BugHerd is now Macropod

A long time ago, Matt and I sat down to come up with a name for our nifty little bug reporting tool. "BugHerd" seemed like such a simple and clear description of what we did. We gave website developers the ability to "herd bug reports" from their team, clients or users and get them into a place where they can easily be dealt with.

Seemingly unrelated, there's this advertisement which screened on Australian TV quite a few years back:

 

 

Whilst we find it amusing that "BugHerd", when said quickly, sounded remarkably like the Aussie slang "buggered" which refers to something that is been broken or has gone wrong. It certainly wasn't intentional on our part, just a happy coincidence that is an amusing piece of self-referential humour for us Aussies. 

It turns out that it doesn't translate quite so well in other parts of the world. In our time we've had one or two people complain that BugHerd sounded a little too much like the more international interpretation of the word "buggered". Of course we can't be held responsible for other people's dirty mindsjust about everything can be made to sound naughty if you're inclined to put the effort in!

The BugHerd team have now created three distinctly different applications, of which only one broadly relates to bug tracking. It was therefore starting to get a little weird for us to be selling products under the banner of BugHerd that quite distinctly didn't relate to bug tracking. This is especially true when we're selling products to the Digital Service industry where the word "bug" is most definitely a naughty word.

So as part of our bigger vision for the future of the business, we're now changing our operating name to Macropod. BugHerd the product will still be called BugHerd, but all the products will fall under the new common banner.  

So what does this mean for you? For now, this will affect all communications and billing you receive from us. If you're a paying customer, this means that you'll start seeing financial transactions from Macropod Software Pty Ltd rather than the usual BugHerd Pty Ltd. Hopefully this won't come as a surprise to anyone as we switch over. There will also be some branding updates coming, which we will update you about when these changes are launched. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, we're always available to answer!

Cheers,
Alan

Details Of The Recent Outage

Early yesterday our monitoring system alerted us to the fact that our application had become unavailable. In total, our application was unavailable for 7 hours, and for this we are incredibly sorry to all of our customers. This sort of event is a very rare occurrence,  and it's an even rarer occurrence when we find ourselves totally at the mercy of the capabilities of a third party provider.

In outages we almost always start diagnosis by looking into our application status and work outwards from there. On this occasion, however, we found that we had an outage across two different products (BugHerd and Stack) which are hosted at two different locations. This immediately made it clear that this was neither an application fault nor a fault with our hosting provider. Further investigation quickly alerted us to the fact that there was  DNS fault at our provider DNSimple. This is when we hit a wall.

I'm sure DNSimple will provide their own post-mortem in time, but the short story is that they appear to have been victim of a sustained DDoS attack. We firstly applaud the way they handled the attack, and we're particularly grateful for their continued efforts and communication during the outage. An event of this scale has a flow on effect to anyone that happens to use their services, ourselves included, and it's been a difficult time for them I'm sure.

From our point of view, there's little we can do to prevent these sorts of determined, malicious attacks on third party services. We can't help to resolve them, nor can we simply choose to not rely on third parties for these sorts of services. Like any online business, we're somewhat at the mercy of broader Internet conditions, and a systematic attack like this can cause a lot of heartache, even for the well prepared.

However, after much discussion today, there are some things which we'll begin to put in place to minimise interruption should this occur again in future; and given the nature of the Internet, it certainly will.

The first big mistake we made was the result of a recent consolidation of services. Previously our DNS provider(s) and Registrar(s) were all over the place. Over a period of time we'd collected quite a few of both, and it seemed sensible to consolidate them. Unfortunately, in the case of a sustained DDoS of this nature when your DNS and Registrar are in the same place it leaves you unable to recover in a timely fashion.

Had our registrar been independent of our DNS, we would've been able to simply change our nameservers and, after a reasonable period of time, customers would've been again able to access our services. Given that our registrar was unavailable in addition to our DNS, we were obviously unable to do this. This was a major head desk moment for all of us (and many others from what I've been reading).

To prevent this happening again in future we'll be taking the following steps.

  1. Separate our DNS and Registrar to limit the chances of both being unavailable at the same time.
  2. Create a backup of our DNS records at second DNS provider.
  3. Ensure that redundant DNS providers are always present as a fallback in case of critical failure.

Once again, we're incredibly sorry about the outage. We take great steps to include redundancy and backups in our servers and applications across the board. But for one reason or another, this was an oversight on our part. Whilst we can't take responsibility for an outage in a third party service, we do take responsibility for how we choose to consume those services.

Finally, I want to say thank you to all our customers that didn't reach out to yell at us, but reached out with sympathetic words and understanding. Your patience and support means the world to me and our team!

Meet James - BugHerd Web Developer

James - BugHerd web developer

 

In the last 12 months BugHerd has grown from a team of 6 to more than 12 and we've added 5 developers to the mix in under 8 months! 

James is a front-end web developer who started with us 8 months ago. Since we're all about equal opportunity, James managed to land the job despite a lack of beard. This is very strange and unique for the BugHerd team but we think he's pretty rad anyway ;)


How long have you been in the biz?

Like everyone I started out young, but I was lucky enough to escape some of the terrible misfortunes of early web development. My first attempts at a html page was using Notepad, eventually upgrading to FrontPage. There was this weird period where I was a part of a group of people who'd make websites to give Photoshop brushes and that kind of thing to people for free. I wanted to be a part of that community, so I'd make new designs every few weeks ... I never created content though, so had no visitors. I learned heaps through that constant redevelopment, and eventually a family friend asked me to make his company website when I was in my mid teens. From there it just grew, so I've been around for a little while.

Describe your role?

I like to think I sit somewhere between the designers and the designer-less developers. I'm sort of the middle-man in the design process, so I love turning designs into React components, but also love the challenge CSS brings.

What do you enjoy most about web dev?

It's hard to pick the most enjoyable aspect, but the constant evolution of front end development is great at keeping you on your toes.

Anything you dislike about being a developer?

The answer to this a few years ago was always 'IE'. At BugHerd, with our recent products, we don't support old IE and only officially support the latest version. I'm sure there's other things I dislike, I slam my head against the desk nearly daily at the intricacies that make this job a challenge.

