Bug Reporting

October 28th, 2009
By: Cory Mathews

Well it took it long enough for someone to officially report iSearchNotes.com‘s first bug. By officially I mean not calling/texting/emailing me directly to tell me there was a bug but finding some way within the site.

After I realized what the bug was, I am sure that many users have come across it before, but for whatever reason none of them submit the bug to me.

Why did it take so long?

I would say on a normal business day i spend 10 hours a day developing (4 10’s is the way to go!). I probably run into 1-2 software bugs, not counting any in my own apps. That number goes way up if the day consists of heavy adobe product usage (fucking flash), up to about 6-10 in a single day. Regardless, I run into lots of bugs and may only reportĀ  one every 2-3 months.

Doing the math that means that there is 90-270 bugs I run into before I report 1 of them. Yes some of those are duplicate bugs but still thats a lot of missed reports.

So why do I not report more bugs?

I would consider myself to be part of the target audience who should report software bugs, but I don’t.

Taking the time to put in enough information for a fellow developer to debug some error takes way to long. I would guess that on average it takes about 10-20 minutes. I personally do not care enough to spend 20 minutes to have point number 2 happen.

Over time I have submitted 4-6 bugs to Microsoft, all about visual studio, with as much information as I can, and every single one has been marked unreproducible, then resolved (I don’t know how the fuck they consider it resolved?), then closed. It feels as if I am wasting my time, and because of it I stop submitting any more bugs.

On the other hand, when not dealing with Microsoft, I normally do not receive any kind of notice saying the company received the bug. So again I stop sending them in.

Make sure you respond to your users who are sending you bugs! Otherwise they will end up like myself and stop submitting ANY kind of feedback.

Personally I hate adobe. Everyday it grows closer to my hate for apple, regardless with the exception of Facebook they seem to be the only major software company to have such buggy software. I cannot use an adobe product for more then a couple hours without it crashing. Flash, and Flash player are the worst!

Sometimes we just have no desire to submit the bug. We couldn’t care less about the software and really don’t want to waste my time submitting the bug.

When you get a bug the user is telling the company that they care about their product, and that want them to fix it!

So don’t get mad about bugs, be glad that users are submitting them.

How can we create a better way to report software bugs?

I have not come across a site that does a better job then grooveshark. On their site they have a feedback button clearly located on every page.

feedback

Once you click on this feedback button a very friendly message pops up and asks how you feel about the message and then asks for the message itself. Its a very simple way to get feedback and works great for submitting bugs, feedback, and any other form of general contact to them.

feedback2

What did this user go through to submit a bug on my site?

This is a valid question that all site owners need to look into. Currently this site (corymathews.com) has a very prominent contact button.

feedback6

How long did it take you to find it? Odds are, not to long. However when I take a look at the iSearchNotes.com site its not so clear. Take a look at the image bellow.

feedback3

Do you quickly see a way to submit bugs?

Well if you really looked you would find 2 ways to contact me. You probably semi quickly saw the feedback link in the right, but it may have taken you a while to notice the contact link in the footer.

While this is by no means the best solution I would say that it is sufficient for such a small site as iSearchNotes.com. However as the site grows I will need a more clear way to submit feedback.

How about we take a look at a larger site such as Facebook.

feedback4

Did you notice that tiny help button in the bottom right corner? I did not think that you would click help to submit a bug. This is like hitting start to shutdown… confusing.

Even after you click on the help button you will come to a screen where you must click suggestions from a large listing of other random crap in order to submit a bug.

feedback5

Needless to say its way to hard to submit bugs to facebook and facebook is HUGE! There is no excuse for such a large site to be so difficult.

So how hard is it to submit a bug about your site/application? Could you making it simpler?