Speak to a developer about a bug you found instead of logging it in the tracking system
So, I didn’t find any bugs today.
But, someone else did! And they told us about it, instead of logging it.
Here’s the story.
(Excuse my poor photoshopping, I didn't really want to use 'real' screenshots for this one)
We wanted to add a banner to a certain page.
bit like this:
We already have a banner component we can use, so we just need to pop in the right image and text, and add it to the top of the page.
We deployed it to our test environment, it looked fine, so we were about to ship it to production - when a message came from one of our designers.
“Hey, the banner doesn’t look right - the image needs some padding”.
Turns out, that at a particular browser width (somewhere between 1000 and 1300 width), this is what happens - because there is no left-padding on the image and there should be.
We use this component in a lot of places - why have we never noticed?
So, we checked some other pages. Turns out…
…our banner isn’t really a banner, it’s a carousel - and every other usage of this carousel has two or more items.
Because we’ve only added one item, the carousel is “smart” enough to hide the arrows that usually provide the necessary padding.
So what we’ve found is a bug in our carousel!
What should we do about it then?
- We could cancel the release, fix the problem, and start over next week. (For business reasons though, that wasn’t really an option).
- We could release it anyway, a bit broken, and ship another release to fix it on Monday.
- Or, we could fix it right now.
Fortunately, it’s an easy fix. If there’s only one item, add some left-padding.
Could it wait though?
Some might say yes. It’s not a functional problem, the product still works, and the banner communicates the right information. It just looks a bit weird in certain circumstances.
But, visual bugs like this are not entirely insignificant - they can have a really serious effect, particularly on new or potential customers. Small visual inconsistencies (misaligned images, weird text breaks) can easily erode the confidence a customer has in the product or company.
So, we opted to fix it. We have a pretty efficient deployment pipeline, so it was very easy for one of our developers to merge in the fix, retest in our testing environment, and once everyone was happy, fire it off to production.
That’s a really long winded story, but the point of it all is this: the bug was never logged anywhere. It was found, it was fixed, nobody will ever know.
Except you, I guess. I trust that you’ll keep this to yourself. Thanks :)