Grand plans at BugHerd?

I've learnt so much since starting here, so I'd love to continue doing that. I often consider myself 'Nathans sidekick', and that's because he's a fantastic teacher. So ultimately, I'd love to just continue growing as a developer, specifically with JavaScript. There's a few things I'd like to tick off, like become the resident expert in integration tests.

What do you do for kicks/ or on the side?

Personal projects and freelance work used to take up most of my time outside work. I've slowly tried to limit how much coding I do outside of work, so I don't burn out during the later parts of the week. I love teaching people how to code, so I do that a few nights a week. When at home, I hang out with my dogs and try to run daily. It's a bit hard to be consistent in the winter months though!

If you weren't doing this job what would you be doing?

I did a fair bit of manual labor as casual work when I was younger, and I also _started_ an electrical engineering degree. So, I think I'd like to be an electrician.

What are you famous for?

Unfortunately I'm mostly famous for having a foul mouth.


You can connect with James and let him know there is something seriously wrong (or right?) with his screen on twitter @_ojame

 

Funding Announcement: BugHerd secures $1M

Tank Stream Ventures, Starfish Ventures and 500 Startups have backed BugHerd to assist with product expansion.


Last week we shared the great news about our future plans for BugHerd, which has generated plenty of excitement amongst customers and the tech community. 

We couldn't have started upon this new leg of the journey with a nudge of the financial kind. So we're glad to announce that we've secured $1M of Series A funding from Australian-based Tank Stream Ventures and Starfish Ventures, in conjunction with US-based 500 startups.

The funds will allow the us to accelerate our growth plans and enable us to hire more people with a focus on delivering Stack, Brief and the new and improved version of BugHerd to market as soon as possible.

The bulk of the funds have been received from Tank Stream Ventures and Starfish Ventures, who believe our previous success and high growth leave us well-placed to capitalise on this vision.

 

Tank Stream Ventures Logo

 

"Software is present more than ever in today’s world and BugHerd has an ambitious vision to transform the way businesses develop online projects in a collaborative way,” said Tank Stream Ventures Investment Manager Rui Rodrigues. 

“TSV has a strong focus on software-as-a-service businesses and we’re thrilled to be working with the BugHerd team, who we believe have managed to build significant traction and are well placed to execute on that vision.”

 

Starfish Ventures Logo

 

Starfish Ventures Investment Director Anthony Glenning said “Starfish is delighted with Bugherd’s growth to date. The expanded product offering envisioned is set to continue that high growth trajectory. Starfish is excited to participate again in helping Bugherd achieve its goals.”

 

500 Startups Logo

 

500 Startups founder Dave McClure said he was increasingly looking outside the US for promising investments. “Although Silicon Valley is still a Mecca for startups, most of the world's growth markets are outside the US. That's where we plan to invest,” he said.

We're pretty excited to be able to share this news with everyone and can't wait to keep you updated on our progress. Make sure you follow @get_stack and @bugherd to stay in the loop. Or you can sign up to our newsletter below.

 

The future of BugHerd

Dear Customers,

We have some very exciting news to share!  It’s a pretty big deal for BugHerd customers, so take a moment to have a read (if you’re really keen for the scoop, you can skip to the headline stuff.

... first, a bit of backstory ...

<insert harp music and screen shimmering>

The moment Matt and I first created BugHerd, we knew we’d created something special. The act of placing a “pin” on a website and having it appear on someone else’s screen was so simple yet so powerful. Immediately it felt like we’d created a little bit of magic. Since that day, every person we’ve shown BugHerd to has had that same “wow” moment when they’ve first logged a bug. There’s something strange and yet magical about being able to leave a message on a website for someone else to see, something that we’re still yet to see elsewhere on the web.

The difficulty for us was that the possibilities for this technology were so broad it made it incredibly difficult to find and focus on a particular use case. Even just within web development there are so many different markets; digital agencies, e-commerce sites, blogs, translators, content editors, startups, user support, design feedback… the list goes on. 

For us, it turned out that every customer is an outlier. Everyone had their own special way of using BugHerd.

So we went back to our product and analysed how it’s used and by whom:

  • We found that the people who got the most value out of giving feedback on websites was actually the client or stakeholder of a project. They’re less involved in the ongoing process of building a website, but are greatly concerned with the output. 
  • We found that the people who got the most value out of our Kanban board were developers and project managers. The people tasked with doing and organising the work love the ease of use and flexibility our task board provides. 
  • We found that designers and front end folks loved the contextual feedback and screenshots that the BugHerd browser extensions provide. With one click they see exactly what the bug reporter sees, what page it happened on and what browser they were using. 

 

To resolve the differences in these use cases, we’re splitting BugHerd into three distinct products. They’ll work perfectly together as a suite but will also be fully-featured standalone products in their own right. Of course, you’ll also be able to use them with other apps of your choice as well. 

 


Welcome to Stack:

 

First cab off the rank is our new more robust, developer-centric, task board. As soon as we decided that we only need to cater for developers and project managers, it made setting a scope for our Kanban board a whole lot easier. Even today it’s already better than what we had in BugHerd, but in the near future you’ll start seeing a bunch of new things implemented. You’ll be able to use milestones, create sprints, mark dupes, create reports, work across multiple projects at once, do time tracking and estimations and much much more. 

We’re not interested in selling a general purpose tool to musicians, painters, students or home renovators. We’re making a robust tool for development teams. Stack is available right now, go try it now here

 


The New BugHerd:

BugHerd isn’t going anywhere. We’re reducing the depth of its functionality, but increasing the breadth of its reach. It’ll be less about managing tasks and more about getting consistent accurate feedback and bug reports. Instead of being tied to our task board, you’ll be able to send your feedback just about anywhere. Instead of just being about web, we’ll be getting feedback from mobile, desktop, web and just about anywhere else you can think of. We’ll be putting context into bug reports, and helping you fix things faster…. and of course, it works marvellously with Stack. 

The new BugHerd will be open to beta testers in the coming weeks. If you’re not already on the beta list, you can get on it now by signing up here:

 
 

Introducing Brief:

Some of BugHerd’s biggest fans aren’t our customers at all. They’re the clients of our customers. With the help of BugHerd, clients and stakeholders have had a voice on digital projects for the first time. Unfortunately, BugHerd was not originally designed with that workflow in mind. Whilst it does a good job, it isn’t the best workflow. 

