Why webcompat.com should do better + a proposal

I really like the webcompat project‘s idea: to allow all users to be able to report bugs on all websites and in all browsers. Let’s take a step back: What are the 3 main problems with bug-reporting in general?

Most of the users are not-so-tech savvy.

It’s true. They know something is wrong, because the website is not working for them, but they don’t know why is that or how to report it. Imagine if they could use the tools they are familiar with to report bugs and to give the developers the data they need without even realizing it. Cool huh?

“It’s working for me”

Thanks to different browsers, standards and different developers a website that one user sees can be completely different for another user. Agreed?

You can imagine the questions the user must answer:: “On which page are you?”, “What are you doing exactly?”, “Did you select something wrong?”, “Did you write a number in your street address as requested?”, “Are you logged in?”, etc.

It’s an option too: the developer (or a QA) will say to the user “It’s working for me”, meaning to the end user - you are doing something wrong, John or Jane, it’s not the website. it’s you.

The end user doesn’t know how to fill-in bugs into bug tracking systems

Majority of the people that can find a bug don’t know how to report it or why to report it.  Most of the companies or projects have 1-2 page howto’s attached to the bug reporting form, but the result is still questionable.

 

The WebCompat way: Now

Webcompat will give all users a brand new way to report bugs. It will also provide for a community which will be able to easily find fixes for the bugs or alternatively, contact the website owners and report them.

There is still one problem with that. The users are still missing the tools which they are familiar with to report bugs. The developers (community of fixers) are still missing the vital information about fixing the bug.

 

The WebCompat way: Upgraded

We can fix that!  Being part of Usersnap’s mission to make this process easier, I can propose a solution and being a Mozillian for almost a decade I believe this will help millions of users to report bugs and to make the web a better place – this is why Usersnap has been created for.

The ideal set of information to fix a bug from the developer’s perspective:

usersnap_ui

  • Obviously, a report of what exactly is not working
  • Information about the plug-ins installed in the browser
  • OS and browser version, at a minimum
  • JavaScript error log and the XMLHttpRequest Log  in case there are problems (we still don’t know that). The worst thing about client-side JavaScript errors is that they happen on the client side, which is a cruel place far away from the developer trying to fix this error.
  • It would also be great to know what the user did BEFORE the error (yes we can do that)

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have this information to every bug report, collected automatically.

 

Push to gitHub

And what is the best part of this? All data goes directly to your bug tracking solutions – in this case gitHub and everybody is happy.

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10 things every startuper must know about e-mail marketing and will not find anywhere else.

This mini-book has been staying for at least 2 months in my backlog waiting to be pushed online. It’s time has finally come. I know there are millions of mini-books like that, but this one is different, because it shows things that I’ve learned from my experience working in startups and with communities from 20 to 1.4M e-mail holders.

Let’s get started!

 Email marketing is not dead

Admit it, it feels really good when you open your mailbox and you find some good news or nice offers waiting for you. You can even find them within the rest of your e-mail messages full of winning the lottery notifications to offers to enlarge some things or mail from … the FBI. Oops!

It’s not dead at all! It is getting worse but it’s still kicking.

 

The rest 9 things with a lot of links, examples and free updates are available in my mini-book that can be purchased from Amazon by clicking here.

  • Spam checking: Content
  • Spam checking: Your Servers
  • Spam check: Filters
  • Ask to be whitelisted
  • Don’t care about open rates, do care about CTR
  • CTR are useless if you don’t track conversions
  • Segmentation
  • Buying e-mail lists
  • Searching e-mail lists online

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Developers Will Never Need To Leave Vim Again, especially under Fedora

As a proud Fedorian, vi user under Fedora and as a developer (well from time to time) I  must share this news that combines my two worlds.

The problem

The truth is everybody needs to do multitasking today. The real cost of it  is hidden, but you’ll definitely lose at least 40% of your productivity if you are constantly switching between apps. Let’s try and do some other stuff in between. :)

40%: This is too much!

The solution

Developers keep on switching between their editors, emails and bug trackers. What if you can get bug reports right where you will fix them? Imagine the immediate gain in productivity!

(more…)

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Help a freelance journalist in #Crimea. He needs urgently a laptop.

THIS is important: A friend of mine Jan Husar (freelance journalist and a good guy) is in #Crimea and he needs a new laptop to continue working and spreading the word live about what is going there. If you respect transparency and care about independent news, please help him.

