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Some tips on performing User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

We've done our bit building and internally testing your website for you. Now it's your turn to take it through the paces to see if it does what you expect it to do in what's called User Acceptance Testing, or UAT. Where do you begin?

Well, the best place to begin with UAT is with the agreed specification and designs. You should have these two items close at hand at all times during UAT to refer to quickly. Before you begin, read through the specification (or the part that relates to what you'll be testing, at least) so you have a good idea of what the functionality should be and familiarise yourself with the designs so you'll know if something doesn't look quite right.

It is a good idea to have people from the community who will be using your website involved in the testing process as well as stakeholders. This will give you a good idea of just how user-friendly your website is and highlight any holes in your user journey.

Here are a few things (not an exhaustive list) to think about / keep an eye on when testing...

Main navigation

  • Make sure the links all go to their intended locations.
  • Make sure the sub-menu (i.e. drop-down or fly-out menu) works as expected and the links go to the correct locations.
  • All menu items should be readable in responsive views (i.e. when the browser window is resized).


  • Submit a blank form first to make sure any error messages for required fields display as expected.
  • Ensure you can't submit a form where not all required fields are filled in.
  • Ensure that any confirmation emails sent as a result of form submission are received and are styled correctly.
  • Upload facility
    • Try uploading all sorts of file types and sizes to see what works and what doesn't.
    • If there is a maximum size for your uploads, be sure to test files that exceed the maximum.
    • If only certain file types are allowed (e.g. .docx, .pdf), try uploading those as well as others that are not allowed.
  • Email fields
    • Ensure that the form only accepts valid email address formats.
    • Ensure that the form only submits if the "email" and "confirm email" fields match.


  • Check that all videos show a preview image.
  • Check that all videos play.
  • Check that all videos have sound.

Sign in  / Registration

  • You should be able to log in with your username and password.
  • When you've logged in, make sure you see your details, not another user's.
  • Check that when you're not logged in you're not seeing / able to do anything that's reserved for those who are logged in.
  • Forgotten password
    • Check that the link works.
    • Check that an email is indeed sent to you with a link in it to reset your password.
    • Check that the reset password link in the email goes to the right location.
    • Check that you can reset your password and that the new one works.
  • Registration
    • Check that any single sign-on (SSO) works as expected (e.g. able to register using LinkedIn)


  • Make sure that the maps display as intended.
  • Make sure the map pins are displaying in their correct location (e.g. the "Cambridge" pin is displaying in the UK and not in Massachusetts, US).
  • Make sure any links in the map tabs work and go to the correct locations.

Online Payments

  • Check that all confirmation emails are being received.
  • Check that the shopping cart totals are correct.
  • Check that that your chosen payment provider's portal displays at checkout.

Cross-browser and device testing

  • Make sure the website looks the same in all browsers.
  • Make sure the forms work as intended in all browsers and devices.
  • Make sure no text or images are cut off on any devices.
  • Make sure that any error messages that appear on forms don't throw off the layout of the form or text in any way.


Remember to test uploading and updating content in the CMS as well.

  • Check that the items added/updated are displayed on the website and where expected.
  • Check that you have the ability to update the items you're expecting to be able to update.
  • Check that images and files are uploaded to the CMS as expected.
  • Check that copying, moving or deleting files or pages works as expected.
  • Check that all the tools in the toolbar appear as expected.
  • Check that the CMS is responsive when you resize the browser window.
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