Whilst most users get up and running without a problem, some of the less technically inclined have had difficulties. We realise we need to make it even easier to give feedback. Not only that, but we need to engage those users earlier in the process. As one of our customers told us, “by the time we get to the build, all the discussions have already happened”. We want to give stakeholders a voice, and not just during QA, but across the entire project. If you’re an agency customer, we’re keen to hear from you as we continue to develop Brief. 

 



We realise that the thousands of users that currently pay for BugHerd may not be ready to move to our new products just yet, so we won’t be asking anybody to switch over as part of this launch. We’ll also keep supporting the old app for the foreseeable future, so there’s no need to feel abandoned! We of course hope that you’ll give the new suite of tools a try and switch if you feel that it’s an improvement and if you need help to transition we’ll be here to help you out. 

If you have any questions or want to be involved with testing and feedback you can always get in touch with us at support@bugherd.com and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Thanks for reading,

Alan - Founder and CEO of BugHerd


Why Are You Ignoring Customers? 5 Reasons Why You Need Social Media

You've spent countless days and many a sleepless hour coding your brand new app to perfection - but have you given any thought to your social media? Maybe you think that it's a bit of time waste or something that other larger companies have?

Social Media is becoming more and more of an integral part of your business plan, and when done right, can be an efficient and low-cost way to attract new customers and engage with an active community - but maybe the boss isn't quite as convinced?

Here's my Top 5 reasons why you need to ensure your start-up has a social media presence:

 

Twitter_logo_blue.png

1. It's where your customers are

It seems obvious, but it bears repeating. It's why toy companies advertise when the Saturday morning cartoons are on and why beer and fast food companies advertise during the football. You should be where your customers are. You don't have to be on every single social media platform out there, but with a little bit of research and customer knowledge, you'll be able to pick a couple of social media networks worth spending time on.

 

2. It doesn't have to cost the earth

Paid advertising can be a pretty costly experiment for new companies, but getting your social media presence established can be done for next to nothing. All the social media channels worth being on are free to join. I admit, it may take a little bit of time to get started up initially, but it should be much easier as time goes on.

3. Social Media humanises your company

It's easy for us to forget that sometimes that there are people behind even the biggest brands. Social media allows us to talk a little more freely and openly with fans. It's a good chance to drop all the marketing-jargon and talk openly and honestly with your community - if you do it right, they'll love you for it, which will only help increase customer loyalty and heighten engagement, making them more likely to stick around.

 

4. It can help grow other parts of your business

You've set up a Twitter account and Facebook page for your company, but that doesn't mean the job is done - think about other ways that you can use social media to help other teams. One example is Customer Support - many companies have quite successful customer support teams that operate purely with social media as their point-of-contact for their customers. Or maybe your sales team can leverage it? Or maybe your dev want to test out some ideas of what features your customers may want to see?

Making the customer feel like you can be contacted any time for help or feedback on a platform that they're already using helps your business and your customers and we we know, happy customers are paying customers.

5. You can network with your industry peers

The best thing about establishing a social media plan is that you don't have to do it alone. You'd be surprised the number of people involved with social media who are willing to help you with building a media plan, as well as giving you advice on your business in general. Take this post for example! Every company that you see on social media had to start somewhere, and a lot of teams are more than willing to help out - there's no need to reinvent the wheel every time.

Hopefully as your community grows, you'll be able to employ someone else to look after this function (or even outsource it to some professionals), but just because you're a cash-strapped start-up, it doesn't mean you should miss out - there's no reason why everyone can't have their social media say!

 

Will facebook or twitter even work on that computer?

Will facebook or twitter even work on that computer?

WIN - "Peek into the Valley" Competition

Wish you could rub shoulders with some of the top execs from some of the best tech companies in San Francisco? All while staying in lush accommodation and getting chauffeured around in style? Sound awesome?

Well it's lucky for you that we've been doing some great work with General Assembly, and now with our help (and a few other fantastic partners), they want to offer the chance to send one lucky person and a guest to San Francisco!

You’ll be sent to one-on-one meetings with some top tech execs and be given personal tours of each company’s campus, including Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Chegg, and Y Combinator, staying in luxury accommodations at Hotel Zetta. To help you get around, we're also throwing in $1000 (USD) credit with Uber

To enter the Peek In The Valley competition, simply head over to the General Assembly contest page before September 8th, enter your details and click "Enter To Win"!

Meet Kyreena - BugHerd Web Designer

Kyreena Hay

 

We'd like to introduce you to Kyreena Hay. She's recently moved to Melbourne from New Zealand in search of a creative place to further her career and find great coffee. We think she's a great fit for BugHerd as we grow and we're confident we know a good coffee when we taste one! What kind of Melbournians would we be otherwise? Anyway we digress. Meet Kyreena ...

 


So you're from New Zealand, is that the whole story?

The "where are you from" question always catches me off-guard, as it's not a straight-forward answer. I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and lived there until I was 15, when I moved to New Zealand to live. New Zealand is where I've lived the past 11 years (I joked about keeping up the 15 year track record, but I got impatient), most of it in a small town called Hamilton.

How long have you been in the web/tech industry?

I finished university in 2009 and got my first industry job then, though I had been freelancing while I studied - so around 6 or 7 years now!

What do you enjoy the most about the web/tech industry?

The people, and the work environments. The people who work in this industry are exactly the kind of people I like being around; smart, geeky, and passionate about what they do. And we don't need to do things like wear suits or work in cubicles with a rigid 9-5 work day. 

There's actually nothing I don't like about it! I don't even have any juicy horror client stories. This could be because I believe that establishing a relationship of respect and professionalism - as well as solid client education - from the get go is key to avoiding pitfalls later on.

What industry sites do you like to cruise or recommend others read?

Smashing Magazine is really great; though I've out-grown much of what they post about and largely just keep up to date through email subscriptions to Web Design Weekly, CSS Weekly, HTML Weekly, and industry contributors on Medium.