If you can provide the laptop for him, please contact him directly via Facebook.

If not a donation will be an option too:
PayPal: rejden@gmail.com
BitCoin: 138rcMV11TUc3dpnRVvEdwqM9HudZr8xsV

 

See here some of his recent work

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The SEO Is Not Enough.

It’s not a secret, I am one of the few guys left on the planet who do not believe in the magic of SEO.

I believe SEO methods are good, but they must be combined with user prediction models and utilizing user behavior for better content serving.

WThe SEO is not enoughhy am I writing this? Well I think it’s time now to talk about it. I am sure first position on Google or other search machines is something good, but is this what the user is actually looking for? In most cases, probably yes, but this will change soon.

For example: I needed a Firefox addon today for taking sreenshots for one of my projects. Of course I wrote “addon screenshot” into Google and of course it returns all SEO-ized results for …Chrome, not seeing that I am using Firefox and most probably I don’t need results for Chrome

I think search machines must be smarter than that. I don’t want to see results that others, SEO ninjas for example, want me to see. I want the results that will give me the answer I am looking for. I don’t have time to scroll and browse.

This opens another story, about privacy and about giving the companies your preferences, but I do think this can be done in a way to make everybody happy.

What say you?

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Interview with me for StartupYard on GrowthHacking, OpenSource and Politics

I have been interviewed by Loyd Waldo from StartupYard – a great Czech startup accelerator. You can find the interview here and you can discover some things that I am sharing for the fist time with a larger audience.

WIll you tell us a little bit about your career?

I started my career a long time ago. My first job was, behold … a sheppard! I was at school and I needed money. Believe it or not I have learned a lot from my first job :)

After that I used to sell small goods, and when I finished high school I joined the Bulgarian Army.  I spent 5 years in intelligence doing some secret military stuff. After 5 years I realized I needed a change and in order to escape the army’s stupidity, I decided to pursue my dream – to work in IT. If you go through my resume you will find a lot of things – I used to work as a programmer, web architect, IT manager, Product and Project Manager, Open Source consultant, community manager, marketeer. I’ve spend the last 6 years working on startups.  Now I am a “growth hacker” – the only definition that combines all skills I’ve gathered in my entire career … and I am happy! Also I am a Pirate! My signature is on the establishment act of Pirate Parties International.

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Bulgaria Web Summit 2014 with GitHub, ElasticSearch, SmashingMag and more friends

I think it’s time to write something about Bulgaria Web Summit – the event I am organizing since 2004. Of course the name back then was WebTech but this is just a formality.

Why Bulgaria Web Summit?

Honestly I don’t know, it was like … how we will name it .. Bulgaria Web Summit. The funny story is I talked 2 days ago with Florian from Usersnap and he asked me “I was wondering if Paddy Cosgrave already sent  you an angry mail (about the name)” and today I’ve got a call from UK-ish number and I thought here it is, the angry Paddy is calling me.

Let’s go back to the event. It will be amazing, as usual. We will have speakers and friends from GitHub, ElasticSearch, eCommera,Smashing Magazine and even more and more. We will have of course a prime minister talking …well not the Bulgarian one, we don’t really like him, but the one from the Ministry of World Domination, no kidding.

Developer track

In short: JavaScript, Development Workflows, ElasticSearch && Python, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Embedded Devices hacking and more

Designer, UX, UI, VDT track

Responsive Design , Visual Design Thinking, CSS, Fonts, UX and UI, Firefox OS

Business track

Product Ownership, Social media marketing, Kanban for Marketing, Showcase of successful products, Job fair and much more.

3 rooms, 30 speakers and a party!

Danish Knan from GitHub is introducing his talk at Bulgaria Web summit in Sofia

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@Geeksphone e-mail campaign is …not for geeks

I just opened an email from Geeksphone. They are trying to sell “Revolution”.  Revolution is not something you can sell, and it should not be something you should be able to buy – terrible name for an e-mail campaign subject. I’ve opened it just because I like Geeksphone products, but after that booom!

Yes it’s Revolution:

  • No text on the visible part of my screen. Nada! I am not scrolling, sorry!
  •  Of course alt =” ” <- this is so geeky  and it’s a standard now :) Who will need them, right.

