Bug reporting can be a tedious process. With so many eyes on the project, all with different perspectives and tasks, confusion and inconsistencies are sure to occur.
The best way to help streamline this process is by utilizing a well-organized bug reporting template. We’ll be sharing a few of these in this article.
2. Elements of a Great Bug Report
3. Advantages of Writing Accurate Bug Reports
We’ll also discuss how to write a good bug report, items that should be included in a bug report, the advantages of having an accurate bug report, and mistakes to avoid when tracking bugs.
Let’s get started.
How to Write a Bug Report
The purpose of a bug report is to document the problem you found in a way that allows the development team to find it and fix it.
When writing a bug report, you should keep it simple and concise. A good bug report is specific and reproducible.
Before you write a bug report, make sure you reproduce the bug yourself to ensure it truly exists. The last thing your dev team needs is to be searching for bug fixes that were just a one-time glitch.
Need a primer? Read What is a Bug Report? here
Elements of a Great Bug Report
So, what needs to be included in your bug report to keep your team members on track throughout the entire testing life cycle?
Here is our list of necessary elements:
You need to name your bug so that all who read it will clearly understand what it entails.
If the title isn’t descriptive enough or needs clarification, you can provide this through a brief summary if necessary.
This identification will also allow it to have a unique tag so that there is no confusion in issue tracking.
Many teams will give the bug not just a name but also a number to make identifying the bug just that much more simple.
We’re talking technical here, of course. The environment of the sample bug could include the hardware, browser, URL, or operating system you were using when you found the bug.
It could also include which account or app version the bug resides in and the metadata, such as what screen size or zoom level allows you to find the bug.
Bugs can be tricky. To track bugs effectively, you must be very specific in describing their environment. Change one element of a bug’s environment, and it may become invisible.
3. Steps to Reproduce
Similar to how you would draw a roadmap for a person looking to visit your home, you need to be able to reproduce the exact steps you took that brought you to the bug.
You can do this through screenshots of each step you took, highlighting the error that you encountered along the way.
This will allow the assignee, whether it be a tester, website developer, or quality assurance, to follow the yellow brick road directly to the bug you discovered.
4. Expected Result
Your bug report needs to explain the functionality you expected; what you wanted to happen. Then all will know the end goal.
For example, when you click on a button that says “learn more,” it should bring you to an article that explains the point in detail.
5. Actual Result
You also need to explain what actually happened clearly and how that differs from the expected result.
You’ve already given developers the end goal; now, they have a defined starting point to get them to their end goal.
Taking the same example of the “learn more” button, it may actually take you to a broken link. Fixing this broken link will realign it to the expected result.
6. Visual Proof
Explaining a bug with words can get really murky real fast. That is why finding a way to document this bug visually can do wonders.
Screenshots, videos, and images can greatly propel issue tracking
Need a refresher on how to take a screenshot?
For Mac users, find a tutorial here.
For Windows users, your tutorial is here.
Do you dislike the tedium of screenshots? Fast forward to an easier process by watching this video.
The developers will look at the severity of a bug and decide which priority it takes in the backlog, which means in what order it will be fixed.
Obviously, a bug that makes a program unusable will take precedence over a bug that simply looks less than pleasant.
But there may be several critical bugs that need to be fixed, and the order in which they will be fixed will depend on the priority the dev team gave.
Read this informative article for more clarification on the difference between the severity and priority of bugs.
When setting the severity of a bug on your report, they generally fall into one of three levels:
A critical bug is one that blocks app or website usage. Without fixing this bug, you are essentially stopping the project in its place.
These bugs need to be placed at the top of the list so due to the severity of the problem this bug creates.
Next on the list of priorities are bugs that can affect the user experience of the app or website.
Any good design will keep the user in mind. With that being said, many of the improvements in user experience can’t be completed or even identified without a user testing the design.
When a tester finds a process clunky or less optimal, a bug report can be written out for this finding.
These bugs would be considered medium priority level.
We are human, so we will all make mistakes.
Most of these minor mistakes include typos or simple blunders that can easily be fixed but will need a bug report written out nevertheless to ensure they are properly documented and fixed.
Visual and audio enhancement fall into this category as well.
Are you looking for a website annotation tool to identify areas to improve rather than to report broken items? Read How to Annotate a Web Page.
Advantages of Writing Accurate Bug Reports
Sure, you can haphazardly write a bug report or even do without but be warned; there will be a chaotic back and forth of emails trying to resolve each bug.
There are so many advantages to writing a complete and easy-to-follow bug report during your website QA that it just makes much more sense.
Here are the highlights:
Better Time Management
Good bug reporting can preemptively fix problems before they become critical. You have multiple eyes on the project that can catch more bugs early on.
Accurate reports and replies to the reports can speed up the website QA process exponentially. Every step of the process becomes much more efficient and time-saving.