What would you be doing is 'Web Designer' wasn't a thing?

You know, I think I kind of exhausted all of the possibilities and have really found where I'm meant to be. However, if UX, Web Design, and Front-end Development all suddenly disappeared tomorrow, I'd either re-study in some human behavioural sciences type thing, or attempt to pay my bills as an Illustrator.

Tell us more about being an Illustrator (go on ... give yourself a cheeky plug)?

I sell my artwork on Society6 and have a fan page for keeping up with what I'm doing here

I'm quite proud of the fact that I have a nice little fan base for the illustration work I do. It's my main life achievement. Just a pity inspiration rarely strikes so I have a very small body of work

Now for the most important question ... Cats or Dogs?

I love both dogs and cats, but cats are far less maintenance than dogs. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to actually commit to looking after another living organism beyond some pats and putting food in a bowl.

Great coffee is important, so that rules out most of the world bar Melbourne
— Kyreena Hay, Web Designer, sometime UX, UI and Front-end Developer.

... We suggest you invest in a plastic plant Kyreena!

You can connect with Kyreena on Twitter @kyreena with your suggestions of great coffee to try elsewhere in the world ... as long as you don't promise to lure her there for work! ;)

BlueChilli - on open and honest client communication via BugHerd.

BlueChilli™ have been customers and avid fans of BugHerd for more than 2.5 years … in Startup years that’s like 1 million! We had a chat with Tony Burrett the COO of BlueChilli to find out a bit on their development processes and how BugHerd fits in.


BlueChilli is all about developing web products, where does BugHerd fit in?

BugHerd is essential to the way we manage digital production. At any one time we have up to 18 projects all in different stages of development, and BugHerd is the only tool we use to track and record issues from start to finish. Almost anything that's done on a project is recorded and tracked within BugHerd.  

Is there a particular stage of the process you find the greatest value in BugHerd?

We use BugHerd all the way through the process and as most users would know it really comes into its own when a client is providing feedback and UAT on a website nearing completion. 

One way we use BugHerd differently from many others is that we provide our clients full member access so that they have complete transparency over the entire development process. As their project goes forward the client can see exactly what progress we are making on a project. It keeps our communication open and honest across our entire team and our clients.  

Your clients range from Startups to large Corporate clients, do you find BugHerd more suitable for one or the other?

Not really. we find that clients, whether they be corporate or startups, tend to learn BugHerd rather more quickly than other tools. There’s rarely an issue getting them to work with BugHerd. At the end of the day the fact that they can simply point and click on their product to create an issue and say “this is not right, can you fix that”, that’s where BugHerd comes into its own.

We’ve actually created a guide for our clients on “How to create a good bug”, we’ve found it to be really helpful to give to both corporate and startup founders. That combined with BugHerd’s digital interface we find works really well.

Any improvements?

  • Allow for editing of comments, if you make a mistake in the comments we’d like to be able to go back and change it (BugHerd note: This update is coming!)
  • A better dashboard. We have a lot of projects and currently it’s a bit of a burden to check on each project individually. A view of our inactive bugs within this would also be great for our project managers, then we can see if a particular project has stalled and needs a push.  (BugHerd note: This one is also something we’re working on)
  • Better control over the notifications. Sometimes it’s easy to get a bit lost in them all. It would be good to be able to turn these on and off as we need.  (BugHerd note: 3 for 3! This is also happening)

 

A simple and contextual issue tracker. We love it and our clients love it.
— Tony Burrett, COO BlueChilli
Tony Burrett

BlueChilli™ is a technology and software development company that creates online web applications and invests the software development in online start-ups – an investment strategy called Venture Technology.

The company was founded by Sydney based weapons engineer Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin who left a ten year career in the Navy to pursue his passion in working with startups. Eckersley-Maslin leads an agile team of software engineers, web developers, graphic designers and business gurus who are experienced in the rapid delivery and marketing of online businesses. The BlueChilli™ team is complemented by marketing, SEO, SEM and video production affiliations who promote each new business.

The key advantage of a Venture Technology partnership with BlueChilli is that the investment is the software development and the development team are embedded in the start-up. Any raised capital can therefore be used in marketing, a strategy which ultimately results in faster growth.


Raygun error reporting integrates with BugHerd

Raygun is an error and crash reporting service like Airbrake, Exceptional and Honeybadger that helps developers discover and resolve software bugs. It notifies you when errors occur in your app with intelligent grouping and the complete stack trace in real time. Whether your code is running in a data center or on mobile devices, Raygun gives you the data you need to fix the bug.

So why integrate with BugHerd?

The folks at Raygun recognised that although their app allows developers to automatically find and track errors in their applications, it lacked ability to link client and end user feedback to existing issues (or create new ones).  The integration allows for a more comprehensive way to manage software errors, fix things quickly and track any changes collaboratively.

Keen to try it out? 

You can find instructions on how to set-up the integration here or if you're ready to dive in headfirst then check out the integrations page

 

Raygun application settings dashboard

Raygun application settings dashboard

BugHerd squashes 1 million bugs!

More than 3000 companies have squashed 1 million bugs using BugHerd!


ONE MILLION BUGS!

Yes we say that with an impersonation of Dr Evil not only because it’s hilarious but it also reflects our ongoing pursuit of world domination to SQUASH ALL THE BUGS!

Before we go completely off the rails with megalomania, for those new to BugHerd: we’re a web based bug and issue tracking system that developers and designers absolutely love using with clients to collect feedback on web projects. With a simple point and click a user can provide a full contextual bug report which provides handy information to the end user including things like OS, browser, screenshot and full selector data. 

 

BugHerd bug tracker

 

Over the past three years we’ve expanded, with the help of a dedicated fanbase, from home grown Aussie Startup to a recognised and recommended Bug Tracker used by devs and designers in every continent bar Antarctica. 

So we’d like to say thanks! Thanks to all the early users who put up with us through initial testing phases. Thanks to everyone who provided us with feedback (good and bad it’s all appreciated) and thanks to those of you who continually give us kudos on social media and write astonishingly great reviews. 

 

Thanks and cheers! Here’s to …

 

“One BILLION bugs!”

How Thoughtbubble reduced their feedback loop by 60%.

