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How to Use Real-Time Feedback for Bug Tracking

Four steps to integrate user feedback into your bug tracking program.

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Customers expect a seamless experience across all channels. They want their needs met in the most convenient way and from any channel or device of their choosing. Hence, the digital experience (DX) is a necessary component of any organization’s CX program. 

Two of the most popular digital channels are website and application. Designing a great experience for each of these platforms is a huge undertaking, and no matter how many precautions you take, you’re bound to run into unexpected technical issues—aka bugs. 

While there is software available to help you track and report bugs, it isn’t foolproof. According to a survey by QualiTest, 78% of people notice a bug in the apps they use on a regular basis, and around 29% said that bugs or glitches appear in apps one or more times every week.

Improving bug resolution time is imperative to business revenue, with 88% of users reporting they would abandon an app if they encountered bugs or glitches. However, as of early 2018, only 21% of bugs found during software testing were fixed immediately.

Chapter 1

What is bug tracking?

Let’s start with the basics. According to Techopedia, a software bug is “A problem causing a program to crash or produce invalid output. A bug can be an error, mistake, defect, or fault, which may cause failure or deviation from expected results.” 

Bugs are often caused by human error in the source code or its design. This shouldn’t be a surprise—building websites, apps, and other digital platforms is a tedious and complex process. Developers and software engineers are bound to make mistakes.

From a customer and user perspective, bugs are those pesky technical issues that interrupt their journey, impending them from accomplishing the intended task with your product. One poor experience can lead to a frustrated user who might quickly churn, impacting the bottom line. In 2019, ITIC polled over 1,000 businesses worldwide and found that a single hour of downtime costs 98% of firms at least $100,000. That’s why bug tracking is so significant.

Bug tracking is capturing, reporting, and managing data on bugs that occur in your website, app, or software platform. The goal is to maintain top product quality, ensuring a positive and seamless experience for the user. Bug tracking isn’t just a priority for quality assurance personnel and programmers—it should be a company-wide priority and requires cross-functional effort. 

As mentioned before, there are multiple approaches to tracking and reporting on bugs, one of which is leveraging real-time user feedback. Opening a feedback channel for users to inform you on technical issues as they run into them across digital touchpoints, will enable more agility for testing and improving your product(s).

While there are many formats for reporting bugs, the goal remains the same: notify the person in charge of fixing the bug as quickly as possible and with as much context available. This is possible by collecting user feedback and taking four simple steps. Before we dive into them, let’s get on the same page about the most common bugs in websites and mobile applications.

Chapter 2

Most common bugs found on websites

Any time you launch a new website or landing page, you’re bound to run into some unexpected errors or issues. It helps to know the most common bugs you should keep an eye out for during your testing phase and post-launch. 

Below are the four most common website bugs to track:  

Browser and operating system compatibility problems

There are many browser systems out there, like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc. Optimizing your website to fit each browser across desktops and mobile brings unique challenges. That’s why companies often find bugs reported on one browser type and not on others. Often, a bug will show up for users using one kind of browser—and this gives you the context you need to delve into that specific issue. 

Responsive website issues

Responsive web design is the new normal. Responsive design serves all devices with the same code that adjusts for screen size. But advanced technology can often create problems. For example, images are crucial to a user’s experience on the web. In responsive design, images and icons have to be flexible to allow users to enjoy the graphics on high pixel density devices, which are becoming more widespread. You have to ensure images don’t look blurry and or poorly scaled, regardless of the browser size. 

The reality is we can’t control what browser sizes our visitors use, nor what dimensions the website designers choose for their devices. Therefore, it’s important to design your website to suit a variety of dimensions, whether your user is browsing on their laptop or on the mobile version of your site. Let your content determine its breakpoints in your responsive design to ensure it looks great in any landscape.

