Bugs are an inevitable part of software development. And while we can't completely avoid them, we can certainly minimize their impact. The first step in fixing a bug is reporting it accurately. In this article, we'll discuss how to write an effective bug report template, why using screen recording tools with video annotation can take your bug reporting to the next level, and best tips and tricks for effective bug reports.
What is a bug report?
A bug report is a document that outlines an error, defect, or malfunction in a software product. It serves as a communication channel between testers, developers, and product managers to ensure that the issue is understood, prioritized, and resolved. A well-written bug report should provide enough information to allow developers to reproduce the bug and fix it quickly.
How to write a bug report?
Writing a good bug report is an art in itself. Here are some essential components to include:
- Title: Your bug report should have a clear and concise title that reflects the problem you're reporting.
- Summary: A brief summary of the problem can help developers and product managers understand the issue quickly.
- Steps to reproduce: Describe the exact steps you took to encounter the bug and its rate of reproduction. Be sure to include any specific data or inputs you used.
- Expected result: What did you expect to happen when you performed the steps above?
- Actual result: What actually happened when you performed the steps above?
- Environment: Provide information about the version of the software where the defect was found and the environment in which the bug occurred. This includes the operating system, browser, version, device type, and any other relevant information.
- Severity: Indicate the severity of the bug, such as critical, major, minor, or trivial.
- Attachments: Screenshots, videos, log files, or any other relevant information which can help developers understand the problem better.
Best practices to an effective bug report
Now that you know what components to include, let's dive into the best practices for writing an effective bug report.
1. Provide context
Context is key to understanding a bug. Before writing a bug report, make sure you understand the functionality and purpose of the software product. This will help you identify whether the bug is a result of incorrect behaviour or a genuine defect. Providing context can also help developers and product managers prioritize the bug.
2. Be specific, concise, and clear
The more specific and clear you are, the easier it is for developers to understand and reproduce the bug. Use clear language, be concise, and avoid technical jargon and unnecessary details whenever possible. When writing the steps to reproduce, include every detail that might be relevant, such as the specific browser version, operating system, input data, and any other specific software configuration.
3. Use a consistent format
Using a consistent format for your bug reports can help developers quickly identify the relevant information. As mentioned earlier, the components of a bug report should include a title, summary, steps to reproduce, expected result, actual result, environment, severity, and attachments. By sticking to this format, you can help developers identify and resolve the bug quickly.
4. Be objective
When writing a bug report, it's essential to remain objective. Avoid using emotional language or personal opinions. Stick to the facts and be specific about the problem you're reporting. This can help developers focus on the issue at hand and avoid distractions.
5. Attach screenshots, videos, and files
As a best practice to help your team understand and visualize defects, add screenshots, files, or screen recordings. This reduces misunderstandings and eliminates any room for interpretation.
The power of video
While text-based bug reports are a great start, they can be limited in providing context and capturing the complete experience of the bug. This is where screen recording tools with video annotation come in.
- You can capture the exact steps you took to reproduce the bug, along with any error messages or unexpected behaviour.
- Video annotation takes this one step further by allowing you to add comments, highlight areas of the screen, and be precise of what's going on.
- Using screen recording tools can help developers understand the bug better, as they can see it in action.
- It can also reduce the back and forth communication between testers and developers. You can show them exactly what's going on, which can help them diagnose and fix the problem faster.
Overall, using screen recording tools when reporting a bug can help you communicate bugs more effectively, provide better context, and reduce the back and forth communication between testers and developers. This in turn will lead to bugs being resolved more quickly for your software and your users.
Here’s how you can integrate video collaboration to your existing stack:
- With Slack: connect a Claap topic to a dedicated Slack channel. New recordings will be automatically pushed to Slack, so you can centralize conversations related to this bug.
- With Linear/Jira/GitHub: simply copy and paste the link of your claap video in the ticket. With our embed mode you can give more context directly in your ticketing solution.
PRO tip: using emojis in Slack or Labels in Claap to track status. For example, we use 👀 when we’re investigating and ✅ when a bug was added to Linear.
A Linear integration will be launched soon to help automate that.
Writing effective bug reports is essential for ensuring that software products are of the highest quality. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can write bug reports that are clear, concise, and effective. Remember to prioritize bugs based on severity, provide clear descriptions, include screenshots or videos, test thoroughly before reporting, and remain objective throughout the process. And don't forget to leverage screen recording tools with video annotation to take your bug reporting to the next level.