What is user acceptance testing and how is it relevant to P2P? Kelsey Farish, a solicitor at DAC Beachcroft, explains…
FINTECH COMPANIES are no strangers to technological innovation, but when they are creating technological solutions for retail investors, another skill is required – the ability to make their technology as user-friendly as possible.
This is where user acceptance testing (UAT) comes in. It is effectively a ‘try before you buy’ policy where a new piece of technology or software is used by the end client during the final phase of development, before the application or system is moved into the final market or production environment. Once the UAT phase is complete, the end user will either accept the system as delivered, accept the system subject to requested modifications, or reject the system entirely.
It is a way of ensuring that new technology is ready for general release, but there is still a lot of work to be done before it is fully understood and optimised, says Kelsey Farish, a solicitor in DAC Beachcroft’s fintech legal team.
“UAT is about making sure that all of the stakeholders have an appreciation for what’s going on,” she says. “What you don’t want is a situation where you’re building a new payment services app with ten or fifteen coders working on it; but then when it reaches the customer they can’t understand how it works.”
This is particularly true in the world of peer-to-peer lending. More and more P2P brands have begun integrating new software, adding extra features to their existing websites, and even launching their own platforms. In order to maintain their reputation for being user-friendly, UAT should be a priority.
“The democratisation of fintech is huge,” says Farish. “But there are complex dynamics, particularly in highly regulated industries. Practical flexibility needs to be balanced with legal certainty.”
While there is usually a good understanding of the inner workings of technology within the fintech industry, Farris has noticed some disconnects between the people actually using the system and the software versus the management.
“I have seen some people trying to work backwards – so they’ll have the backend of the product make sense but in order to get to that actual page where they’re trying to send customers, it might take a few extra clicks,” says Farish. “When all that’s actually required is an extra button option on the homepage.
“It helps if a final filter is applied before release, with the tech teams taking an objective view as possible and seeing the process through the lens of the end user.
“This could help spread the excitement that the technology creators feel about fintech, which has the power to give the customer fingertip control of their finances.”
In this sense, the end buyer is the ultimate product tester, as they can use the product as they would in their day-to-day jobs, and instantly feed back any usability issues. Legal accuracy is of course critical, and optimal success is always founded on collaboration between the coders and the end users.