Functionality misbehaving

Often, buttons fail to work. A common bug is that the search bar misfires and doesn’t produce search results in a timely manner, or at all. This can prevent a visitor from completing their intended conversion (i.e. make a one-time purchase, sign up for a marketing newsletter, a paid account, etc.) which can have a huge impact on revenue.

For example, TUI group, a U.K. travel tour company, found a bug on mobile devices specifically within the Google app that was costing them a potential revenue loss of $350,000 a week. With real-time user feedback, they found the bug quickly and were able to recreate it and solve the problem, preventing further business loss.

Slow speed

79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again. Ensure you’re not overloading your website with slow-to-load images and that all third-party apps and tools load asynchronously. 

All right, let’s move on to the most common bugs found in mobile applications. 

Chapter 3

Most common bugs found on mobile applications

Mobile applications are also prone to bugs. Below are the three most common bugs you want to keep an eye out for whenever launching or updating your app.  

Platform-specific bugs (iOs and Android)

Mobile apps must be optimized for both Apple and Android operating systems. Bugs often arise on one platform or the other; knowing which platform helps developers dive into the specific issue depending on the operating system.

Specific bugs based on app architecture (i.e.button tapping or clicking)

While buttons and touch functionality are perfect for handheld devices, you should consider two things before indulging in touch targets on your responsive site. First, human fingers are not as precise as mouse clicks. Second, there are situations when your users can’t easily hit the target at once. That’s why you should make sure your touch targets are at least 44px square and there are only a few of them on your app. This will reduce frustration for your users and improve app satisfaction. 

Failed navigation

Each device operates with its own form factor, constraints, interface conventions, and opportunities. You should take all of these into consideration to create natural-feeling experiences. Thorough customer journey mapping helps you understand the most simple way to format your app to cut down on customer frustration. Sympathy to both the user and device will show you the way.

Now that you have an idea of what bugs to look for, you’re ready to implement a real-time user feedback program that aids your bug tracking process.

Chapter 4

The 4 steps to using real-time feedback for bug tracking

There will always be unknown bugs across your website or application. The key to delivering great digital experiences is finding these errors and solving them swiftly. 

To enhance your bug tracking process, you need to optimize the way you find bugs, allocate them to the right team member to be fixed, and improve the time to resolution. 

Real-time feedback from users will aid your success in bug tracking. For it to work, you should take the following four steps. 

Step 1: Open a channel for user feedback 

Enable your users to act as your quality assurance analysts—this is one of the fastest ways to learn about bugs. Open up a channel of feedback so users can alert you of technical issues as they come across them in real-time. The best way this can be done is with a persistent feedback button and in-the-moment surveys that you strategically place across your website or application.

Feedback button screenshot functionality bug GIF

(Usabilla feedback button, screenshot functionality, and feedback form)

There are many ways to use the feedback button. Here are some tips on how to optimize this survey tool on your website or app:  

  • The feedback button can be placed anywhere on your website, but we recommend placing it on the right side of the page as the eye naturally moves from left to right while digesting site or app content. This way, the feedback doesn’t interfere with any pertinent information and is easily accessible to the user. 

  • The button should be persistent throughout your digital platform. Bugs can pop up at any touchpoint, so it’s important to allow users to leave feedback wherever they come across a bug (homepage, checkout page, FAQ page, etc.).

  • Offer the user the choice to leave generic feedback or specific feedback. Specific feedback allows them to provide a screenshot of the issue when they take the survey. 

  • You can also offer a custom third option, for example, the option to talk to a representative via live chat.

  • When a user wants to give feedback, it will generally be polarized as very positive or very negative. The button survey should include an emotional rating question so that you can easily identify and filter the feedback in the back-end. Companies will often want to filter their feedback to look at all 1-star or very dissatisfied feedback to tackle these issues first.

  • The feedback button should also contain a subject drop-down menu (ex: bug, compliment, suggestion, question, or other) so you can filter feedback by subject in the back end, as well as an open text field for qualitative insight.

  • Customize the feedback button and form to match your brand and tone. As you can see in the GIFs above and below, the company chose to use stars in their emotional rating question. 

