How to Write a Bug Report Developers Will Love

One thing that’s inevitable in website and app development is the presence of bugs.

No matter how meticulous you may be in writing the code for your application, sometimes an element of your programming may not work as planned. This is why testing is an essential part of product development.

So, when testers find a bug, they must know how to write a bug report that’s easy to understand.

What is a Bug Report?

In essence, a bug report is a document that explains where an application is not working as expected. A good bug report should also include how the bug can be rectified.

Communicating a bug requires some good writing skills to make it easy for developers to understand what kind of bug you have encountered. You also need to have a good structure that your bug reports follow.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve built the most efficient sales funnel. If your product falls short of expectations, all your effort will be in vain. That’s why it’s crucial to have detailed bug reports that help developers get to the root of the problem quickly. For the time between discovering the bug and resolving it to be as short as possible, your bug report must be:

  • Specific. A good bug report shows exactly what the problem is and where it’s located.
  • Informative. Furnish developers with all the information they need to find and resolve the issue easily. Developers shouldn’t have to ask for more information.

And that’s where writing a good bug report comes in.

How to Write a Bug Report — 8 Elements of a Good Bug Report

Now that you’ve found a bug, it’s time to let the developers know about it.

It’s time to write a bug report that’s so helpful the developers will love you for it. To do so, your bug report must be clear, specific, and easy to understand. This way, the developers won’t struggle to understand your bug report. It makes it easier for them to locate and fix the bug. A general overview of what your bug report should cover includes:

  • What. What has happened with the application?
  • How. What did you do to produce the bug?.
  • Where. Where in the app (environment) did you find the bug?

This is just a basic structure of a bug report, of course. There’s more that goes into writing a good one. And that’s what we’ll be looking at in this section.

1. Bug Report Title

Every good bug report starts with a title. Your bug report title is a critical element as it’s the first thing developers see.

That’s why a good bug report title must be as descriptive as possible without being too long.

A good bug report title makes it easier for developers to understand what the issue is, easily locate it, and know what steps they’ll need to take to fix it.

A bad example would be, “Shopping cart not working.” This may highlight where the problem is but isn’t clear and specific enough about the issue. A better title would be, “Cart — items added to cart don’t appear in the cart on desktop.”

Another tip for writing a good bug report title is to include keywords, as this makes it easier to find the report in searches.

2. Summary

Sometimes the bug report title isn’t enough to explain the bug you’ve found. In this case, it would be a good idea to add a summary. Your summary must be concise, adding important information or context to what the title has already mentioned.

A good summary explains in brief what happened. Make sure to avoid including subjective opinions in your bug report summary. Instead, get to the point and highlight the technical issues concerning the bug.

3. Environment

It’s no secret that websites and apps behave differently in different environments. That’s why, when writing a bug report, it’s essential to include the environment in which the bug was found. This could include, among others:

  • Operating system
  • Browser
  • Screen size
  • Pixel ratio
  • Device type

Furnishing the developers with all this information is crucial to helping them reproduce the bug. Fortunately, tools like Userback automatically capture most of the information required here.

Without knowing the environment in which the bug manifests could lead to them failing to reproduce it. Remember, a good bug report is supposed to make it easy for developers to locate the bug. One of the best ways your report can succeed in doing so is to note the exact environment you found the bug in.

4. Add Visuals where Possible

It’s usually a good idea to support your bug report with visuals. While there are a lot of tools to record your screen, instead, you can use a visual bug reporting tool like Userback as you reproduce the bug. Bug tracking tools allow you to record your screen, take screenshots, and annotate them. This makes it easier for developers to understand the bug better as they can see exactly what you’re seeing. Visual bug reporting is a great way to speed up the bug reporting process.

5. Compare Actual Results to Expected Results

A vital element of a good bug report is the comparison between the actual results and expected results. This is where you note what the application is expected to do and what it actually does.

6. Steps to Reproduce the Bug

Now that you’ve described the bug and shown developers what is happening, the next important step in your bug report is to show them how to reproduce the bug. This is important as developers will want to experience the bug first hand to understand it better.

Source: QA Touch

When outlining the steps developers must take to reproduce the bug, make sure to be:

  • Precise
  • Comprehensive
  • Logical

It also makes it easier for the developers if you use a numbered list to outline the steps needed to reproduce the bug. This makes it easier to follow the process that triggers the bug. Also, it’s a good idea to reproduce the bug several times and note the reproducibility rate.

7. Bug Severity and Priority

Other important elements of a good bug report are the severity of the bug and the priority with which the bug must be attended to. Let’s break these two down and see how you can include them in your bug report.

Bug Severity

This is a measure of how much impact the bug has on your product. It’s usually rated from minor (where the bug doesn’t affect functionality) to critical (where the bug makes your product unusable). Depending on the scale you use within your team, make sure to note the severity of the bug in your report.

Bug Priority

Priority refers to the urgency with which the bug should be attended to. For example, if the bug affects functionality, then it must be given high priority. A bug that affects a non-critical component of your application, on the other hand, is a low priority bug.

As a tester, you must help the development team work faster by letting them know both the bug’s severity and the priority with which it must be resolved.

8. Include the Source URL

An essential but often overlooked piece of information when writing a bug report is the source URL. Including it in your bug report will help developers head to the problem page fast. It saves a lot of precious time, and they’ll love you for including it in your report.

Best Practices for Writing Bug Reports Developers Will Love

Anyone can write a bug report. But only a few actually write bug reports developers love. To be part of the minority that writes excellent bug reports, you must follow some bug report writing best practices. Here are a few you must follow:

  • Use a bug tracker. Bug trackers help keep everything organized and enhance the flow of your product development and PLM process.
  • Write a separate report for each bug. Even if the product has multiple bugs, don’t include them all in one report. Instead, create a separate bug report for each one.
  • Make sure the bug hasn’t been reported. Nothing is as frustrating to developers as wasting time on a bug report dealing with a bug they’ve already worked on. So before you make a report, make sure to check if you’re not duplicating an already submitted report.
  • Reproduce the bug at least three times. Doing this ensures that the bug can be reproduced by the developers, thereby increasing the likelihood of it being resolved.
  • Keep it simple yet comprehensive. A bug report must be easy to understand, so keep it simple. At the same time, make sure you give developers as much information as they need to resolve the issue.

Following these best practices will make you the darling of developers. After all, you’ll be writing bug reports that make their lives easier.

It’s Time to Start Writing Bug Reports Developers Will Love

Writing good bug reports is an essential part of the product development process. That’s why you must learn how to write bug reports that help make the process easier. Armed with these tips, go ahead and write up that next bug report. A bug report that will put a smile on the developers you’re working with..

Guest Author Byline

With over 500,000 monthly readers, Adam Enfroy’s mission is to teach the next generation of online entrepreneurs how to scale their influence at startup speed.

Try it!

Contact Us

Thank you!
We will get back to you as soon as possible
at .