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.

Bogomil Shopov

Bogo is a marketing person addicted to the Internet and its power. Before he was mentioned in Wikileaks and Forbes (twice) he was a nice person. Now he is a marketer :) He loves beers, traveling and his family a lot. Monty Python and Metal music fan.

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