  • Use branching logic to collect more context and include any other common CX metrics you think are relevant.

(Usabilla feedback form with emotional rating, subject drop-down, open-text box, and NPS metric)

(Usabilla feedback form with emotional rating, subject drop-down, open-text box, and NPS metric) 

Using real-time feedback as a method to alert you of bugs helps you deliver better experiences and communicate that you value the users’ input. 

Step 2: Automate bug notices via tagging

Once a user reports a bug, your job is not over. The bug report will just sit there if it’s not allocated to the right person in real-time. Set up a system, ideally via feedback software, that’ll allow you to tag bugs and automate alerts so developers can tackle the issues right away.

Bugs should be automatically tagged and sent to the correct team members at the same moment they’re reported. For example, if a user or customer reports a bug in the checkout flow, that bug is tagged as “checkout,” and sent to the team members responsible for fixing it. You can imagine this saves time from having to manually share and allocate this task.

Bugs range from low importance to high importance, so you also need to discern which bugs should take priority and be resolved immediately. If you have a feedback software solution, it should allow you to send emails, Slacks, or tickets directly to the people who can solve these issues so users can soon continue on with their journey without disruption.

Slack integration GIF

(Usabilla Slack integration)

Depending on the bug’s significance, a developer or product manager might need to see the issue and address it right away. The ability to tag bugs by priority, for example, “high importance” as opposed to “low importance,” offers the insight needed for prioritization of workload.

case management tools highlighted

(Usabilla labeling and tagging functionality) 

Using a feedback solution that offers tagging and automation functionalities will speed up your bug tracking process and allow you to smoothly solve issues for your users.

Step 3: Contextual bug reporting 

Finding and fixing bugs requires a developer or programmer to dive into the code related to a specific issue, which can be a very tedious process if there isn’t much context around the problem. 

The good news is that there are ways to add more context to each bug report. For instance, when a user provides feedback, you can enable them to include a screenshot and the code snippet directly related to the problem. Moreover, the user should be able to report the bug with some context whether through answering preset questions or through qualitative feedback. 

For example, let’s say a user runs into a problem with the search functionality on your homepage. Despite clicking multiple times, the search button will not respond to the user. They notify you via a feedback button where they rate their experience a 1 out of 5, leave a brief note, and provide a screenshot of the broken functionality for more context. 

With the screenshot and metadata attached to the feedback item, the developer is able to see that the user is on the Google Chrome app on an Android phone. They can also use the code snippet attached to the screenshot to pinpoint the exact location of the bug. With all this information, it’ll be much easier for them to fix the issue.

(Usabilla dashboard showing technical info with attached screenshot and HTML snippet)

(Usabilla dashboard showing technical info with attached screenshot and HTML snippet) 

Step 4: Close the loop  

Whenever possible, follow up with users who have reported bugs to thank them for the feedback and update them on the status of your project. When it comes to apps, users want to see the changes in a timely manner. For instance, they expect to see updates listed as part of the notification that prompts them to update the app on the mobile device. 

If you marry standard practices of digital experience, such as closing the loop, with traditional technical bug tracking processes, you provide users with the satisfaction of knowing that they are being heard and that you prioritize their needs. 

A great way to reduce technical issues with your app or website is by implementing a bug tracking and reporting process during beta testing. The better prepared you are to launch, the smoother your release will be. We discuss this in detail as it pertains to websites in the next section.

Chapter 5

Use feedback to beta test your website 

The beta period is a time to test, refine, and iterate. During this period, you should facilitate beta testers to report bugs and issues they find on your beta platform so you’re better prepared to delight users post-launch.

Feedback during this period can help answer questions like:

  • Are the website design and navigation intuitive? 

  • Can users easily achieve their goal(s) on your site? 

  • Is the beta website actually an improvement for your users?

