What are the good UI/UX elements of a web bug tracker?

Does anybody have an example of good web bug tracking UI or elements of good UX design of a bug tracker?

  • Paging @JoelSpolsky...
    – Rahul
    Aug 10, 2011 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


Oh yes, there are a lot of good bug tracking software out there!

One of the very first things you should do when you start a project is to investigate competitors and existing solutions. Not only to "steal ideas", but to make sure that the UX-goals for your new project is better than the existing solutions.

When it comes to bug tracking software, I guess that we all have used different homemade in-house solutions (along with that brilliant homemade CMS-system). Then we grow up and find out that the existing solutions are far better - and often completely free!

The best bug tracker software I have used is developed by the folks behind the StackExchange sites: FogBugz by Fog Creek Software is my favorite - hands down!

Ta a look at Joel Spolsky's presentation.

That said (and I guess that was the answer to your second question), you should not focus on the UI-elements when you design that kind of software. It is user you should focus on, and the workflow context in which the software shall be used. I really cannot emphasize that enough: Think user and task!

Is this software made for developers who enters various todo items while they debug and develop other solutions? Is it the support staff that is supposed to log bugz while they help customers with various problems? Is is intended to be a self-reporting solution where the users can register their findings and follow the progress? Who will confirm that the bug is OK? etc etc. All of these questions will determine the success criteria for your project.

Did I mention user and task before GUI?

  • 1
    FogBugz is way cool. One of the biggest issues I see with bug trackers is that bugs get reported and then they get lost in the mix and don't really get easily tracked by any relationship other than it's own timeline or linked relationship with another bug, and it can be very difficult to get the 'big picture'. FogBugz really is a whole workflow environment. By watching what they have done in a decade, you could save yourself a whole heap of time and do it in maybe only 8 or 9 years :-) Aug 10, 2011 at 9:28

My favorite tool is Pivotal Tracker and here are a few of the reasons why:

  • No priorities (just an order in the list. Saying this bug is priority 3 vs 2 is a waste of brainpower)
  • Drag and drop re-ordering
  • Drag and drop adding an image to a bug
  • Comments

Beyond that, one of the big pain points with tracking bugs is having so many that you will never fix. I'd love to see a tool with automatic expiration of bugs. If you haven't fixed it in X amount of time, it gets deleted and you get a notification.

But yeah, without knowing more about your particular case and who you're targeting it's hard to give advice.


Are you looking to develop a new tool, or leverage an existing tool?

In either case, you may want to consider the following:

  • Who is your audience? Is this being developed and used internally for your organization, are you developing for a specific client, or are you developing software you are looking to distribute/sell?
  • Who will be using it? Developers, testers, product managers, support teams, etc. - this can help you define the features needed.
  • How will it be used in the business process? Thinking about this may help you define tasks and workflows.

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