I will unsubscribe.

geekphone

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Mission Possible: Teach your clients to give you a perfect bug reporting, especially for design issues.

Let’s start this story with another story:

CLIENT: There’s a strange symbol after the company name – can you remove it?
ME: Hmm… I don’t see anything. Does it come after the exclamation point?
CLIENT: The what?
ME: The line and dot after – wait, you mean the exclamation point?
CLIENT: I guess. Is that what that’s called?

I’ve borrowed the story from http://clientsfromhell.net but let’s be honest all developers have to deal with clients even worsе than this guy.

The problem (as we know it)

The client see the website in a different way and if there is a problem, they will describe it to you with the words they know. Don’t tell me that you haven’t spent at least 3h per project talking or chatting or even worse, exchanging emails, with a client who wants the work to be done, but cannot explain what he needs exactly the way a developer/designer can understand.

It’s not easy, indeed, for users to report bugs. Let’s not open now any bugzilla or other bug tracker to see “the wisdom of the crowd” collected from the clients, starting with the magical words “It’s not working” or “there is something wrong with my website”

You know what I am talking about.

How to solve it?

I think I have found a way to solve this and to translate the clients’ way of thinking to the language of a designer. There are couple of ways, actually, but now I want to show you how to do it by giving the opportunity to your users/clients/visitors to annotate bugs and to show you what is wrong – the visual way.

Show me

I will use usersnap to help me with that. Now, in order to reproduce the “original’ problem I have to find a “wrong logo”.

(spending 20 min searching, trying to avoid Yahoo!, no luck there.)

Usersnap requires a small widget to be installed on the website, so you can give valuable feedback. Now let’s imagine that the problem in this case is on their website and let’s make them eat their own dog food. I don’t have a chance to install it by myself on Yahoo (or can I?)

Now let’s find an “!”  and report it, just for a demonstration.

See, it’s easy. Now you can understand what the problem is, where it is and how it looks like on your clients’ computer, because from time to time a browser can cause the problem and you are not able to see the problem as you client does.

You will receive an annotated screenshot on your email, complete with notes, arrows, highlighted zones  and even pixel rulers and you will be one step ahead in the communication.

Is that all?

Of course it’s not, next step is to teach the client to use the tool, instead of sending you screenshots pasted in a doc file or wore, acting like guys shown on ClientsFromHell.

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Wips My Browser

Do you remember MTV’s Pimp My Ride? It was a show about a bunch of guys who came to your home and magically transformed your old car into a modern-looking vehicle. I remember the passion of the crew and as well as the face of the “client” when s/he saw the “pimped” ride. The show often ended with: “oh my goooood!!!” and: “aaaaaa iiii ooooo”… Search for the show’s archives to watch it.

Amazing!

Why am I telling you, dear reader, this story from the past? Because I want to introduce you to a way to do this, at home, with your……..browser? Yes! Your browser is your web car. You are driving down Internet highways, sitting comfortably on your cozy chair or on a bench in the park and here we go. Vroooom!

A website!

So I assume you are happy with your browser? You probably are, but let me show you what else you can do with it. I can show you how to “pimp” your browser and make it unique, like you. For me personally, using a web browser without extensions is impossible.
Extensions? What are those? Come on! Tell us!

All right, all right, extensions are small pieces of code, designed to do something that your browser doesn’t. For example: What about making your browser show you the latest weather information without going to a different website?

Need more? All right.

You can make your browser look and feel like your favorite sports team… Manchester United?…Sparta?… Green Bay Packers?…[insert favorite team here]. It doesn’t matter, they are good when they win and they suck when they lose. Right?

One more example, for the road?

Imagine you have a website, and you want to keep in touch with your community by making them aware that you have published news, a blog post, or even a new deal – you can make it possible for them to download an extension specially designed for their specific needs.

Great, isn’t it? Yes, you can have something small just for you and your visitors. However, if you have 1 million users it can’t be so small, right?

“…er.. I don’t know. Don’t I have to code or something?”


Relax.

I remember the days when you had to be really tech-savvy and have a computer science degree from a big ass university to create extensions. I remember the days when you had to learn technology that was so strange you felt lost, but all that is in the past.
You don’t need anything like that now – you can Wips your Browser and create a extension without writing code, just by clicking some buttons and menus. How cool is that?

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