We’re such happy little vegemites to be able to work with such amazing customers from around the globe. We track bugs and collect client feedback from every continent except Antarctica (Looking at you Mcurdo Station!). It’s pretty cool!

 

We had a chat to James from Thoughtbubble in sunny London about how BugHerd has helped improve team communication and the development process.


What made you adopt BugHerd?

We came across BugHerd through our company PMs, who were tasked to find a new way of communicating across our growing workforce. We listed and tested quite a few different online tools and BugHerd stood out from the other online bug/feedback testing systems. So much so, that we adopted it immediately and turned off our own (home grown) system that we’d been using for over ten years!

You mentioned that BugHerd has helped improve communication?

We have three layers of development: our internal servers (on which we build), our DEV layer (staging for clients to view and feedback) and our LIVE servers (where we, erm, host our live sites, duh).  Initially we set BugHerd on a couple of our internal servers, so the PMs could communicate with the design, production and development teams. Very rapidly we saw that this was cutting down our feedback cycle so rapidly that we rolled it out across the company. 

Next, we invited our clients as guests on the DEV platforms to start giving us feedback. Again we found that this reduced our feedback cycle so much we were finding ourselves beating key deadlines in our schedules!

Our next step was to use BugHerd in conjunction with a wire-frame site (and linked JPGs) effectively taking a flat visual and allowing for mark-up on layout, navigation, feature expectations and even content.

How does using BugHerd make your life easier?

It’s made our Project Managers life so much easier; as instead of having to take screen grabs and mark them up, or write long emails or tasks that can (and have) been open to misunderstandings, we simply select, say and save. The fact that there’s also a screen grab (to refer back to), a way to discuss items, prioritise them and a log of actions are all gravy.  

Our clients are loving it too, as they also used to screen grab, or write up copious notes and then email them to the PMs, who would then have to extrapolate the details, bugs, requests and sort, list and relay them back to the teams. Seriously this aspect alone has saved us two thirds of the usual time involved in the process of feedback and bug testing.

Any big projects that our app has been integral to?

The London International Awards (LIAs) new website and this year’s entry systems have used BugHerd exclusively across the build and bug cycles.

BugHerd was used on the development stage of The Gunn Report website has just been updated with the latest Showcase of the Year content and some new features. 

Cannes Lions are currently using it for this year’s Lions Festival.

How can we improve?

Sometimes we have between three and over ten testers from a client looking at a development site and we’ve found that bugs are duplicated a lot, so we’d suggest: Guest Teams - where guests can be grouped into a team (by the project owner) so they can see each other’s bugs. They would have a ‘view’ on the BugHerd website with two columns: Open and Closed (drag and drop between them), where they could search on tags.

BugHerd note: This one is due to launch with our next update! 

Or course, we could simply give the client’s PM a normal Team member login, but then they would be privy to all our internal conversations, unless we simply had a internal/external toggle on comments – so that ‘internal’ teams members would see internal comments.

BugHerd note: internal comments are coming

The ability to group teams into departments (design, development, sys admins, etc.) with team members assigned to these groups. Allocation of a task could be given to direct team members (as currently it can) or dropped into a ‘department’ where all team members can see it and/or allocate to individuals as per usual, or Department Head can allocate, etc.

BugHerd note: We are kind of solving this with multiple boards (i.e. a marketing board, dev board, design board).... not planning on having "groups" as such at this stage.
 
Overview - Somewhere where all outstanding tasks/bugs; can be viewed (most of our teams work on multiple projects at once and there’s no real way of seeing all their allocated outstanding bugs).

BugHerd note: We're considering this

A way of flagging and/or highlighting inbound (waiting) feedback at a glance: again, as PMs we run various projects at once and it would be good to see (maybe as a flagged Project nav item – with a sup number eg: Project 1(12)) so we know where to ‘go’ first.

BugHerd note: We're considering this too! Thanks for your great feedback!


With BugHerd our feedback cycle time has been so significantly reduced we can’t imagine the process of feedback and bug testing without it.
— James - Thoughtbubble

About Thoughtbubble

 

James from Thoughtbubble

James from Thoughtbubble

Thoughtbubble is a London (UK) based web agency, founded in 1997. Originally a full service agency they currently focus on web services to become the world’s leading online award entry system providers.

Some of Thoughtbubble’s clients include, the Radio Academy Awards, the Hollywood Reporter Key Arts, Promax, Aperture Magazine Awards, the UK National Lottery Good Causes and the World Press Awards. 

However, their main client focus is on the world of Advertising to whom they offer a full service range, hosting them, designing and building their websites, and even their back office systems. Clients include, Cannes Lions, Eurobest, Dubai Lynx, Spikes Asia, the Clio Awards, London International Awards (LIA), the Golden Drum, the British Arrows, the Creative Circle, the ADC Young Guns, the Young Creative Network, the Global Effie’s, the IPAs, the Gunn Report and many others

Customise your Public Feedback tab.

As you know, when using BugHerd to collect public feedback, we embed a little "Send Feedback" tab into the page. There is a cool little trick that you might not know though: the tab can be completely customised by essentially creating your own and invoking the click action yourself. Here's some nifty ways of customising it to your own requirements.

Move the TAB to the left. 

If you'd like to simply have the tab on the left hand side of the screen rather than on the right, you just add this line:

 

<script type="text/javascript">

var BugHerdConfig = {"feedback":{"tab_position":"bottom-left"}};

(function (d, t) {
var bh = d.createElement(t), s = d.getElementsByTagName(t)[0];
bh.type = 'text/javascript';
bh.src = '//www.bugherd.com/sidebarv2.js?apikey=YOUR-API-KEY-HERE';
s.parentNode.insertBefore(bh, s);
})(document, 'script');
</script>

 

So, here’s how to go about some more in depth customisations:

Step 1: Hide the built-in tab

Add the following line of code in the BugHerd script tag to stop the normal "Send Feedback" tab from appearing:

 

<script type="text/javascript">

var BugHerdConfig = {"feedback":{"hide":true}};

(function (d, t) {
var bh = d.createElement(t), s = d.getElementsByTagName(t)[0];
bh.type = 'text/javascript';
bh.src = '//www.bugherd.com/sidebarv2.js?apikey=YOUR-API-KEY-HERE';
s.parentNode.insertBefore(bh, s);
})(document, 'script');
</script>

 

Step 2: Attach the event to your own element

In your site's HTML, you can add the event that makes the bug reporting options to appear to any DOM element. Of course you can get as fancy as you like with this:

 

<a id="my_feedback" onclick="_bugHerd.win.bugherd.applicationView.anonymousbar.toggleOptions()">Send Feedback</a>

 

Step 3: Hide your tab when user is logged into BugHerd

This is an optional, but very handy step, as your send feedback link will not work if your site visitor is logged in and can see the sidebar. It is assumed that you would want them to use the sidebar in this case so don't show them your own "Send Feedback" widget.

