Save Bug Fixing time with Usersnap

At Usersnap we strongly believe that an improved feedback and communication process will save you (and your team) a lot of time spent on communication in your development process. Picking the right communication tools does not only directly result in better workflows but also affects the time needed to fix a bug which is particularly important if you are publishing your code continuously.

Communication: Development costs’ secret hideout

Phone calls, meetings, IM chats and screen sharing sessions are efficient ways to discuss bugs and planned improvements of every software development project. There are two stashed requirements here: two people need to communicate at the same time. This is not a roadblock if you are sharing a desk but it can be a challenge if you are working in a distributed team or if you simply don’t want to interrupt your colleagues.

On the downside, one-on-one communication is only effective if nobody else needs to be involved after the topics have been discussed. As the famous group intercommunication formula for a team of N people still is N*(N-1)/2, even small teams should focus on effective communication to reduce the communication overhead.

If you are working in a startup environment (e.g. a team of 10) and take into account that some issues will be reported by your customers (e.g. +10 people you should listen to) you easily end up with 190 possible combinations of one-on-one communications streams. Online SaaS productivity tools like bug trackers and project management tools are basically striving to solve this problem by enabling people to communicate in groups, asynchronously. Anyways, the root cause of misunderstandings lies somewhere else.

The inconvenient truth about bug reports

Well, crafted bug tracking tools help you to keep up with the communication challenge. However, in the end, clients will send bug reports and feature request by email which will lack the context of the perceived bug and might read as:

“The blue button does not work”

This is exactly what’s perceived but there is little help here for solving the bug as it requires to guess the context of this bug. Specifically, in web development, it is common to deal with browser-specific bugs (“It works in Chrome but not in Internet Explorer”). Also, the rise of responsive web design introduces another important information to reproduce perceived issues on web project: the current user’s browser size. Developers know what’s necessary to reproduce a bug but clients and users who want to report bugs may not understand why a good bug report necessarily needs some contextual information.

If you are exceptionally lucky those emails might contain a word document with the collected issue or even a PowerPoint presentation with sketches of your clients’ suggested UI improvements. Continue Reading “Save Bug Fixing time with Usersnap”

How to integrate Usersnap in your development workflow

Usersnap can be integrated easily to any type of web page. The Usersnap help page offers an overview of how to integrate Usersnap in your site using a simple JavaScript snippet. We offer various CMS plugins for WordPress, Drupal or Joomla – but it doesn’t end there!

If you want to customize your Usersnap integration – for example: show it only to logged-in users, or add additional backend information to the report – you need to include Usersnap manually in your template. Are you a PHP, Python or RoR dev? Then you’re in luck, as we describe how to integrate Usersnap using those languages in this post! Speed up your development workflow!

Include Usersnap with PHP

Save your Usersnap snippet in a file called usersnap.inc.php which includes your API-Key. You can even fetch this API key from a config file or environment variable.

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Introducing new features on our Basecamp integration

With over 150,000 companies using Basecamp, it’s definitely one of the most successful project management tools out there. Usersnap lets you create useful bug reports for your web project directly in the browser. What’s more is that we seamlessly integrate with Basecamp to track bugs and receive visual feedback for your web project!

We’re happy to introduce three new Basecamp features we’ve worked on the last weeks. A huge ‘thank you’ to Nicolas Glinoer, one of the founders & the CTO of Walking Men, is in place here, as he hinted these features in one of his emails. Nicolas is a great example of a dream customer – so here’s to you!

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Continuous Feedback through Continuous Deployment

When you’re developing a product, you’re constantly surrounded by questions like, “How can I improve my product?”, and consequently, “What’s the next step to take?”. There are 2 ways to answer these questions:

  1. Ask your customers
  2. Decide yourself

Ask your customers

Asking your customers appears like the better solution: You’re building the product for your customers, so they should know what they need. Unfortunately, they don’t. Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, once said:

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

Your customers are biased with current solutions for their problems, that’s why you can’t expect true innovation from them.

Decide yourself

It’s your task to innovate, not your customers’. The problem is that you don’t understand your customers’ problems entirely in advance. Your most important task as product developer is to learn to understand your customers better than they understand themselves. Make a hypothesis about what your customers need and then try to prove (or even better: refute) this hypothesis. A hypothesis is always a guess, but you will become better and better at guessing the more you validate. Continue Reading “Continuous Feedback through Continuous Deployment”

How Web Design Really Works

I had a strange epiphany the other day when I was discussing Web design and feedback tools with a friend who just happens to be an excellent designer and has run his own agency for years. I had always thought I knew what he did for a living, but when we began to walk through the design process, and how he spent his day, I realized I knew next to nothing. The discussion started off with some verbiage about Web governance, requirements analysis, blah blah blah, and then I asked, point blank:

‘No, I really just want to know what you do all day. Really, minute-by-minute, what does your job look like?’

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The dark side of inbox zero

Or: when your colleague’s inbox zero bliss results in inbox hell for you

In the startup world, when you mention that you’re working towards / or you have reached ‘inbox zero’, you’ll get some admiring nods from whoever is listening to you. Not from me though. I’ll let you in on a secret: inbox zero is a lie. Why? Because answering all your mails – preferably before 8 am so no-one will be up to write a reply – means you’ll create ‘inbox overflow’ for your co-workers. Just pushing unreads back and forth is not going to ‘fix’ email (yes, it’s broken).

Chief Email Officer

Our CEO often jokes that the ‘E’ in his job title stands for ‘Email’. Working on the same desk, I do see a constant stream of messages coming in on his screen. There’s very little you can do about the email behavior of your clients, business contacts or external email fanatics. The very least we – as a team – can do is creating filters and stop bothering each other with loads of non-descriptive emails and funsies (or maybe create a chat room for that sort of things – one that you can mute). Continue Reading “The dark side of inbox zero”

Getting things done with Asana and Usersnap

Asana is a shared task list for your team, keeping everyone on the same page. Asana’s mission is to empower humanity to do great things. Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, both Facebook alumni, created the project management tool to help take that step; to improve the productivity of individuals and groups. Implementing it at Facebook, the results were promising: fewer meetings, the volume of emails went down and the teams got more done with less effort.

Now we are all-in for less emails, especially the ones that come with a subject along the lines of “It does not work, FIX IT“. To help your visitors, customers, and team members describe what they (don’t) see on a page you need a visual feedback tool. Working with Asana already? That’s great, then we only have to connect your Usersnap account to your Asana dashboard!

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Remove the rust: Everything is new in August

The last few weeks we’ve been working on a redesign of our website, rethinking copy and opting for a cleaner design (inspired by Andrew Chen’s recent blog post). We killed a lot of darlings in the process, but happily so. We would love to hear your feedback on our new layout, but first, let me tell you about the driving force behind our redesign mission.

 

Meet Benedikt

Benedikt Reiter is the newest addition to the Usersnap team. He’s a UI/UX-Designer / Frontend Developer with a lot of knowledge of actual programming as well as design. And he’s a Photoshop black belt. Benedikt started developing web applications when he was 13, creating a “little Facebook, but much smaller and not that feature-full”, with about 1500 active users. At 15 he had his first customer.

Always into design and user experience, Benedikt attended the HTL in Perg (Austria) and today he’s about to start the Timebased and Interactive Media track at the University for Art and Industrial Design in Linz.

UX/UI and Responsive Web Design

Continue Reading “Remove the rust: Everything is new in August”