The template keeps the bug data organized and compiled for easy access.
Onboarding is Easier
Having accurate bug reports also allows those just coming into the project to understand pain points and improvements throughout the project’s entire life.
The template logs the team’s tasks throughout the bug’s life cycle, creating an agile workflow process and breaking the bug fix down into manageable chunks.
No matter where that person is coming into the project, they can jump right in and get to work.
Focus and Productivity
Accurate bug reporting keeps the entire team updated in real time. It allows for the most critical issues to be resolved first.
With this efficient collaboration and communication, focus and productivity rates will be higher than ever.
Better User Experience
When accurate bug reporting is employed, no bugs will get through the cracks. This means that customers and visitors will enjoy a better experience with a bug-free site.
Mistakes to Avoid
When testing new features on a website, it’s important to avoid some common industry mistakes:
- Don’t include more than one bug per report. Each bug will require its own report for accurate tracking.
- Check bug logs before filing a report to avoid duplicates. Someone may have already experienced the same bug, which is in the process of being resolved.
- Make sure the bug is in the latest available build. If you aren’t using the most up-to-date version, your bug may have already been fixed in the latest update.
- State facts, not complaints. A bug report is not a gripe report. Keep personal feelings or opinions out of it.
- Only include bugs, not failures or defects. There is an entirely different process for a defect report. Learn more about the difference here.
- Don’t publicly flag privacy/security bugs. These are, by definition, “private” and should be kept secure. Here are some of the most common vulnerabilities to look out for.
Free Bug Report Templates
As promised, here is a list of several different templates you can use in your bug reporting process to help make things that much easier:
Smartsheet has several templates and forms that can be used in the bug reporting process. In fact, there are eight in total from all different types of programs.
This includes Excel, Word, Google Docs, PDF, and Google Sheets.
Spreadsheet is another source for a free bug reporting template. You can access this by signing up for a free account and downloading the template.
This template has a place for most of the elements we discussed in this article. Of course, you can add a column if you wish. It even includes a few tables and diagrams for added visual aid.
3. BugHerd (Hey, That’s Us!)
Not trying to toot our own horn but “toot, toot, y’all.”
When it comes to accurate bug reporting and templates, there is no better process than the one utilized in our program.
Our streamlined process takes all the guesswork and head-scratching out of bug reporting.
We have also created an amazing template for your team to use!
Keep reading to learn how the magic happens…
Use BugHerd And Skip the Confusion
Using BugHerd’s Bug Tracking System could potentially eliminate the need for reports altogether.
The program is so collaborative that it defuses any miscommunication blowups before they even begin.
You can’t get any more visual or succinct feedback than this.
BugHerd uses a sticky note-style feedback process. It’s a simple point-and-click program that is so user-friendly that even non-techies can feel confident commenting.
There is even an option to add video feedback for more complex bugs to simplify explanations.
And that metadata that can be hard for non-development teams to find? BugHerd lists all technical info for everyone to access.
BugHerd includes more than just communication between developer and client.
As we mentioned, BugHerd is a fully collaborative program that is easy to use.
Feel free to give access to designers, project managers, and anyone else involved in the website development process.
They will each have their own dashboard to add to, respond to, or view any new messages, tasks, or reports made. Many hands (and eyes) make the work light.
Of course, access can be limited for certain users. For example, clients don’t need to see all messages between developers.
BugHerd also makes it easier to understand the bug by attaching the metadata to each pinned feedback.
Developers will automatically be given the browsers, operating systems, exact URLs, and even screen resolution of the bugs reported.
Developers can also change due dates, set a severity, assign a bug, add comments, or attach additional files to your feedback and bug reports.
Save hours in the QA and UAT.
When it comes to testing, BugHerd can save you so much valuable time.
Whether you are conducting QA (quality assurance) or UAT (user acceptance testing), you can be confident that the process will be smooth and fast.
In fact, you can cut QA time by as much as 75% as proven by this case study.
Benefit from BugHerd’s customizable workflow.
Everyone has a different style of workflow, and BugHerd is designed to help every worker. There are many ways you can customize your BugHerd projects.
You can filter bugs, add custom fields to your kanban style project boards, and manage your email notifications.
You can make BugHerd work the way you work.
We fully support using integrations.
Here at BugHerd, we are fully devoted to making your work life easier. So, of course, we believe in integrations.
Here are some of the few we offer:
We aren’t done. We’re always looking for new apps and programs to integrate with. Got any requests for integrations we have yet to offer? We’d love to hear them!
There’s no doubt that even the best bug report can be difficult to write, read, and close, but a template can help streamline the QA process.
Better yet, why not skip the template and just jump right to the nitty gritty with BugHerd’s unique bug tracking tool and visual feedback software that makes this ambiguous process as clear as a bright sunny day?