You’ve just deployed your shiny new website to a staging server and let your client know it’s up and ready for review. Everyone is excited. You and your team have demolished two cases of Red Bull and sacrificed personal hygiene putting together the microsite for their summer sale campaign. You think it’s great, but you’re expecting feedback. Feedback is nothing to fear; it’s a necessary part of digital development. Nevertheless, it’s squeaky-bum time and you want the process to be as painless as possible. So, how do you effectively capture feedback and funnel it to your team?
If fortune shines upon you
If you’re lucky, you have an awesome client with only one stakeholder who collates feedback from various sources, does an initial round of filtering, structures it coherently with screengrabs and notes, then adds all feedback to a shared workspace for the whole team to see. Perhaps you even conduct a call to go through the feedback, validate the font rendering issue they’re seeing in Firefox, and inform the client of next steps. If this is the case, you have reached project management nirvana.
Congratulations: achievement unlocked.
If you are paying for sins in a previous life
If you’re unlucky, you’ll get 20 emails from five different client stakeholders over five days, all formatted differently and with a tonne of duplication. Someone sent you a Word doc with screenshots pasted into it, but left the written feedback in the email…(this hasn’t just happened to me right?). You probably need to ask each of those five helpful individuals the following questions:
- What browser are you using?
- Are you on a Mac or PC?
- Can you please send me a URL?
- What resolution is your screen?
- Can you send me a screenshot?
A better way to bug track
When you find yourself spending more time managing incoming feedback than actually doing anything about it? Enter BugHerd.
BugHerd confidently announce that they are the world’s “simplest bug tracker.” It’s sole purpose is to enable both external and internal stakeholders (yourself included) to quickly and easily log visual bugs, browser issues or change requests on a website or web app from within the browser experience, and communicate all required information to the team. If you’ve used the excellent ‘InVision’ before for design reviews, this won’t be unfamiliar territory.
How to set up BugHerd
Create a project for your site and add your team members. Then add the URL of your site (don’t forget your staging environments).
BugHerd’s tools will only be displayed to team members or clients that you’ve added as ‘guests.’ This means you can put the code on a live site and the general public will be none-the-wiser.
Guests don’t need an account. They just need an email invitation with a link.
Your team and client will now be able to access BugHerd’s tools. I say tools, but really there’s only one worth worrying about—a big green ‘+’ button. The tools are hidden within a sidebar that is closed on initial page load. This means it doesn’t interfere with the design or functionality of the site.
Submit your feedback. When you’re ready to provide feedback, open the sidebar, click the ‘+’, then click on the part of the webpage you want to record feedback about. Write what you have to say and click submit. That’s it.
No really, that’s it. It’s beautifully simple.
Once you submit a bug, the system tells you it’s saving. Afterwards, you can see all your feedback logged in the sidebar.
The process of reporting issues is breezy, but where the magic really happens is in the data the app collects as a person reviews a web page. In your management interface, you can view:
- All client and public feedback in a ‘feedback’ tab
- Internal feedback in the backlog column of a ‘task board,’ kanban-style
- A screenshot at the time you reported the bug (this feature requires the browser extension)
- All of the technical data your team requires such as operating system, browser, and screen size
- The bug or issue URL. Even better, clicking the URL takes you directly to the page you’re reviewing, and scrolls right to the bugs’ location
You can review client responses in the feedback tab, and if it’s a valid issue, you can move to the task board where you can:
- Assign to a team member
- Mark with a severity and prioritise it accordingly
- Append it with attachments
- Discuss it using comments
It’s an easy system to use. The functionality is straightforward, and remains focused. The UI is approachable and the colours neutral. It’s not quite as fresh and sharp as, say, Evernote or InVision but it’s certainly nice to look at and easy to use. If I have one gripe about the interface it is the ‘projects’ view, which shows all of your projects accompanied by graphs showing bugs reported vs. bugs fixed. They feel like a gimmick rather than a useful visualisation of progress. The graphs are too small, there is no sense of scale and no labelling. BugHerd lacks any real reporting aside from this feature. They could learn a lot from apps like Toggl which have excellent, clear charting of progress.
BugHerd comes with a few handy integration options. Basecamp, JIRA and GitHub are just a few apps that integrate seamlessly with it. Integrations are relatively easy to setup and map. My own favourite? Redmine integration. The client and I use a beautiful UI while the developers enjoy the Windows 2000 version of everything synced to their task tracker. Everyone’s happy!
The BugHerd verdict
BugHerd isn’t the perfect bug tracker, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. Developers like it because they get the technical information they need. Clients like it because they can avoid accounts and logins to the agency’s bug reporting tools, and they aren’t faced with a complex list of fields to populate. Most importantly, us project managers like it because we can easily create feedback, monitor progress, and discuss issues in the app, which saves us precious time.
Bug-reporting is difficult, time-consuming, and often forces you to use ugly developer-focused tools. Impressively, BugHerd actually makes bug finding fun. On the other hand, it’s missing the ability for clients to view the progress of all the bugs their team reports, reliability in Internet Explorer is poor, and there is no reporting, but once these issues are resolved, BugHerd will be pretty hard to squash.