User Acceptance Test

1 Nov 2007 - 11:41am
8 years ago
1 reply
1036 reads
Katie Albers

Heaven save me from the User Acceptance Test....

1) Is that your aim? "acceptance"? Not delight, not pleasure, not
relief, not excellence, but "acceptance"? Aim higher

2) User Acceptance Testing frequently goes hand in hand with
statements like "Marketing *is* the users. They defined the
requirements." and there are so many things wrong with that statement
I cannot even begin to go into it.

3) UAT tends to be all about the function...not the user. Does this
piece of SW do what we want it to do? In other words, it's standard
QA with a different group of testers.

About 10 years ago I worked with a stellar group of people, including
IxD and usability folk, developing Web sites of various ilks and for
a long time our decor included a box of the sort SW usually comes in
that had been made into "Web Site in a Box Only 29.99, includes
links, branding, and usability" *We* knew it was a joke -- we also
knew that it was what we were always getting asked for ("It shouldn't
take more than 3 weeks to do a redesign of our corporate site, right?
You just change the colors and move the buttons.")

I think User Acceptance Testing -- like Focus Groups -- belongs in
marketing (if it belongs anywhere at all -- which is a whole
different discussion), when you're still deciding whether it's a good
idea to Make That Thing. But still, only in those cases where That
Thing fits within a recognizable group of Things. No focus group and
no UAT would ever have predicted that VisiCalc was a good idea (and
would be used for myriad applications in unforeseen fields like Naval

It's another example that among the most critical things to know are
What to ask, who to ask, when to ask it, how to ask it, and what the
answers mean and don't mean.

And you won't get that in a box for 49.99 :)


At 10:57 AM +0800 11/1/07, Kaisen Wang wrote:
>I totally agree with what Jay Kumar is saying, that suddenly so many
>companies are offering usability that it's getting unreal.
>It also quickly becomes obvious that these companies do not know what they
>are talking about when they start to refer to "Usability Test" as "User
>Acceptance Test (UAT)", which to them basically involves giving the
>prototype to users to use, and get them to write down their comments, and
>fill in a likert scale survey to rate how good it is. There is no moderator,
>no actual test, no asking of users to find out their motivations etc..
>As for UT being offered for 49.99, which company is actually doing that?
>It'll be interesting to find out...

Katie Albers
User Experience Consulting & Project Management
katie at


3 Nov 2007 - 6:28am

"It's another example that among the most critical things to know are What
to ask, who to ask, when to ask it, how to ask it, and what the answers mean
and don't mean."

Yes we have clients who either have a Usability Tool in mind e.g. Usability
Testing or want guidance on which tool or hybrid of tools to use to find the
right answers. Dependency here on the usability maturity of your client --
sometimes starting with a tool which is not exactly right at least gets your
foot in the door and the client on the road to better understanding their
users (hence championing longer term UX thinking)

We have started many a project with Usability Testing and this has lead to
the client wanting a deeper understanding of their users -- which has then
led to introducing other tools to help them e.g. Site Visits, User
Interviews, Usability Reviews, IA restructures, key landing page redesigns,
walkthroughs, focus groups etc Also helps to show the "Elements of UX"
diagram to open their eyes beyond the visual layer of UX! Thanks JJG :)


Daniel Szuc
Principal Usability Consultant
Apogee Usability Asia Ltd
'Usability in Asia'

The Usability Kit -

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