User acceptance testing (UAT) is closely related to user testing. It’s usually initiated by developers who are building a website, app or system interface for you and need to know if what they have built is meeting the requirements that were identified at the start. It’s part of any good technical development cycle.
It's different from user testing because it is about you, the client, deciding whether you accept what's been built, or if there are changes before development can continue.
UAT will usually follow a particular test plan based on predefined ‘acceptance criteria’. Or, if budgets and development teams are small, it may be looser than this and you will be simply asked to click through and see if it’s working for you.
Do this as though you are a user trying to complete common tasks. You should set aside a good amount of time, at least half a day (depending on the scale of the implementation) to do this, and if you have other people who can spare the time then do ask them to help, as different people spot different things.
Create a list of items you would like developers to fix that are not meeting the original requirements.
You might divide the list into:
- Defects - anything that is not working as it should.
- User interface - anything visual, like strange fonts and spacing or links not working.
- Usability - anything that feels unexpected or unintuitive like search results in the wrong order or labels for buttons or menus that need different wording.
You are likely to identify enhancements and new features that you would like incorporated, so make a prioritised list of these and expect the developers may have to charge depending on your agreement.
If it's a website or app that people external to your organisation will use, then it's a good idea to carry out some form of user testing as well, if you haven't done this already. Doing so will reveal a whole lot more about the needs of your customers, clients or community than you could ever identify yourself.