 

<script type="text/javascript">
function check_bugherd_login() {
if (typeof(_bugHerd) != 'undefined' && typeof(_bugHerd.win) != 'undefined' && typeof(_bugHerd.win.bugherd) != 'undefined' && typeof(_bugHerd.win.bugherd.applicationModel) != 'undefined') {
if (_bugHerd.win.bugherd.applicationModel.getUser() != null) {
document.getElementById('my_feedback').style.display = 'none';
}
} else {
setTimeout(check_bugherd_login, 1000);
}
}
check_bugherd_login();
</script>

 

Bonus Tip: Customising the widget text

So, let’s say you want to let your client know that their feedback is "verstuurd” instead of “sent”, then here’s the list of displayed text for you to edit.

 

<script type="text/javascript">
var BugHerdConfig = {
feedback: {
tab_text: "Send feedback",
option_title_text: "Choose an option",
option_pin_text: "I have feedback regarding a specific part of this page.",
option_site_text: "I have feedback regarding this page or site as a whole.",
pin_instruction_text: "Hover over page elements to highlight them, then click to create an annotation.",
feedback_entry_placeholder: "write a comment or describe a problem",
feedback_email_placeholder: "your email address",
feedback_submit_text: "send feedback",
confirm_success_text: "Your feedback was sent.",
confirm_loading_text: "Sending feedback.",
confirm_close_text: "close",
confirm_error_text: "Sending feedback was unsuccessful.",
confirm_retry_text: "Try again",
confirm_extension_text: "Did you know you can send a screenshot with your bug reports?",
confirm_extension_link_text: "Find out how.",
}
};

(function (d, t) {
var bh = d.createElement(t), s = d.getElementsByTagName(t)[0];
bh.type = 'text/javascript';
bh.src = '//www.bugherd.com/sidebarv2.js?apikey=YOUR-API-KEY-HERE';
s.parentNode.insertBefore(bh, s);
})(document, 'script');
</script>

 

There's an hilarious document in our Knowledge Base that can help you change it to an "Australian" version if you dare :)

Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us to get any help with your specific needs! @bugherd

Why we all got Slack (and loved it)

Slack Application

 

As company that builds apps to improve productivity, we're always on the look out for tools to improve our own workflow.

We try out our competitors products, we try out new gadgets and we love experimenting at tweaking our processes. Sometimes those products stick, and sometimes they don't. HipChat was one tool we used that managed to sneak it's way under the radar into our communication process.

 

For us, the best part of HipChat was actually not the chat, but the stream of useful data from other sources. When integrated with Github, Zapier, Twitter and a few of our other tools, it easily brought all of our communication into one place. We even had our CI test results imported into their own channel (complete with animated GIFS of our automated browser tests!).

HipChat wasn't without its issues though. In our opinion, it's not the nicest looking tool, and some core features like search were clunky to use. We're big fans of good design and UX so the moment we saw Slack we knew it was a worthy competitor to HipChat. As most of the BugHerd team are also gamers, the backstory of Tiny Speck (the developers of Slack and Glitch) was intriguing to us. We had to know more!

So, a few of us tried it out one morning, and within an hour we had the entire team switched over, our HipChat history imported and all our feeds up and running. How's that for successful onboarding! One less technically minded team member summed it up nicely with a "Hey, this does everything the other one does, but it looks sexier!"

 

Bottom line is, the team at Slack have done what all innovators need to do. They looked at the space, understood what was working and what wasn't and saw an opportunity to create value in ways the incumbents hadn't, a philosophy after our own hearts.

Out of the box, the way Slack handles search, files, documents and discussions is so far ahead of HipChat, it's quite amazing. It's team chat, with a side of Basecamp ... and it works!

Most of the team were happy to jump across straight away. We did have one hold-out who wanted to remain with HipChat, but we deleted his account and that pretty much solved that. 

Tableflip

Of course, it's not all sunshine and lollipops. Our favourite (tableflip) emoticon isn't there, and the emotes that are there are more Apple than they are Reddit. You also need a magnifying glass to see them clearly without zooming in. It sounds like a minor quibble, but if you were to ever meet our team you'd understand (mindblown), (firstworldproblems) and (itsatrap) are core conversational elements. Slack is perhaps just a little too candy flavoured in some regards.

HipChat also does a good job of condensing the on-screen messages so that more of the conversation can be followed across one screen. Slack's minimal mode does address this issue though it means you miss out on some of the visual appeal. 

After a few weeks of settling into using Slack when the team was asked to share thoughts on the change from Hipchat a universal response was that Slack is more reliable, has more features they actually use and the emoticons need work. All things considered, we're likely to stick with a product that keeps continuing to improve our workflow and we're happy to stay Slackers right now.

If you're wondering, this isn't a paid promotion for Slack. We simply like to share with our BugHerding family when we come across a great product!

BugHerd note : The Slack help centre has some handy info to setup the programmable bot which solves our missing emoticons.

 

Some Commonly Asked Questions

Whether you’re a brand new BugHerder, or you've been tracking bugs with us for years, there’s a common theme to some questions that pop-up from all customers. Whilst we're continuously on the look out for ways to streamline your development process, it’s easy to forget some of the fundamentals. So without further ado here are answers to our most commonly asked questions.


My Task Board is way too busy, I only care about tasks directly involving me.

Well okay, not exactly a question, but it comes up all the time. Sorting through the Task Board is actually super easy! There’s a few ways to sort through bug reports, especially when you're working as part of a large team. 

