Bug reports are crucial for developers to find out where their code goes wrong or behaves in unexpected ways, but getting your testers to submit clear, informative, and actionable reports can certainly be a challenge. Whether you are beta testing your app or on a production release, standardizing and streamlining this process for your testers will help ensure that you receive thorough, actionable bug reports.
Before the Report
Depending on the type of application you are testing and your tester selection process, there is a good a chance your testers have never filed a bug report before. Direct them to some bug report writing guides or provide them with your own if you create a guideline optimized to your needs. Make sure fields like severity level and environment details are well explained and clear to your testers.
Surprises aren’t always good; let your testers know exactly what is expected from them up front. This will help increase the quality of reports you receive and minimize their frustration when you ask for any extra info.
Suggestions and Complaints
Encountering bugs can be very frustrating, especially if it is affecting an important feature or functionality. It is quite understandable that the user is upset about not being able to loot the boss after hours of play, but a complaint does not a bug report make. Providing an adequate channel for feedback and complaints makes users feel that their voice is heard and ensures that they reserve bug reports for facts and steps to reproduce the bugs.
Duplicates and Database
Duplicate bug reports are one of the biggest pains for a developer trying to stay on top of the reported bugs. Duplicates clutter your workflow and make other, sometimes more critical bugs, less visible, ultimately delaying their resolution. Provide clear categories for your bug reports where applicable, to help the testers find out if a bug has already been reported before they continue with their report and ask the users to simply add the details of their issue as a comment on the existing bug.
Also consider using SEO techniques like metadata keywords, cross-referencing bugs and tagging screenshots to make submitted bugs more searchable.
How to Get Your Testers to Submit the Ideal Bug Report
People like being heard and knowing that their voice has made a difference. Make your testers feel involved and valued by updating them often on the status of the bugs they reported and thanking them for their effort. This can be through direct one-on-one communication and/or announcements made on the appropriate channel.
Having a well-designed template makes the tester’s life easier and puts them on the right path to a stellar report. If you use bug tracking/reporting tools, this will not be necessary, but in either case, provide an example of what you consider a good report for the tester’s reference.
Provide a secure channel for reporting security bugs and be very responsive to these reports. This will avoid losing their trust and also ensure that sensitive security issues are not made public.
If you figure out a workaround for an issue announce it! This should be on a public channel like your website or forum, but also ensure that the news reaches the users by directly communicating with the reporters of the issue.
Test your application thoroughly and make sure it’s reasonably usable before making it available. Bugs can be very annoying and too many of them will only serve to magnify the user’s frustration and you can bet that this will reflect on the reports they write.
Submitting good bug reports can be a pain and being consistent about it is even harder, don’t forget to thank your testers for their participation and feedback. Testers will appreciate the recognition and a little gratitude can go a long way to encourage them to be active participants in any future programs.