Here are some suggested approaches to collecting feedback: 

  • Use an omnipresent feedback button to collect feedback to rapidly identify early-stage issues. With a feedback button, testers can opt to report bugs they find, tag them themselves in the survey that follows, and include a screenshot for more context. 

  • Implement in-the-moment surveys to validate your beta website assumptions of specific touchpoints with user insights. We recommend small non-intrusive, slide-out surveys, often after someone motions to exit or remains on a page for longer than five minutes.  

  • Measure the customer satisfaction rate of your new website. 

  • Learn what effect your website changes have made on your KPIs. 

Let’s walk through an example. A popular issue that brands come across during website beta testing is 404 errors. A 404 error is a standard response code in computer network communications that indicates the browser was able to communicate with a given server, but the server could not find what was requested. 

This error can be identified quickly by adding in-the-moment surveys on all 404 pages. The survey should ask an open-ended question like, “Hello there! We see you’ve run into a 404 issue, sorry about that. To help us solve the problem, can you please describe what you were doing and what buttons you may have clicked on that led you here?”

Allowing your testers to describe in their own words how they got to the 404 page saves you time from sifting through code. 

A great way to test your beta site is by setting up an internal testing program with employees. Steve Schulte, manager of digital analytics at Hibbett Sports, an athletic-inspired fashion retailer, did just that with the help of Usabilla’s feedback solution.

Three weeks prior to the website launch, Schulte asked employees to crawl, navigate, and make purchases on the beta site. Every time they ran into a bug, they left feedback through the implemented Usabilla feedback tool. 

This was a huge time saver because rather than having hundreds of employees sending him one-off emails, he was able to monitor hundreds of feedback items and label them so that the appropriate team could handle any issues.

Chapter 6

The business impact of using feedback to catch bugs

By incorporating the user’s voice in your bug tracking system, your digital experience will continue to flourish and contribute to the success of your company’s overall CX program. It’s the best of both worlds: users feel heard and you can tackle technical issues fast, which ultimately improves business revenue.

If your company doesn’t prioritize bug tracking, it’ll definitely pay the price. Slow-loading websites cost retailers $2.6 billion in lost sales each year. And 86% of businesses say that the cost for one hour of downtime is $300,000 or higher. Additionally, one-in-three organizations (34%) say the cost of a single hour of downtime can reach $1 million to over $5 million.  

Even a small bug that only persists for five minutes can incur damage to revenue and your brand reputation. In today’s digital age, customers and users expect near-flawless and uninterrupted experiences. Functionality is the most basic layer to good digital experience. 

To recap, below are the top benefits of bug tracking: 

  • Identify and fix frictions and technical issues in the customer journey quickly. 

  • Save time and resources.

  • Increase conversions. 

  • Improve the booking and check-in flow. 

  • Validate costly assumptions. 

  • Establish clear ROI on website and app changes (for example, by comparing customer satisfaction data before and after changes). 

Usabilla customer Aer Lingus, flag carrier airline of Ireland, launched a new site and needed to find a way to gauge customer opinion, detect bugs and errors and ultimately optimize their new website. 

By opening a channel for instant feedback to their users, Aer Lingus immediately detected and fixed bugs on their website and application. The data and screenshots attached to each feedback item provided invaluable context for efficient bug troubleshooting and reproductions.

Usabilla enables us to pinpoint the issue and provides useful information, metadata, and visual context of what is happening. This reduces investigation and resolution time for these bugs by up to 50%. — Catherine Wilson, lead UX strategy designer at Aer Lingus

In conclusion 

The Capgemini & Sogeti 8th World Quality Report found that "The consumer appetite to engage via digital channels is matched only by intolerance for any defects that might have an impact on their user experience and business outcomes.” 

Our customers expect seamless experiences across digital channels and are fickle when they come across technical issues like bugs. By incorporating feedback into your bug tracking process, you can save your organization time, money, and resources while providing an effortless experience to your customers. 

Our sister company, Usabilla, can help you improve your bug tracking flow. Click here to learn more.

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