The best way to sort for your bugs is simply to click your user icon in the Members section - this will display the bugs with your name on it. The same functionality works in all the sections below it too. Are you looking for all the bugs submitted by one of your Guests in particular? Click their name to display their submitted tickets! Need to find only bugs with a particular tag on it? Click one of the tags in the Tag section.

 

Search by user

Search by user

The Search Bar also operates in a similar fashion - click the search bar and start typing to search via text, or pause to see a number of options that you search directly with. For more info on how to search for tasks head here

Hey, why don’t you provide integration with Product XYZ? 

In a perfect world, everything would integrate with everything. However sadly it’s not the case - not all tools offer the API that allows us to offer integration at a level of quality we're happy with. Some integrations and some services have such a small user base that in the Venn diagram of "BugHerd Users" and "XYZ Users", the overlap is unfortunately too small for us to justify devoting time to. 

 

A popular way around this is using other apps to help close the gap - there are many automation services that specialise in this, and do a great job at it! Around the BugHerd office, we like to use Zapier and find that it covers nearly all our needs. They have hundreds of automation options to utilise - and it also offers some pretty economical account options too. 

Oh no! The person who created the account left the company!

As much as we love our co-workers, they sometimes have a habit of leaving us, which can cause problems when various paid services are in their name. BugHerd requires there to be a “Creator” title on all accounts, as both a contact point for us, and someone who has full control over all aspects of the account.  If your Creator has left, just email our Support team, let us know which person on your account will be the new Creator, and we’ll take care of the rest!

My credit card was declined, even though all the details I entered are correct!

This is a pretty common thing amongst people who don’t live in Australia who don’t make many large purchases from overseas companies. BugHerd is an Australian company based in Melbourne, Victoria, meaning that for a lot of our Herders across the pond, some financial institutions can get a bit trigger-happy when it comes to what they deem 'unusual overseas transactions.' 

We understand it can be annoying. It’s easy fixed though - if your payment gets rejected without a very descriptive error, it's probably for this reason, so just call up your card issuer and confirm that it’s a legitimate transaction and they’ll add it to their approved list. Attempt the payment again and it should be fine!

I have a question that I need answered NOW.

 

We pride ourselves on giving top notch customer support, we understand there are times where waiting even a couple of minutes can really kill your bug-squashing mojo. If you’ve got a question that needs answering sooner rather than later, we have a few options. We’re on most social media platforms, especially Twitter (@BugHerd), feel free to tweet us and if it’s something we can answer in 140 characters, we’ll do it. We’re also on Facebook and Google+ if you prefer those flavours of social media. But even better than that is our Knowledge Base, which contains a number of detailed answers to getting the most of our BugHerd.

I really love BugHerd, but I have a suggestion on how to improve it...

We’re always looking for ways to improve BugHerd!

 

We’re currently in the middle of working on some pretty huge updates for release later in the year. If there’s a few glaring omissions you feel we’re missing, or maybe a feature just doesn’t quite work how you thought it would, we have a special Uservoice page set up for just this reason. It’s monitored by the BugHerd team and we’ve made a number of changes and improvements suggested from this page. It’s also a good way to see how other people use BugHerd and other people can vote for your ideas, and you can vote on their ideas too!

As you can see we're pretty keen to find out what makes our BugHerding family tick and to help wherever we can so don't be afraid to let us know your thoughts.

Featured client - Kiwi Digital Creative

Kiwi Digital Creative is a small but mighty digital agency specialising in websites, web applications, mobile apps and creative digital projects. We spoke with Phil Benoit from KiwiDC about how BugHerd fits into their web project management process.

BugHerd and web project management - 

BugHerd fits in with our project management processes right from the start. When the work is scheduled to start I fire up a Virtual Private Server in the cloud, one for each client. I then create a project in BitBucket and add the new project into BugHerd. For all of my staging environments I provide a basic introduction about the project, along with project updates, links to templates and the Content Management System site, and provide a short intro to BugHerd and link to the How to Guides section of the BugHerd site.

While I am building out the wireframes or designs I am often logging bugs and feature improvements for myself into the project. It’s great that I can keep all issues or improvements relating to the code in one place. As more and more projects come in and I start expanding my team, I know I can add more users, invite more guests and generally get a more accurate appreciation of the project's quality. 

On using BugHerd with clients - 

I generally have a rule when giving my customers something to use, “Can my mum use it?” If it's too much effort or it's too time consuming to use correctly you're not getting the whole picture. Everything must be simple and easy to use, BugHerd fits that requirement. 

 

Bug reporting in BugHerd

When I open up the server for client review I often get one or two bugs with "testing" or "this is fun" written in. My clients really like using the product and in turn I get a really good appreciation of the environment they are using for testing. 

 

I used to work in a large agency in London where we had a different bug tracker. Almost every bug report required you to follow up with a request for more details, either about location of the issue on the page, the testing environment or something else that BugHerd already provides for me out of the box.  

“BugHerd is great for providing bug reports with accurate and relevant information that other bug trackers just don’t provide out of the box.”
— Phil Benoit - KiwiDC

Get started on Search Engine Optimisation.

Search engine optimisation

It’s no secret that Search Engine Optimisation takes time, a fair amount of effort and quite a bit of technical know-how. Fast growth and acquisition is often a key focus of online start-ups, to get as many customers as possible in a quick amount of time. SEO in the beginning is almost counter intuitive to this. It’s like trying to light a fire with a log instead of twigs … it takes a lot more time to generate visitors than simply paying for them outright via pay per click.

For BugHerd, organic search visitors convert to a trial faster than any others and they have a higher percentage of conversions than from any other source. It made obvious sense to focus on growing these valuable site visitors.

Upon analysis of competitor sites, it appeared there was something lacking in most direct bug tracking competitors. Evidence of SEO.  Far from being start-ups themselves, some of these competitors are well established juggernauts in the industry yet it appears that little effort has been put into establishing and/or maintaining growth of search.

