Bug Reporting: How to Write and Understand Bug Reports

Every person involved in the creation of an app or website will have to deal with bugs. And we don’t mean the creepy crawlies. We mean the software bugs that plague every good website or mobile app.

Bugs, much like their creepy-crawly cousins, are impossible to avoid. Every device, every website, and every app are designed and executed by humans. And humans, unfortunately, are prone to mistakes. That’s why we must take steps to ensure that software bugs are spotted and fixed before we release our product out into the world.

A large part of the fight against software bugs is bug reporting. Understanding how to properly write and use bug reports is not just a problem for web developers or IT experts—it’s important for everyone involved in creating an app or website.

So, let’s look at how and why bug reports work the way they do.

What is a bug report?

If you’re not familiar with bug reports, you may be scratching your head, wondering what they are. Think about every report you’ve ever received, from report cards to business reports. They all focused on a specific subject, detailing what’s going right but also what’s going wrong and then suggesting ways to fix it.

Bug reports work similarly. When you spot a bug in your software, your bug report will outline what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how you can address the issue.

Not all bug reports are created equal. Some will go into more detail than others. Nevertheless, the main purpose of a bug report is to let people know that something is wrong with their product.

Why is bug reporting important?

A user’s patience is thin. They will only stay with a website for an average of 10-20 seconds. During these 10-20 seconds, a user will skim your page, look at a few pictures, and maybe click a link or two to determine if they should stick around on your website or app. If they find anything that turns them off—from the design to the content to the usability—they’ll bounce.

That’s why bug reporting is so important. If a bug appears on your website or app, users will not stick around to try and deal with it. They’ll leave and most likely never come back.

But you can’t fix a bug if your developers and IT experts aren’t aware of it. That’s where bug reporting comes in. By filing a bug report, your web development and IT team can get on top of the issue before you lose more customers.

How to write a bug report

Telling your team there is a bug will help, but writing a thorough bug report will help even more. The more details your team has at their disposal, the easier and quicker it will be to fix the problem.

So, let’s go through what you should include in your bug report:

  1. Title
  2. Description
  3. Severity/Priority
  4. Environment
  5. Steps to Reproduce
  6. Expected Results
  7. Actual Results
  8. Visual Proof (screenshots, videos, etc.)

Title

The title of your bug report should be clear and to the point. Think of it as a very concise summary of what the bug is.

Example: Broken Button on Home Page

Description

Here you can go into a bit more detail than you did in your title. Describe how and when the bug happened, but don’t go overboard. Keep it to a couple of sentences.

Example: The “Contact Us” button at the bottom of the homepage is not working. I clicked it this morning, and I stayed on the homepage; it did not redirect me to the appropriate page.

Severity/Priority

Developers and IT workers deal with hundreds of bugs every day. By listing the severity, they will know which bugs they must prioritize, and which can wait. Typically, there are a few classifications:

  • Critical: Your website or app is unusable
  • High: The bug impacts a major feature
  • Medium: The bug affects minor features but can be worked around
  • Low: The impact on user experience is low, only impacting visuals

Environment

Some bugs behave differently depending on how you’re using the website or application. Your device, OS version, browser, and more can all have an impact. In your bug report, be sure to list out the following:

  • Device
  • OS (e.g., Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.)
  • OS Version (e.g., Windows 11)
  • Application Version
  • Network Connectivity (e.g., Wi-Fi, Ethernet, etc.)
  • Battery State
  • Screen Orientation (Portrait or Landscape)

Steps to Reproduce:

Here you lay out the exact steps you took that resulted in the bug.

Example:

  1. Go to Homepage
  2. Scroll down to the footer
  3. Click on the “Contact Us” button

Expected Results

Detail what should have happened had the bug not occurred.

Example: Been redirected to the contacts’ page

Actual Results

Here you describe what actually happened due to the bug.

Example: Stayed on the homepage, was not redirected to the contacts’ page

Visual Proof

Your web development and IT team will take your word for it, but visual evidence can help them narrow down on the problem. Visual proof includes anything from screenshots to log files.

Bug reporting can help maximize your team’s efficiency while ensuring your website or app stays up and running. If you have further questions about bug reports, QA testing, or other software development issues, contact Beta Breakers today!

Written by Beta Breakers

Beta BreakersWith Experience in Quality Assurance & Testing Desktop Software, Mobile Apps, Websites & Web Applications for Nearly 30 Years Beta Breakers has become the Premier Software Quality Assurance Labs and Application-Testing Provider - Learn More Here

Receive the latest blog posts from Beta Breakers directly in your inbox

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)