Reporting Issues To Your Web Developers

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Reporting Issues To Your Web Developers

Reporting issues to your web developers so that they understand

Have you ever called or emailed your web developer or designer, ‘there is a problem with our website, fix it’?

Not detailing what the problem is or where it occurs leads developers on a merry-go-round of randomly checking pages of the website in the hope of finding something obviously wrong. Even if they do find something to fix, chances are that it wasn’t the problem you were intending to highlight or a developer might change something that worked perfectly well beforehand, just so they can say that they fixed it.

Many developers won’t let you get away that easily, they will ask for clarification on what needs fixing before they do anything,

Here are the main items that make life easier for the developer and mean that the correct issue gets investigated, diagnosed and fixed much more quickly.

  • URL – Copy and paste the address of the page where you found the issue, this makes it is for the developer to start looking in the right place.
  • Summary – a succinct summary of the problem that describes the issue is really helpful. It enables the developer to understand what the issue is straightaway.
  • Description – provide some more detail so the developer can recreate the problem. It doesn’t have to be hundreds of words, just a sentence or two about what you were doing, where you clicked, and what happened. Did an error message display, or the wrong information, what should have happened? This helps the developer understand the issue in detail and what would be an acceptable fix for the problem.
  • Screenshot – pictures help immensely and provide clues that descriptions cannot get across. Take a screenshot of the problem and send it to your developer.

Other items that are really helpful:

  • Browser / OS version – sometimes issues need to be recreated in the specific browser you were using when you encountered the problem. Details of what browser and operating system you were using can be very helpful.
  • Severity / importance – the severity or importance of the problem helps the developer to prioritise their workload. If they should drop everything to fix this then the issue is probably critical. Obviously, not everything can be critical but at least it conveys how quickly the developer should act.

Recording these items really does help to get issues fixed more quickly and fixed properly first time, your developer will thank you for them too.

A more structured approach would be to use a bug tracking tool and there are several that focus on being extremely easy and quick to use. Have a look at the bug tracking tools category in our Testing Tools directory.

What do you think would help when reporting issues to investigate and fix website issues? Let me know in the comments.

Image used courtesy of Nokton.

Tom Batey
Tom Batey, founder of Testing Web Sites & WebDepend, is a hands on website tester focusing on quality across web, mobile and email.