The easy to find bugs in software jump out at you. A crash right when you tap on a button, or information that is calculated incorrectly. But most bugs aren’t like that. Most bugs are hiding behind a series of specific steps that trigger a situation that you the developer didn’t expect.
Trying to find these bugs through a verbal description alone is time consuming. It is so difficult to communicate the relevant details because everything might be a relevant detail. Every step that led up to that bug could be part of what caused it. Or maybe it isn’t. Someone reporting that bug has no way of knowing.
I ran into this issue a couple of times this week. Eventually I hunted down the bugs but it wasn’t straightforward and I put off fixing them because I had no idea how long it would take me to do so.
Seeing the user create the situation would have made all the difference, but recording and sharing that video is not something a novice can handle. From some research tonight it looks like it is simple enough to teach a user to record their iPhone or iPad from a Mac using QuickTime, but what do I do for users that don’t have a Mac? Or for web applications or other types of applications that aren’t iOS?