Software Testing: User Acceptance Testing vs. Regression Testing

With a market size of nearly $600 billion and expected growth of 11.5% between now and 2030, the software development industry is one of the fastest-growing segments in developed economies due to the growing volume of enterprise data, the automation of many business processes, and the digitization of most markets, according to a report published by Grandview Research. This growth was accelerated by rising privacy and security concerns, as well as the massive growth in e-commerce fueled by Covid-19. That’s why software developer is one of the most in-demand jobs right now and the industry is more fragmented with new development firms entering the market all the time, as you can see in the graphic below. All this growth means the need for software testing increased, as well.

software development
Image courtesy of PR Newswire

The need for software testing

You can’t simply deploy new software without adequate testing, or you risk damaging your reputation or making the wrong decision because the data used as the foundation for your decision was flawed because the software didn’t work as anticipated or documented. In a virtual world inside a computer, it’s not like your senses can validate the trustworthiness of the data. You can’t simply scan the warehouse, for instance, to ensure the inventory figures you get are correct. The software must work flawlessly to reflect accurate inventory levels so customer orders are filled in a timely manner and replenishment occurs before inventory is depleted. And, that’s just one example of how software testing benefits your business.

Testing is crucial to guaranteeing the caliber and dependability of programs in the complex world of software development. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and Regression Testing are two important testing approaches that stand out among the many others. Despite serving different functions and taking care of various stages of the development cycle, both are essential to the software testing process. Today, we examine the distinctions between UAT and Regression Testing, illuminating each type’s special traits, goals, and procedures, as well as when to use each type of testing in the process of developing software.

A great example of the failure of software testing occurred when Microsoft introduced Windows 8. The product wasn’t adequately tested but Microsoft execs determined that meeting the launch date was more important than completing testing. The result was devastating for the company. Instead of software testing in-house, consumers were doing the testing and uncovering serious flaws in the software. The resulting PR nightmare was so serious that Microsoft spent millions of dollars and was forced to skip Windows 9 and went straight to Windows 10, hoping to distance themselves from the negative publicity. The debacle cost the company an estimated $8 billion (with a B) and damaged its reputation, giving Apple a huge gift. Note, this estimate doesn’t include the value of all the business they lost since the article was written in 2013.

software testing
Image courtesy of Tech Target

Regression testing

Regression testing in software testing focuses on ensuring that new code additions or alterations do not adversely affect an application’s functions. New features, bug fixes, and enhancements are all part of the evolution of software. The difficulty is in making sure that these adjustments don’t unintentionally affect or break current features that were previously functioning as intended.

Regression testing addresses this issue by executing a series of tests that cover the application’s crucial features, both old and new. Regressions, which are unforeseen side effects brought on by fresh code modifications, must be found and dealt with. Despite the software’s codebase’s ongoing change, this procedure aids in maintaining the software’s stability and dependability.

As a result of its effectiveness, automated regression testing—in which scripts are created to automatically carry out a preset set of test cases—has grown in popularity. Without having to do repetitious tests manually, it enables development teams to quickly validate code changes. In order to ensure that any regressions are discovered early in the development process, automated tests are integrated into the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline.

User acceptance testing (UAT)

As the name suggests, user acceptance testing focuses on confirming that a software product satisfies the needs and expectations of its intended users. This testing step, often referred to as end-user testing, is usually carried out in the latter stages of the development cycle, soon before the release of the application. In order to provide a product that is both useful and valuable, UAT’s main goal is to make sure that the application’s features match the demands of its users.

A trend in UAT is involving users in testing before writing any of the code, using clickable prototypes that function in some ways like the finished product would. In developing the software for a client, we used an iterative process that started with a prototype showing the user interface and the target of each link on the site to ensure it was intuitive for users. From this, we developed an MVP (minimum viable product) with some of the bells and whistles of the product we envisioned but without the database links that were necessary (and expensive to build). We allowed prospective users to play around with this as we sat with them to collect their comments as well as confusion about using the product. After several iterations, we ended up with a great product that was further tested as we expanded the number of users allowed on the platform over time.

End users or other stakeholders take part in the execution of specified test cases that replicate real-world circumstances during user acceptance testing. In our case, we launched a series of simulations for users to test the various functions of the product in our facility to see the results. These test cases are designed to assess the application’s user interface, processes, and features in light of their intended use. The user experience, usability, and general contentment are also prioritized in addition to functionality.

The collaboration of developers, testers, and users is frequently a part of the UAT process. User input is gathered, examined, and dealt with in order to improve the program. A successful UAT indicates that the software program is prepared for deployment to a larger audience and is certain to fulfill their needs.

Different objectives, similar goals

Although User Acceptance Testing and Regression Testing have different purposes, they both support the overall mission of producing high-quality software. Regression testing protects the program’s stability in the face of ongoing modifications, whereas user acceptance testing (UAT) focuses on fulfilling user expectations and ensuring the usefulness of the application. In the end, both testing approaches combine to deliver a thorough review of the program.

When to employ each software testing methodology

Regression testing or user acceptance testing should be used depending on the stage of development and the individual testing objectives:

User acceptance testing:

UAT is often carried out in the latter phases of the development cycle, soon before the release of the application, although you should involve users before then to ensure it meets their needs. By doing so, it makes sure that the program is prepared for deployment and meets user expectations.

Regression testing:

Regression Testing is essential following any code modifications, whether they provide bug fixes, fresh features, or other improvements. It aids in ensuring that modified functionality has no negative effects on current functionality.

User Acceptance Testing and Regression Testing are two crucial pillars of the software testing landscape, each of which serves certain functions and adds to the entire process of quality assurance. The main goal of UAT is to ensure that the application is suitable for the target market by evaluating user expectations and usability. Regression testing, on the other hand, ensures the stability of the program by identifying regressions following code modifications.

Conclusion

Development teams may create a thorough testing plan that considers both user happiness and code stability by knowing the variations and subtleties of different testing approaches. User Acceptance Testing and Regression Testing work hand in hand to provide software that satisfies user demands while maintaining the highest standards of performance and reliability in the complex dance of software development.

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