7 Signs of a Good Bug Report

By Chatty Garrate – Every software or website developer is no stranger to bug reports. They need it to ensure the mechanisms they create will function exactly how it’s supposed to be. Without a complete and adequately written bug report, a good mobile app user experience and seamless page loading speed become more of a challenge than a milestone.

What is a bug report?

A bug report is a comprehensive description of errors and glitches on a set of programs, a website, or an app. It gives developers an informative guide on what they can improve on to ensure they consistently meet user demands and deliver a commendable user experience.

Developers typically enlist the help of Quality Assurance (QA) specialists or testers. QAs plan, strategize and execute tests on programs and software. They also assist developers in analyzing and troubleshooting these errors.

QAs are expected to submit objective, concise, and accurate bug reports. They must possess keen attention to detail, knowledge of testing standards, and an understanding of the software’s key objectives.

In that regard, it’s time to delve into what makes an excellently written bug report.

Read: How Has Software Testing Changed Over the Years

What are the fundamentals of a good bug report?

An expertly composed report should answer essential questions such as:

  • -What is the error or problem encountered in the software?
  • -Where exactly was the error detected (in the website, app, or software)?
  • -What device (or in technical jargon, environment) was used when the error was discovered?
  • -What are some suggestions for enhancing the functionality?
  • -Are there any additional features in mind that will help boost user experience and prevent similar errors from recurring in the future?

If a bug report contains inconsistent and inaccurate information, it can cause further problems for the developers and to their intended end-users. Here are the key details of a reliable bug report:

Read: How to Test Your Mobile App for Bugs and Why Is It Important

1 – Title

The title indicates the exact detail of the error. It summarizes the entire report in such a way that developers instantly gain a clear idea of what the report is all about at first glance. It is advisable to assign a bug ID to the report because doing so makes it easier to pinpoint the flaw that needs fixing.

2 – Environment

The environment defines the device or browser where the bug was detected. Some apps may not be compatible with a device’s hardware and OS. Meanwhile, a website might require that a browser be updated to its latest version for the site’s features to fully function.

These are just some examples that showcase the importance of defining the type of environment in a bug report.

It is also crucial to specify which version of the testing software or app was used by the QA. If applicable, the type of internet connection used during the testing is also needed. The strength of the connection may affect how well software performs or a webpage loads.

Read: 3 Steps to perform API Testing

3 – Priority and Severity

Software bugs differ in terms of how these errors can affect the system as a whole. Hence, it would be extremely helpful to note whether the report is of critical importance or not. A critical priority means that the bug must be addressed and fixed immediately. Otherwise, it could result in a massive loss in revenue or a serious impairment to the project’s entire operations.

In some instances, the error can even pose a threat to user privacy. The said dilemma led to a variety of guidelines across social networking and video sharing sites. These so-called guidelines included topics, such as ‘how to secure your mobile’, and how to know if your app is bugged.

A medium priority would mean that the bug does not pose a serious threat to the software. Fixing the issue should follow once the more high-level discrepancies are resolved. A low-priority bug refers to minor errors and fixes on the software or website.

4 – How to Reproduce the Issue or Bug

Enumerate the different actions that triggered the bug or error. Make it as short, simple, and concise as possible. The steps allow developers to try and test the issue themselves, thereby giving them a clearer eye on how to fix it.

Here’s an example:

  • Step 1: Hover over the Insights tab>Click Analytics
  • Step 2: Choose the “Generate Weekly Chat Report” option

5 – Expected Outcome

What is the ideal result should the bug not exist, and the steps in reproducing the error were followed? What is the ideal user experience that the software should produce?

The developers need an exact description of the course of action to expect for them to gauge the severity of the error and determine whether its impact spells a serious risk or not. It will also help them retrace their steps and figure out where in the program could the bug have originated.

Read: 5 Best Programming Languages for Test Automation

6 – Actual Outcome

Using the example as a reference, did the software fail to generate the report asked by the user? Should the plug-in load swiftly and work seamlessly? Is there a call-to-action that must take place once the steps are completed? Did the software produce a report, yet Did the software produce a report, yet the file was not in the specified format or document?

7 – Screenshots

Screenshots of the error at the time it was detected serve as proof of how, where, and when the issue took place. Video clips, crash dump logs, and system logs are also much appreciated by developers because it lessens the time it takes for them to find the source of the issue.

Here’s an extra tip: Write one report per bug to avoid mixing any vital data or information. More importantly, it keeps things organized and allows the developers to segregate their tasks accordingly.

Learning more about the key role of detecting, reporting, and fixing software bugs is something worth the developers’ and target users’ time. Not only does it help users in understanding how certain programs and websites work, but it also enlightens the former on the essential details that make up an impressive user-friendly interface.


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