Why I now prefer to use video to report bugs, in favour of a step by step written guide.

posted in: Software Testing | 0

Communication between the various stakeholders can be tenuous at the best of times, especially when you are trying to explain a specific bug that is complex. Reproducing it can be arduous as well. I often hear the following from developers: “It works fine on my machine”, which I know you, as a tester, will have heard from time to time. Sometimes, this is a genuine, “I don’t understand how it isn’t working for you”, but sometimes, I feel it is a direct accusation in the sense that, I am talking absolute nonsense and that the bug does not exist at all, so it must be something buggy on my machine.

What truly cuts through all of this nonsense like a hot knife through butter, is a video. They can see the steps I made and the outcome. The developers can copy these steps from the video and may still come to the conclusion, “It works fine on my machine”, but the doubt that something maybe wrong, is removed from their mind due to them having seen the problem occur in the video and not just taking my word for it that something is wrong for something they haven’t seen. Yes, yes, I can bring them to my computer and show them the problem too, assuming I can reproduce it and the time constraints permit this. Sometimes it isn’t convenient for the developer (or some other stakeholder) to look at the bug and thus you may well have moved onto another project/ticket, which would then require you to totally recreate the scenario from scratch once again, thus wasting more time when the developer can spare the time to see the bug in play.

This isn’t the only reason I also use videos; Sometimes, when exploratory testing, you will complete various steps and then out of the blue, something will go wrong. Reproduce it? Easy, rewatch the video. Without it, unless you were making notes, or have a really acute brain memory map for every action, then sometimes, you can spend more time trying to reproduce the problem and sometimes, never reproduce it until maybe you are testing something else.

Over my testing years, I have improved my written bug report which always includes images alongside a step by step guide, often times using Given, When, Then to simplify the steps even more with a complete description of what the bug is. With this approach, I often still get, “I cannot reproduce” or “I don’t understand this bug”.

Are developers stupid? Are they being awkward? Absolutely not, they are very intelligent human beings. So why can’t they reproduce the bug from my step by step written report complete with images? I can!

When we read instructions, sometimes we add our own steps thinking they are the same, or we misinterpret what the instructions actually are, despite how clear they appear to you. These are just a couple of many reasons why the reproduction of the bug can sometimes fail to happen.

With a video, you can study it to see if anything else happened and it removes any doubts about any questions you or the developer may have.

I am not saying that videos are the be-all and end-all of bug reporting; After all, there is the storage issue as videos are very data heavy and there will be times when it is not practical to video a bug. All I am saying is, since I started attaching videos to the tickets where there are bugs, the bug fixes have been occurring a lot quicker and developer/tester time wasted discussing or reproducing the bug has more than halved. Win!

Video Recorders Downloads:

Android

Windows

  • Windows 10 has a built in “Gaming” recorder which you can use to video your screen. Simply press [windows key] + G to bring up the controls.
  • If you don’t have Windows 8 or less, then try using SRecorder

Apple

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