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What is acceptance testing?

By Payel Bera

Reviewed by Vanessa Kintu

Fact checked by Jane Cahane

two guys are sitting at a table and looking at papers

Tagged as the last phase of software testing, acceptance testing helps evaluate the compliance of the system following the business/project requirements and assess whether it is acceptable for delivery and production. Let’s dive into the acceptance testing meaning, uses and types to know more.

Acceptance testing can be defined as formal testing connected with user needs, requirements and business processes. It determines whether a system satisfies the acceptance criteria of the client and enables the users to determine whether to accept the system. 

In engineering and software industries, this is the functional trial performed on a product or prototype that makes sure the quality and design of the product match the expectations, both contractually and functionally. Acceptance testing also focuses on the usability, durability and safety of the product.

Also known as end-user testing, operational acceptance testing or field-testing acts, acceptance testing can be used to find the defects missed during the functional testing phase; generate feedback to help in improving the product performance and user experience; and also to minimise or eliminate the issues arising during the production process. 

Acceptance testing helps companies save monetary losses that can be incurred if the product malfunctions or is rejected by customers. If the product is rejected, it may be fixed or abandoned entirely if the fixes would be too expensive or time-consuming.

Types of acceptance testing

During the process of manufacturing a mobile phone, there are various parts that are produced separately by different manufacturers. At one point, all these parts will first go under unit testing; after that when it is brought together, it will go for integration testing. 

Later on, the system testing will be performed to see if the phone works and lastly acceptance testing will be performed before it is sent out for delivery. 

Acceptance testing examples can help us know about its various types.

  • Contract acceptance testing: This type of acceptance testing ensures that the specifications of a product have been met by the manufacturers who have signed on as contractors in the production process. If something does not match obligations as per the contract, it should be rectified or legal action can be taken.

  • Regulation acceptance testing: Regulatory bodies and the government may mandate certain safety features or quality controls that must be met before the product can be sold. This type of acceptance testing ensures there is no failure to meet regulatory guidelines because it can result in recalls, fines or other legal action.

  • Operational acceptance testing: This is non-functional testing that is used to determine the operational readiness of the product. It focuses mainly on testing recovery, compatibility, maintainability and reliability before the product is released to production.

  • Alpha testing: These are internal tests that aim to spot any glaring defects. They are run by specialised testers who perform checks on malfunctions, anomalies and bugs. They also provide suggestions to improve product usability in a controlled manner.

Beta testing or field testing: Beta testing is an external pilot test of a product. Before a product goes into commercial production, the target market or end-user can provide feedback or value additions to the product.

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