User acceptance testing would involve testing from an end user point of view to determine if you “ACCEPT” the software or not. Usually, acceptance is done by or on behalf of an end user or end customer for whom you are developing software. Sometimes, a development organization may ask a small group of users who have deep knowledge of the business requirements to do acceptance testing as well. In any case, it should be done from the end user point of view for stories or use cases that they would execute frequently.

If you want to do User Acceptance Testing (UAT) for an insurance portal, what would be the top scenarios that a user would do on the portal. For example, some user stories that we have run across in our experience with acceptance testing include:

1. Notification to insured – An insured receives notification through their email that they have a message, invoice or other information regarding their policy.

2. Look up To-Do List – An insured goes into the portal and checks their to-do list for any recent audits to enter payroll or bills to be paid.

3. API test results - though not from an insured point of view, data from various systems needs to get into the portal for the insured to access. This could include invoices, policy documents, claims information and any other information captured.

4. Input or update billing information - An insured must enter or update their credit card or bank account information for automatic payments.

5. Correspondence – review policy documents, invoices, and any email messages.

6. Cancel or schedule automatic payments – Insured’s often need to cancel or edit and reschedule a payment.

7. Review Loss Run – An insured may review loss run reports for loss prevention that may affect various departments within the business.

Going through typical scenarios such as those listed above would constitute the User Acceptance Testing for an insured portal. Special attention is needed when considering the end user. Sometimes it is the insured, broker, or employee. Each has different usage. As you can see, there are many variations that need to be tested as well.

One of the first steps in software test automation is to evaluate test automation tools. Many organizations key considerations in evaluating test automation tools is cost. Many people believe that cost is one of the most important criteria in evaluating test automation tools. Not us. We believe that one of the most critical criteria is the ability to recognize objects. Evaluating and selecting the testing automation tool that is best for you depends on the software that is under test. Let’s talk more about evaluating test automation tools for Object Recognition for testing web applications. You’ll need to evaluate which browsers are supported by each tool one by one. We normally check the top 3 popular browsers – Firefox, IE (Edge), and Chrome. Each uses a different rendering engine – Gecko, Trident, and Webkit. Because of this, automation tools need separate methods while working with them. For the full evaluation, we are more specific and expand into more details that are more contextual and targeted toward the software under test.

Additionally, tools often support some versions and not others. We know that Silktest supports recording with IE, but it doesn’t support recording with Firefox at all; and for another tool – Selenium 2.x(Webdriver), it only supports up to Firefox 46 using selenium-server-standalone-2.xx.x.jar. For Firefox 47 or above, you must use Selenium 3.x with geckodriver.

Another thing you must consider during the evaluation is what is the language or technologies your company is using to develop your application. For example, Flex and Silverlight are very popular for rich web applications. If your company is using one of them, you must be very careful when evaluating their specific capabilities to recognize some Silverlight controls directly.

This means that TestComplete doesn’t support all versions of Silverlight. This same situation may happen with other automation tools as well. Of course, with some extra work like installing a higher version of Silverlight and deploying files from the server side, you can conquer this obstacle. But as a reminder, it’s important to pay attention to all types of UI elements during object recognition.

Of course, evaluating and choosing a tool is just one of many steps in a software test automation project. Developing a maintainable software test automation framework that is suitable with the architecture of the software is another of several critical steps.

Don’t underestimate the value of software testing

Testing is an additional opportunity to look at the product from different angles: destructive – by trying to break it and the constructive – whether it meets customers’ expectations and whether the product is easy to use. A good QA team may increase product quality and reliability, starting from the inception of the design till the project launch. This will not only minimize the number of defects in production but also reduce the number of defects coded. QA specialists are always reviewing the requirements and the source code thoroughly ensuring that the code is of the highest quality. The more information a customer and developers provide for the testing department, there is a greater chance of finding all vulnerabilities and bugs.

Broad understanding of the product

To test a product effectively, the QA team should know it well enough. This also includes knowing how end-users expect it to work and having a “customer-oriented” approach. The golden rule is the more you know the product, the better you can test it. So, a QA team is well-informed about the technicalities of every product they test. They build their knowledge about the product, along with understanding the business objectives.

A QA team is always aimed at understanding how software development process can fit into the business approach and goals of the customer. What’s more, they analyze the design right after the black-box test plan is completed. Indeed, knowing the design can widely influence the test strategy itself. So, consider companies that are getting more and more information to refine the testing and have a high-level vision of your product. In this case, they may offer objective insight into the validity of any features and changes of your application.

Apply testing practices across all projects

Some clients are looking for a testing team that can handle testing a few of their projects simultaneously. In this case, the QA team should analyze each app and find a unique and flexible approach to each of them. Oftentimes the combination of preventive and proactive testing approach is the best solution. It helps to define bugs at early stages thus minimizing costs spent on debugging in comparison to reactive and other outdated testing approaches. Moreover, in this case testers may be helpful in finding inconsistencies in design before the development stage as well as suggesting ideas for improvement.

Engage a tester at early stages of development

Software testing should start as early as possible in the software development life cycle and should have defined objectives. In this case, the QA engineer can spot and correct any error in the requirements before the development stage. Moreover, testers can write test cases and scripts that can be used by developers during the design process. This can reduce time, development costs, and increase efficiency of the whole bug fixing process. So, the presence of a QA specialist at early stages of product development is of vital importance in terms of understanding the customer’s vision, saving valuable time and finding the best approaches to testing.

Consider flexible and adaptable QA specialists

Flexible and adaptable testers are always in high demand on the software development market. Many of them master automation and manual skills and thus become more adaptable and well-informed about the implementation processes. Using multiple levels and types of testing helps them correlate real-time scenarios to software testing along with understanding and setting testing priorities. Furthermore, creativity and the ability to target trouble areas are a must for a testing team. In such way, they are able to think outside the box and find interesting solutions. Additionally, this enables them to generate more ideas to test the product, analyze data and find various sets of circumstances that can reproduce a bug.

Pay attention to testers with solid technical knowledge

It goes without saying that effective Quality Assurance requires knowledge about software development as well. A great QA team should have some understanding of development workflows, methodologies, and frameworks. This knowledge is required to eventually code automated tests. So, if the testers know how to develop, they will have better ideas on what is “dangerous” to code and thus what they should test more thoroughly. Hiring a testing team with such skill set is great for creating powerful automation infrastructures which are scalable, easily maintained, and approachable for other teams. That is why QA testers are constantly improving their skills and enriching their knowledge by attending and organizing various QA Tech talks and meetups.

Formulate requirements and acceptance criteria

Projects that start with inaccurate acceptance criteria often face low customer satisfaction levels, missed delivery dates, and development cost overruns. That is why it’s absolutely critical to accurately define acceptance criteria and requirements before any testing and development begins. Identifying specific tasks, business processes and functions that must be in place at the end of the project is an integral part of efficient QA testing and smooth project flow. In some time, QA team becomes a fount of knowledge on your project since they know exactly how everything works.

Overall, software testing outsourcing is not only effective for saving money without additional risks but may also minimize business disruptions. This allows companies to focus on their core competencies and maintain a positive brand reputation. So, in case all the above-mentioned rules were considered when choosing a QA team, companies may significantly enhance their product quality and save costs in the long run.