Help Me Help You: The Right Way to Provide Website Feedback
I get it; your website is important but you’re busy and just want it to work. So what should you do when you notice something wrong at 11 p.m. the night before the big meeting?
The first step to quick and efficient fixes of bugs is reporting them to us in a way that gives us all the information we need, the first time. Vague requests are almost certainly going to be sent back to you for additional information. Below is a handy guide of information to include, to ensure we can solve your problem.
- URL(s) of the page(s) in question. If the problem is across many pages, send a few URLs. Too many examples is never a bad thing.
- Screenshots. It’s possible I’m not seeing the same display you are. We’ll only know if you provide screenshots.
- Steps to reproduce an error. If we can’t replicate the problem, we’ll have a hard time fixing it. Or the problem might be resolved by documenting the right way to do what you’re trying to do. We’ll only know if you tell us how you got there.
- Thorough description of the issue. “This doesn’t look right” won’t cut it. Please be sure to elaborate on what’s wrong, in case it’s not obvious.
- Description of the intended behavior. No one knows your website as well as you do. Be sure to include an explanation of what should happen when you click that button or go to that page.
- Browser information. (Frustratingly,) front-end display can and does vary across different browsers. Please be sure to include the type of browser you’re using, along with the version information, too.
- Copy of the error message you’re seeing. Those messages aren’t simply for your knowledge; they often contain vital information describing the cause of the issue.
- Relevant dates. Have a trade show next week? Is the VP of sales demonstrating that functionality to the sales team tomorrow? Let me know so we can schedule our work accordingly.
- Alternative solutions. Could that slideshow be a static image? Could that lightbox be a popup? Letting me know alternative solutions might cut down on development time, producing the results you need faster.
By providing as much information as possible you can help ensure we’re able to quickly resolve your problem without needing to bug you for additional information.
Mike Emily is Director of Client Experience at 601am, which helps online publications design and develop comprehensive digital strategies.