Don’t tell my boss I said this, but there are a lot of really easy things to be done to increase SEO that don’t require a Marketing genius. Simple activities can go a long way to increasing rankings without requiring any more resource than time. It can be pretty darn rewarding to see what happens when a little effort is put into optimisation. Though many efforts may seem small and trivial, when put together they can make a BIG difference, kind of like that stick/log analogy earlier.

A good place to start is some good old keyword research. Start a spreadsheet to compile your findings and look at your own site’s words … Which ones are repeated the most? Which ones provide the most visitors? Which ones convert those visitors the most? There are a number of tools to help you, I really like the WordTracker Scout browser extension for on-page keyword analysis

 

WordTracker Scout

WordTracker Scout

Check out your competitors. What’s in their HTML Title tags? What’s their meta description? Have they accidentally gone and given you all their keywords by providing meta keywords (note: These have no bearing on Google rankings any more)? What do they have in their image alt-text? What words appear most frequently on their pages? Personally I like using the SEO Site Tools extension to help me out with this info. 

 

SEO Site Tools

SEO Site Tools

Don’t forget to look at your paid keywords that are driving visitors and conversions, are they reflected within your site content? 

By now you should have a handy spreadsheet that looks a little something like this:

 

You didn’t think I’d actually give you my hard earned keyword list did you?

You didn’t think I’d actually give you my hard earned keyword list did you?

The hardest part is choosing which ones to try and rank competitively for. Search is competitive and if it were easy to rank number one for “low interest credit card” it wouldn’t cost a fortune in SEO and paid search dollars to appear on the first page … seriously when you have a chance check out how competitive THAT market is. I thought bug tracking was busy!

Ideally you want to find that sweet spot between high traffic and low competition words to start with. I use a combination of the MOZ keyword difficulty tool and Google Adwords keyword planner to work out which words are the best to tackle and for giving new keyword ideas. 

Without giving away too much of a trade secret, we found that the though term “bug reporting” yields a lot of visitors it is extremely competitive and a lot harder to rank for than the term “bug reports.” 

So you’ve got a list of keywords, you need to optimise your site for the terms you want to rank for. It’s not simply enough any more to shove them all into your title tags, meta descriptions, H1s and alt-texts, in fact too much of this and you may even become blacklisted for certain terms (if they don’t match your on-page content). Keep them nearby, use them organically within your blog posts and page content. Sure, optimise your page elements but ensure they make sense within the context of the page and you’ll see your rankings start to improve. 

Of course, I recognise that SEO isn’t just about keywords, this is just one element I assumed competitors would have nailed when I investigated. Turns out plenty were still rubbing two twigs together in the dark … there’s plenty of opportunity for small companies and start-ups to enter the search market competitively.

Though SEO takes time to generate visitor growth and to research optimisations, there’s no real argument to not go ahead and get started. These are just some of the tools to achieve higher rankings and once you start seeing improvements trust me, it’s addictive finding more ways to improve (there’s a whole 200 signals Google look for!). Maybe then it will be necessary to hire that Marketing genius to take over.

It's a BugHerd Job Explosion!

BugHerd is a rapidly growing startup based in Melbourne, Australia. We love working with people as passionate about the web as we are. Right now we're looking for a UX and Development roles. Obsessed with developing Javascript applications the right way? Love designing scalable web applications? Live and breath UX?  Read on.

Why us

Passion: We believe passion is contagious. We all take pride in our work, work together on creative solutions and constantly learn new stuff.

Impact: Our software is used by thousands of companies worldwide. Being a small team anything you contribute will have a huge impact.

Flexibility: We don't have fixed work hours, we believe family comes first (and that pets are family too), we live and breath quality of life and know that working hard doesn't get measured in face time.

All roles are based in Melbourne, Australia

UX/Web Designer

BugHerd is looking for a world class product designer to help design the look, feel and functionality of our web and mobile applications. You will be tasked with creating elegant interfaces used by thousands of your industry peers. We strive for simplicity, clarity and an exceptional user experience across all of our products. The right candidate needs to have a strong understanding of user-centered design and a keen aesthetic eye.

Experience with responsive design across multiple devices is highly desirable. You will be expected to prototype concepts, test them with real users and iterate to final designs.

Front End Developer

We are looking for one or more skilled front-end developers to create the new suite of BugHerd applications. You will develop performant, scalable web applications using technologies such as Backbone and React. We pride ourselves on our implementation standards and application stability. We ship fast, but we only ship quality.

Back End Developer

We are looking for a skilled Rails engineer with a proven history of developing scalable, reliable applications and services. You will be developing applications which support thousands of concurrent users and APIs which service millions of requests. We're scaling quickly but need to always provide stability and reliability to our customers.

To apply, send an email to jobs@bugherd.com with relevant portfolio links or resume.

Use BugHerd to get visual feedback on wireframes

One of the most requested BugHerd features we get is the ability to receive customer feedback on wireframes, not just web feedback. Wireframes are really the first point in the design process where you have something tangible to show a customer or client. When you think about it, it's a perfect place to introduce BugHerd. The earlier you start the conversation, the less likely issues will arise later in the process.

This is something we're working on addressing, and you could say that this is a small step, even if we're not the ones doing it! 

Axure RP is a popular wireframe and prototyping tool used by UX professionals and project managers to present wireframes to their clients. It  turns designs into working HTML and javascript that allows you to interact with your mockups in a browser. You can host that HTML yourself or you can use their AxShare system to publish your projects online. If you haven't already joined the dots here, this makes it an obvious fit for BugHerd.

We have a lot of BugHerd users already using Axure for their mockups, so we thought we'd share some simple steps to get BugHerd running on your Axure mockups.

 

Axure Share projects

 

Step 1: In AxureShare, select the design project you'd like to get feedback on

 

AxureShare plugins

 

Step 2: Select "Plugins"

 

Axure Application new plugin

 

Step 3: Click "New Plugin"

 

Edit axure plugin BugHerd

 

Step 4: Add your BugHerd JS script (the same as you'd add to your HTML page)

 

Add Axure to BugHerd Bug Tracker

 

Step 5: Select which pages you'd like to add BugHerd to. Choose ALL and "add to new pages by default" to ensure you can feedback on all your pages.

 

Add BugHerd Bug tracker to Axure

 

Step 6: Start getting feedback on your designs! Too easy!