IS Department

How NOT To Implement A Bug Submission Form

Posted in Uncategorized by Brian Russell on July 17, 2007

(Stay with me for a bit on this, I will get to the bug submission form)

We came across an issue where Adobe Acrobat isn’t rendering PDF files correctly.  The actual problem is some bolded words are rendered out on the screen a little fuzzy on either the top or bottom.  Here are some pictures:

Adobe at 143%: adobe 1 

Foxit at 143%: foxit 1

So I did the normal troubleshooting steps to identify whether the problem was the software or the actual file (as if it isn’t already obvious).  First thing I did was zoom-in to see if the fuzzyness was shown even up close:

Adobe at 300%: adobe 2

Foxit at 300%: foxit 2 

The fuzzyness that Adobe displayed went away once I zoomed in close enough.  Foxit looked good all the way through the zooming process.  So now I know the file is good, and it appears there is no arguing that Adobe Acrobat Professional is just screwing up at displaying this file.

OK, armed with that knowledge, I decided to let the Adobe team know about this issue.  I searched for their bug submission form.  I found the link through the forums.  They call it a “wishform” in the url….makes me feel real confident about the effort I am about to give to let them know about this issue.  At least the title on the page says “Feature Request/Bug Report Form”, so I continue on.

I start to fill this sucker out and realized there is no where to attach my PDF file so they can actually see the issue:

 adobe form

This is when I realized that there is no way for me to actually describe this problem to them with words alone.  What can I say? 

Uh, if you had my file, you could open it up and see the fuzzyness, but since you don’t, you are going to have to guess what I mean by fuzzyness.  Please do a good job, thanks!

Come on, how obvious can this be?  You are Adobe, the creators of the PDF.  You are allowing people to submit bugs for your “Viewing” application.  Don’t you think there is ever a time you would need to see a document and/or screenshot?

Unbelievable!  Great Job Adobe, you just got a big F- in my book!


3 Responses to 'How NOT To Implement A Bug Submission Form'

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  1. John Dowdell said,

    Going through public reports takes more time than you might imagine, and adding attachments usually mean the problem description decomposes to “Look at the enclosed file”.

    When you say “bold appears fuzzy”, then does this happen with some files, or all files? Are there font dependencies, and do you see the issue on more than one system?

    If it’s a problem with particular files, then knowing which PDF writer created it and which font options were chosen are the next step to making the problem occur on-demand.

    With a bug report we’re usually look for “How can other people make the problem occur too?” rather than just showing that there is a problem. That’s why the form asks for the 1-2-3 recipe someone else can use to make the problem occur too.

    tx, jd/adobe

  2. First John, thanks for the reply. It shows someone is out there looking and it isn’t a one way communication into Adobe.

    Now, I understand what you are saying when you state it takes time going through the public reports, but that is because you are a big company with millions of people using your software. You should have enough staff to handle this.

    Even after answering all the questions you entered into your comment, you will still end up asking me for the file won’t you? This is because in the end, even if you have all the words written down, seeing is ‘understanding’ when talking about a visual problem.

    I just think it would save tons of time and customer frustration if you would just go ahead and accept the file along with the bug report. If I ran the support department in Adobe, I would immediately make this change because from a customers point of view, it is frustrating trying to explain something you could plainly see if you just look at it.

    I did get a email response from someone asking for the file. We could have saved the round trip communication if I could have just submitted the issue. Now you ended up paying a support person to write me an email, receive my email, and bring up the support case again. If you are worried about time, you just wasted some.

    This is the point I am trying to make. You make it harder on both the customer and your support staff by not allowing me to submit screen shots and files.

  3. John Dowdell said,

    “You should have enough staff to handle this.”

    Software costs too much already.

    “You will still end up asking me for the file won’t you?”

    Not if it’s a configuration or usage issue. Those questions help screen any need for a file. (Your issue may not be, but such open addresses attract all sorts of files coming in, actually hindering the view of your file, should it be needed.)


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