Reporting usability defects-do reporters report what software developers need?

Nor Shahida Mohamad Yusop, John Grundy, Rajesh Vasa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Reporting usability defects can be a challenging task, especially in convincing the software developers that the reported defect actually requires attention. Stronger evidence in the form of specific details is often needed. However, research to date in software defect reporting has not investigated the value of capturing different information based on defect type. We surveyed practitioners in both open source communities and industrial software organizations about their usability defect reporting practices to better understand information needs to address usability defect reporting issues. Our analysis of 147 responses show that reporters often provide observed result, expected result and steps to reproduce when describing usability defects, similar to the way other types of defects are reported. However, reporters rarely provide usability-related information. In fact, reporters ranked cause of the problem is the most difficult information to provide followed by usability principle, video recoding, UI event trace and title. Conversely, software developers consider cause of the problem as the most helpful information for them to fix usability defects. Our statistical analysis reveals a substantial gap between what reporters provide and what software developers need when fixing usability defects. We propose some remedies to resolve this gap.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering 2016, Limerick, Ireland, EASE'16
EditorsBarbara Kitchenham, Stephen G. MacDonell
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450336918
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering 2016 - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 1 Jun 20163 Jun 2016
Conference number: 20th (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering 2016
Abbreviated titleEASE 2016
Internet address


  • Defect repository
  • Software quality
  • Usability defect reporting

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