Finding a bug is one thing, but documenting it is equally important, if not more so. Here's how to write the ideal bug report, including a useful template.

Bug reporting highlights a development issue and gives your developers a starting point to fix it. While writing an extensive report might be tempting, simpler and more concise reports are more effective in the long run. Stick to the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Stupid), and remember, the goal is to document the bug clearly and succinctly. We'll show you what our ideal "jar" for bugs looks like.

Good Bug Report vs. Bad Bug Report

A bug report can be compared to a user manual for assembling new furniture. A good manual provides step-by-step instructions, clear diagrams, and labeled parts, whereas a bad one skips steps and has no diagrams, leading to confusion and frustration.

A good bug report should be:

  • Detailed: Includes all necessary information to reproduce and diagnose the issue, such as steps, environment, and relevant error messages.
  • Properly Filed and Structured: Adheres to filing and formatting guidelines.
  • Clear and Concise: Communicates issues efficiently, like a good tweet—short, sweet, and to the point.

A bad bug report lacks critical details and efficient communication, leading to miscommunication, longer troubleshooting times, and a slower resolution process.

Bug Report Format

  1. [Feature Name] Title
  2. Environment
  3. Steps to Reproduce
  4. Expected Result
  5. Actual Result
  6. Visual Proof (screenshots, videos, text)
  7. Severity/Priority

Ideal Bug Report Template

Follow this format to write a stellar bug report that your developers will appreciate.

1. Title

Your title should be a concise summary of the bug. Start with the core feature issue in brackets at the beginning of the title.

2. Environment

Be as specific as possible about the environment. Include:

  • Device: Type of hardware and specific model.
  • OS: Version number of the OS displaying the issue.
  • Account Used: Test accounts, including email and password.
  • Testing App Version: Exact version number of the application being tested.
  • Connection Type (If Applicable): Internet connectivity type and speed.
  • Reproducibility Rate: Frequency of reproducing the error.

3. Steps to Reproduce a Bug

Number the steps from beginning to end, using the ">" symbol to keep steps concise. For example:

  1. Go to settings > Profile (this takes the user to a new screen)
  2. Tap on More Options > Delete Account

Avoid implied steps unless directly relevant to the issue.

4. Expected Result

Describe what should happen when the action is triggered. Provide deeper insights than just "the app should not crash."

5. Actual Result

Detail what actually happens. Be specific and provide isolation information to make the bug report more actionable. For example, "button does not work as expected" is less helpful than "button closes the app across different platforms and OS versions."

6. Proof

Attach any relevant screenshots, videos, or log files. For crashes, include both system and crash logs to save developers time.

7. Severity/Priority

Categorize the bug's impact on functionality using three categories:

  1. High/Critical: Impacts normal user flow or blocks app usage.
  2. Medium: Negatively affects user experience.
  3. Minor: Issues like typos, missing icons, or layout problems.

Recommended Approaches to Improve the Bug Reporting Process

Standardize Format

Use a standardized format for consistency, ensuring every bug log contains all necessary details. This makes it easier for developers to understand, replicate, and fix the issue.

Enable Testers to Provide Additional Context

Encourage testers to provide context to help developers find solutions. Include:

  • Unusual Circumstances: Unique conditions under which the bug appears.
  • Relevant Background Information: Details connected to the problem, like recent system updates.
  • Frequency of Issue: How often the issue occurs.
  • Environment Details: Software version, OS, browser, and device information.

Check for Duplicates

Instruct testers to search for existing similar or identical issues before submitting a bug report to avoid redundancy and promote teamwork.

Test and Verify

After fixing a bug, re-test the system under the same conditions to ensure resolution and no negative impact on other areas. Testers should provide feedback on the fix to complete the bug-fixing process.

In summary, a minimal yet informative bug report is preferred. Educate testers on your documentation preferences and encourage effective communication. By working together, you can efficiently hunt and fix bugs.

Rohit Gupta
Rohit Gupta
Rohit harnesses his extensive knowledge of advanced technologies such as Blockchain, AI, and RPA to create solutions for diverse industries, including healthcare and customer experience management. Rohit's expertise in digital transformation enables businesses to achieve their strategic objectives.