.
Why does UAT work?
The strength of UAT lies in who is testing the product. The users selected from the waitlists must be representative of the actual end-users of the product. These tests allow the designers and developers to check that the product is satisfying correct user expectations.
User Acceptance Testing is done on products that are almost ready to go live. That means users can test the product, offer their feedback on how it solves pain points, and this can be incorporated before the product is launched. UAT prevents expensive post-launch fixes or changes that can drive away users and lower the product’s standing among competitors.
The version of the product offered to users for beta testing should be bug-free and have passed the Quality Assessment stage. Otherwise, the users will only focus on the bugs and minor issues, deterring them from checking the product's functionality and usefulness.
How can you use User Acceptance Testing for your products?
UAT is a necessary investment before you launch a new product or service. Setting aside time for multiple rounds of UAT with different testers from your waitlist should be woven into your product timeline. While the product is in the development stage, conduct UAT on smaller elements and chunks to gauge the correct solution to the problem in question.
For instance, as we continue to tweak ruttl’s last few bits and pieces, we’ve begun UAT to check how users respond and use different features. The earlier you start UAT for independent elements, the earlier you can collect feedback to improve your product.
Inviting users to test your product is not the same as bug fixing — ensure that your product is the best version of itself so you can get relevant and useful feedback. Invite users to test your product — choosing the right users is just as crucial as ensuring your product is fit to go live. The right users will help you determine if the product is good to go and satisfy both customer needs and business expectations.
Make UAT work for YOU
In order to glean as much useful feedback as possible from User Acceptance Testing, you need to ensure that you’re collecting feedback the right way. High quality and immediate visual feedback help you see where the snags are and what you need to do to fix them.
ruttl, a design review tool, has an in-app feedback button that sends us screenshots and any text the tester includes. This information goes right onto our Trello board, ready to be fixed before the next batch of users begin their beta tests.
As designers of a visual feedback and collaboration tool ourselves, we know the importance of making sure that the feedback collected is contextual, useful, and relevant. In fact, you can use ruttl to review websites by creating a small team of beta testers who offer feedback in the form of comments. You can also use the Comment mode on ruttl to invite clients and stakeholders to review any website to ensure you’re progressing on the right track.
Make User Acceptance Testing Constant
While the primary use of UAT is to ensure a product’s offerings aligns with user needs, it’s not simply a one-time thing. Conducting beta tests before updates, upgrades, and new features will help save both time and money in the long run.
It might be daunting to place an imperfect product in front of users, even for User Acceptance Testing, but it’s the key to perfecting your product before launch. The right users will offer the right kind of feedback that will help you improve your product and make it the best version possible before it launches. It also inspires trust in the general public that the team is receptive to feedback, creating a cycle of positive feedback.
If you leverage UAT for your products and services, the feedback you receive will be invaluable. Incorporating visual feedback tools like ruttl to collect user feedback will help you organize and work on it efficiently.
So, what are you waiting for? Add UAT to your product testing cycle at the earliest possible moments.