How to get good user-testing feedback

In Bluefish, open source, Programming on January 12, 2013 by oli4444

One of the powerful aspects of open source software development is the fantastic end-user engagement. Many users use the bleeding edge code straight from the version control system for production work. Because of this, bugs in new code are quickly detected and solved long before a release. In the case of Bluefish I guess that more than 60% of the bugs is detected before release.

However, because these users do no formal testing but do production work, there is no guarantee that a new feature is actually used, and thus no guarantee that a new feature is actually tested. So you cannot conclude that the code is bug free if there are no bugs reported.

I would like to improve on the information position by collecting inforation what the users have actually used.

To collect this information for example a web application could be used where users can select which features of an application have been used. If a feature has been used, the user should be able to select some additional detail. In the case of Bluefish a user could for example select that the “toggle comment” feature has been used, after which the user can give more detail: added a line comment, removed a line comment, added a block comment, removed a block comment, with a selection, without a selection, etc.

I was searching for a web application to support this, but I haven’t found one. I expected something like this to exist already. Does anybody have a pointer how to collect this kind of end user testing information?

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3 Responses to “How to get good user-testing feedback”

  1. You’re basically describing a Test Case Management System. If you look for this, you might find some open source ones. But if you go into such details as “toggle comment button”, I wouldn’t expect much community involvement. You might receive more feedback if you use it for new features, instead of the existing (and trivial) ones.

    • Thanks for the pointer. I agree that the number of questions should be not too high, and thus the amount of detail not too high. The toggle comment feature is a feature that has had a lot of code changes for the next Bluefish release, so for this release it is an example where I would like to get some feedback if it has been tested (or not).

  2. We use only Google Analytics and such tools for the job. You only have to build a logical system for your application (routes). This is often used in tablet oder mobile apps as far as i know.

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