Bug Movie

[article]
The Multimedia Way to Effective Bug Descriptions
Summary:
Lights. Camera. Action! This article suggests using multimedia tools that combine a visual display, voice recording, and screen annotations to illuminate the steps required to isolate a bug. The result is an effective means of simplifying the process for both testers and developers. Yogita explains the benefits and risks associated with producing your own bug movie.

Testers hate to write lengthy bug description and developers definitely hate to read it. It’s not only time consuming for both parties, but also proves to be counterproductive as it confuses developers about how to reproduce such bugs on their development machines. Because developers hesitate to study such descriptions and execute the reproducible steps, testers are often asked to demo such bugs for the developers, which means rework for the testers. Have you ever wished to replace those extra-lengthy bug descriptions and reproducible steps with more effective methods? Read through to explore how you can make the bug description interesting, effective, easily understandable, and short. One picture is worth a thousand words. Experts agree that visual detail is perceived better and faster than text. For similar reasons, we believe that software bugs should also be graphical and not textual. I was once working with a difficult group of developers. Maybe the tight schedules and work pressure made them behave that way, but they were reluctant to accept bugs from testing. “This bug is not reproducible on my machine,” “Your bug descriptions are pathetic and lengthy,” are a few of the comments I heard every day. In my bug descriptions, I tried to prove the existence of the bug to the developer. I also identified faults in my own bug description and tried to improve on them. Still the developers were unsatisfied. In the process, my bug count gradually went down, which is when I realized the problem lay in my mode of delivery, rather than in the content of my descriptions. The developers didn't have time to reproduce lengthy bug descriptions. In haste, they would execute fewer steps and couldn't reach the bug. Such bugs were marked as “not-a-bug” in the Bug Tracking System (BTS). But if a bug took me ten steps to reproduce, I couldn't have made it any shorter. All steps were equally important for the bug to appear. This is when I decided to capture the series of steps in a movie file and supply it to the developers. When they ran it, they were guided through the mouse-clicks, data input, and screen actions to reproduce the bug. What could have been a better way to substitute ten steps into a single movie file, which also saved time, arguments and confusions? What is a Bug Movie?Bug movie is recording the sequence of user interactions in a video combined with audio assistance and customized annotations that can be shared and viewed by anyone using standard media player. The typical components of a bug movie are

  1. Visual display of the series of steps as they happen on screen
  2. Recorded voice of the tester narrating specifications of the bug
  3. Annotations on the screen to specify visual details

About the author

Yogita Sahoo's picture Yogita Sahoo

Yogita works as a QA/testing professional with Mindfire Solutions and has written a number of articles on QA and testing strategies. Yogita is currently exploring thoughts of beauty as an area of testing and its relation to usability. Her role at Mindfire has been to implement quality processes throughout the organization and build a dedicated testing team. Yogita can be reached at yogitas@mindfiresolutions.com.

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