There were lots of reactions to my blog post Everything's broken and nobody's upset. Some folks immediately got the Louis CK "Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy" reference. Some folks thought it was a poorly worded rant. Some folks (from various companies) thought I was throwing developers under the bus, accusing them of not caring. Others saw a meta-goal and started a larger discussion about software quality.
The questions I asked were these...but the most significant one was added a few hours later, suggested by a reader.
After the post I went back and tried to file bug reports for all the issues I bumped into. For products where I couldn't find an easy bug reporting site I used Twitter. Google and Microsoft were universally pleasant when I reported the bugs and seemed sincerely interested in helping.
Is it easy for your users to report a bug? Does you app automatically report crashes? Is your site friendly? Are you support people friendly and engaged? Are your bug support forums filled with reports but no company representatives? Do you use GetSatisfaction or UserVoice?
Ideally the "best" bugs are those that can be reproduced given enough context. You can save developer time and trouble by giving them as many details as you can. Developers can save everyone time with bug reporting tools that collect that information for users.
For example, on Windows if you run "msinfo32.exe" you can get a complete snapshot of your system.
I am a big fan of the "Send a Frown" way of getting bugs.
The Office 2013 Previews even have hotkeys for this!
Sending feedback is even better with screenshots.
The help menu for Skype includes a Give Feedback menu as well as "Skype Status."
As a user, if you can include information like:
This is a lot to ask of a user!
Here's some sites you can use to report bugs in certain applications. Note that some are fancy, some spartan, some just forums, some actual bug tracking software, made for and used by developers.
Or, the ultimate place to file bugs for your favorite software, as my friend Anil points out:
@shanselman on Twitter, duh! — Anil Dash (@anildash) September 24, 2012
@shanselman on Twitter, duh!
How hard does the user have to work to file a bug? It's OUR bug but the user not only hit the bug but also has to work to report it!
Every click or manual step that our users have to invest in our bug is a click too many. A bug is the pain that hurts the user and keeps hurting as they report it! A good bug report is a gift that keeps on giving and we should treat it as such.
I'd love a world where all crashes are automatically reported and there's a "Send a Frown/Smile" button on everyone's computer that offers to record a short screencast with just a single "record/stop" button.
What product do you think has the best bug filing experience? Sound off in the comments!
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Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.