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What Is User Acceptance Testing? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Temitayo Odugbesan

Temitayo has 11+ years Industrial Experience in Information Technology and has a master's degree in Computer Science.

In this lesson, we will look at what user acceptance testing is all about, what leads up to its requirement, the various types and examples of testing involved.

The Need for Business Process Automation Design

A User Acceptance Test (UAT) is carried out on a design build for which a set of requirements were submitted for it to be implemented.

Take for instance, you run a small dental practice straight after graduation from medical school and with time, this grew considerably within a very short period. It now became imperative that you would need to invest in some form of system automation to help improve upon and manage critical processes of the medical practice such as new patients' registration, existing patients' details retrieval, patient queuing, prescription management and payments.

These processes, synonymous with your operations, are currently handled by available staff members (including yourself). Initially, they were conveniently handled tracked through a stand-alone computer desktop application.

However, at the current growth rate, a well-defined automated system incorporating a process workflow would be best to help manage the processes in a well-structured manner and sequence.

For example, under the existing work structure, patients are meant to go through laid down processes (depending on their status ''new'' or ''returning'') before being attended to by the medical consultant. These includes but not limited to the following:

  1. Registration payment
  2. Bio-data captured
  3. Medical vitals captured/profiling
  4. Consultation schedule fixed
  5. See consultant
  6. Make payment for consultation
  7. Visit pharmacy for drug dispensation
  8. Schedule a follow up visit

The above form the basis of your business processes which could be carried out by any of the staff below (save for the consultation part).

  • Administrative/Medical Data Entry Staff
  • Auxiliary Nurse
  • Medical Practitioner
  • Cashier
  • Pharmacist

The new system which you envisioned, would help segregate the staff duties and manage effectively the processes leading up to your seeing the patient. It is these sets of requirements shared with the business process automation team that is known as User Specification Requirements.

User Specification Requirement Gathering

In kick-starting the automation process, you invited a business process automation specialist who visits with a team to familiarize themselves with the business, business processes and understand clearly the business requirements for the workflow design. Business requirements are therefore those activities (business processes) which are critical to the business without which the organizational goals and objectives cannot be met.

For a successful business process automation to take place, there has to be the capturing of requirements to help the team come up with a most suitable platform. This part of the automation process is known as the User Specification Requirement Gathering session.

During the session, you identify all existing business processes and specify any additional features that would bring your vision to life.

The team develops the design based on the information gathered and submits to you documented version for your review and subsequent acceptance of the captured processes and requirements as having met your business' needs. This you signify positively by signing off the document to be adopted for the design and implementation to kick-start the project.

User Acceptance Tests

At the lapse of the projected timeline, your business process automation specialist wants to deliver to you the finished project. The questions on everyone's lips would be 'How is this going to work?' and 'Will the project effectively address the reason for embarking on the automation process?'

The answer to this, and many more, lies with you and the other staff members having a hands-on session or walk-through of the design or simulating a real-live scenario to help gauge and understand the design was implemented based on the pre-defined user specification requirements captured earlier. This is called a User Acceptance Test.

User Acceptance Testing: Types and Examples

The specialist would require that you carry out various types of tests during the course of design up until the submission of a finished design, ranging from a direct designer-design owner interaction to designer-independent tester interaction all with the aim of improving the team's understanding of the requirements, ensuring design usability and or its meeting the required regulatory compliance.

Below is a list of UAT test types that may be applicable.

Alpha & Beta Testing

The alpha and beta (Greek letters which mean ''first'' and ''second'' respectively) testing of designs are carried out sequentially by you at the contractor's development environment (''alpha tests'') to help them to further understand the processes and the required workflows. During this period, feedback is noted and used to further improve on the designs and re-tested.

Once satisfied that the requirements and understanding of the workflow have been aptly captured, you may be required to carry out yet another test only that this time around, it will be released for on-site testing (''beta tests'' - within your business environment).

The reasons for this is that the ''alpha tests'' enable the team to understand the concept of the design required but are not fully equipped to see it run accordingly while the ''beta tests'' give them an almost live scenario to work with.

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