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Posts Tagged ‘reports’

The use of videos in bug reports

Posted by Steve on October 7, 2008

I recently came across a topic at the software testing club website that was discussing the use of videos in bug reports. After reading through the comments, it was clear there were a few main concerns:

1. file size
2. Serial viewing order – harder to skip and get to the point.
3. No search options.
4. Requires detailed attention in whole viewing process.

Firstly I want to address what the main ‘limitations’ are and then I will go into the benefits I see.
1. File Size.
If you get a decent tool, you don’t have to worry about this. You can export your videos in flash (if high res isn’t necessary) making them ~100KB. Now a days at a normal big box store you can get a 500GB hard drive for under 100$, so you are looking at about 5 million videos for 100$ (or 500 000 videos at 1 MB each). To me that isn’t really what I’d consider a limiting factor. Note, this does not really address any issues that may happen in a bug tracking database, as it really does depend on how the database is set up.

2. Serial Viewing order – harder to skip and get to the point.
The way that I use videos (described below) this is not an issue. A test video used properly should not be long enough for this to be a problem.

3.No search options
Again if you have a short video, and you use the video accompanying another bug report, you will not have any problems.

4. Requires detailed attention
Again if you are using videos correctly this should not be an issue.

So how should videos be used in reference to bug reports…?

Firstly in my opinion a bug report will never be replaced by a video (well unless it is mashup of video with text) because there are things that you can easily and quickly describe in text. Videos are only helpful for certain things, a few of them are as follows:

  • Remembering your course of actions when you hit a bug. I am sure it has happened to everyone once where they notice a bug but they have no idea how they got there.
  • Helping to illustrate time sensitive bugs; for example you find something where, in a web form, you press save back save quickly and it causes a problem.
  • When a developer may not believe you. Often I have filed bugs that developers do not believe happen (sometimes because it is intermittent behaviour), a video is proof, words are just that… words.
  • When someone else on the test team has to explain a bug you filed. Wording can be tricky and filing a bug report is somewhat of an art. At times it is difficult to understand what the person that filed the bug meant, but if you have a video you can often figure it out.

There are other uses for videos, those are just the ones that jumped to the fore front.

What has to be remembered is that, like anything else, it is all fluid! Sometimes videos are appropriate, sometimes not, it is always a judgement call; you have to think to yourself will a video add value. If you are unsure maybe ask the developers or your team lead what will be most helpful to them! I think video is extremely useful with certain cases, so try not to disregard it too quickly.

–Steve

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