As software developers, we have to deal with bugs sometimes plaguing the apps we’ve developed. It’s not uncommon to have a client, customer, co-worker or complete stranger tell us about a bug, glitch…basically something that is broken with our app.
As helpful as this is, the conversation usually goes a little like this:
App user: “Hey man, what wrong with your app? It’s not working?”
Developer: Blank stare… “What’s not working?”
The thing is, we write thousands and thousands of lines of code to make your app work. Unless we know exactly what the issue is, it’s difficult to figure out what exactly is going wrong. It’s like finding one missing comma in a novel without knowing what page and line it should be on.
So, how do you prevent your developer from giving you a blank stare? Upgrade your bug report from blank stare to a gold star bug report.
The blank stare bug report: It’s not working!
Tell your developer what you actually expected to happen. Believe it or not, we don’t always know. And sometimes the issue is not a bug so much as an interaction that fails to meet user expectations. The solution might be to tweak a design rather than digging into code to find out what is broken.
The mediocre bug report: I tried to log into the app, and it didn’t work!
Tell your developer what actually happened. In most tasks that an app performs, there are multiple steps and multiple points of failure. Help your developer isolate exactly what didn’t work.
The helpful bug report: I tried to log in, but I could not type in the username text field.
Provide as much detail as you can about how to reproduce the issue. This prevents the developer from trying to reproduce it the wrong way, which wastes valuable time and effort.
The very helpful bug report:After logging out of the app, I tried to log in again, but I could not type in the username text field.
Be sure to tell your developer how often this happens. This means, after you find a bug, try to reproduce it a couple of times.
The bronze star bug report: After logging out of the app, I tried to log in again, but I could not type in the username text field. This only seems to happen about half of the time.
Sometimes, doing the above will provide additional details about the bug in question.
The silver star bug report: After logging out of the app, I tried to log in again, but I could not type in the username text field. This only seems to happen if I go to the home screen and back into the app between logging in and logging out, but in that case it happens every time.
Screenshots and video are always appreciated, especially if the bug is visual in nature. It can also be helpful to show your developer the bug in person. Regardless, documentation is always good, especially if the developer is unable to fix the bug immediately.
The gold star bug report: The silver star report + screen shots or video
There you have it. Simple steps to go from a blank stare to a gold star bug report.
Your developers may not necessarily be happy to find out that their code doesn’t work, but they will certainly be happy to have a detailed bug report to help them isolate the problem in a timely manner.
Stephen Gazzard is one of our talented robots. He’s worked on some of our award winning apps, including Spy vs Spy; released eight of his own games to the App Store, cracking the US top 100 with Castle Conflict; and dreams of the day his life observations will finally be published.