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Are Bugs in Software Affecting Your Relationship with Customers?

bugs-in-software

As agile and iterative software development models become increasingly prevalent, the need for delivering quality software at a rapid pace increases exponentially. In spite of putting the customer at the center of the entire software development lifecycle, it is unfortunate that most products don’t leave a lasting impression on their customers. This article aims to shed light on seemingly small bugs in software that can wear on your relationships with customers, as well as provide some tips on how to avoid them.

Explainability Bugs

What?

A user expects a system to be understandable in the sense that they are capable of explaining its behavior to themselves and others. Therefore, when there are elements that are difficult to understand or comprehend, they are classified as Explainability Bugs.

Example:

  • The use of radio buttons for an option that supports multiple checkboxes.
  • Typographical errors / incorrect grammar.

Effects:

  • Confusion in the user’s mind about the feature’s purpose and intention.
  • The user intentionally ignores the feature or moves on to the next logical feature.
  • Under-utilization or low uptake of the product.
  • Customers, support, and sales personnel waste their time.
  • Distortion from the actual problem statement.

FTUE (First Time User Experience) Bugs

What?

A new user may find the system’s behavior confusing or distracting. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Bugs that may hamper such first-time experiences are known as FTUE (First Time User Experience) Bugs.

Example:

  • The Sign Up option is not available from the Cart Page.
  • The start link on the home page loads the next page after 10 seconds.
  • The user gets email messages in the SPAM folder.

Effects:

  • Losing potential customers or engagements.
  • When users have a poor onboarding experience, their enthusiasm for the product can be diminished.
  • When users migrate to a new platform or start using one for the first time, there is usually some resistance to onboarding. These issues can act as catalysts for this resistance.
  • An increase in overall marketing costs.

Accessibility Bugs

What?

Accessibility bugs are the gaps users experience when our content is not available or accessible. 

Most product companies want to maximize their solutions’ reach, availability, and accessibility. As technology advances and infrastructure solutions grow, the first two goals become simpler and easier to achieve. However, applications’ accessibility remains a challenge. 

Examples:

  • Low contrast colors on the user interface make it hard to read and focus.
  • Images do not have alt text.
  • Use of special fonts and custom text that is incompatible with screen readers.

Effects:

  • Many popular platforms have encountered lawsuits and legal repercussions over accessibility issues.
  • Reputational damage and loss of brand value.
  • It prevents inclusivity, diversity, and usability. 
    • What if your organization’s philosophy and values support inclusivity, diversity, and usability, but your organizational apps don’t? 
    • Would you use or recommend such an app?
  • The loss of potential customers

Trivia: According to the World Health Organization, roughly 15% of the global population lives with some form of disability. Therefore, software accessibility is a serious problem that directly affects people and may negatively affect your relationships with them. Moreover, accessibility is not just a concern for external customers. Therefore, it is wise to check for accessibility issues and perform testing whenever you develop an app, even if the app is for internal users or vendors.

Usability Bugs

What?

The majority of apps are built and tested for functionality. However, usability is equally important. User experience bugs occur when a user is unable to accomplish what they want in a single go or after an annoying experience.

Example:

  • Allowing only one table row to be exported at a time instead of the entire table records.
  • There is a button at the top to go to the next page, and users scroll down to navigate the current page’s results.

Effects:

  • Spending too much time on routine tasks.
  • An application that is frustrating for regular users.
  • Loss of charisma and future expectations for the product.
  • It is inconvenient for the user.

UX Bugs

What?

Any aspect of the system that reduces the user experience is called a UX Bug. In applications where the customer or user is also a developer, the term DX (Developer Experience) Bug is also used.

Examples:

  • Non-availability of tooltip/placeholder text.
  • Not showing progress message or state while saving or uploading a file.
  • Not allowing for state rollback.

Effects:

  • The vast majority of platforms do not sell functionality but the premium experience they offer. A poor user experience will directly limit the product’s growth and adoption.
  • A product with a bad user experience will be at a competitive disadvantage even if it has good functionality or features.

Despite so many potential pitfalls on your way to making good customer-centric applications, such issues can be overcome if you have a solid understanding of UX, Accessibility, Usability, and other fundamental testing and product concepts. Below, I have outlined my personal tips for combating and avoiding such pitfalls. 

Tips to Avoid Pitfalls

  • Learn about usability heuristics from Jakob Nielsen. You can also use tools such as UX Check to assist you in identifying usability issues.
  • Check if your app conforms to the accessibility guidelines:
  • Improve your team’s UX sense by playing UX games with Can’t Unsee.
  • Read about UX case studies and cognitive biases from Growth Design.
  • Practice and use bug advocacy & influential reporting skills
  • Consider a persona-based test strategy and think of the products from diverse perspectives, such as:
    • Novice User
    • Expert User
    • Migrated User
    • Disabled User
    • Older Users, etc.
  • Talk to your marketing, sales, and support team. They often work very close to the customer or customer environment. They mostly know about the common customer challenges and roadblocks.
  • Interview your customers and use the inputs from them as input to your team’s quality criteria.

“Good testing involves balancing the need to mitigate risk against the risk of trying to gather too much information.”

Gerald M. Weinberg

For all our visual readers, I have summarized this entire article in the form of this mind map.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope this article will help you improve your relationships with your customers.

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Rahul Parwal

Rahul Parwal

Rahul Parwal is a passionate software tester and blogger. He likes to learn new concepts and share them with the community in engaging formats. He is also a recipient of the Jerry Weinberg Testing Excellence Award, which he considers his most significant achievement until today. Currently, He is working as a Senior Software Engineer at ifm engineering.
Rahul Parwal

Rahul Parwal

Rahul Parwal is a passionate software tester and blogger. He likes to learn new concepts and share them with the community in engaging formats. He is also a recipient of the Jerry Weinberg Testing Excellence Award, which he considers his most significant achievement until today. Currently, He is working as a Senior Software Engineer at ifm engineering.

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