More Ways to Test – Bugs Don’t Take Vacations

Last year, I blogged about bugs I’d found when planning a vacation. As it was that time of year for the Michigan Invasion from the grandkids, I realized it was planning and bug-finding time again.

Live Availability

Michigan has plenty of lakes and rivers where you can go out on on a boat. I found a site that had a good selection of boats for a decent price, and yes, there were boats available for the date I wanted! So I filled in my details and pressed BOOK IT–only to get an email a couple of hours later saying all boats were booked for that date.

So the “live availability” section of the website was not accurate and was not kept up to date. Did it actually function? Was it a problem of not filling in the data?

Not having access to the system, I couldn’t answer the question of why it didn’t work, but I did know the result. With plenty of lakes and rivers to choose from, I found another location, and the first company lost a customer.

Lesson: Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. If you offer a feature on your site–or in your marketing–then make sure it is present and it works as expected.

Address Not Found

Having found a boat to rent, I had to get to the water. I plugged the address from the website into my GPS and saw, “Address not found.”

A bit of Googling and typing in a nearby town rather than the one listed on the site made it visible to the GPS.

I’ve noticed that some sites do seem to have tested their address on a GPS as there are warnings that the GPS will send you the wrong way or down a track rather than a road.

Lesson: Data on your site is more than just user data. It includes items such as contact email, address, phone number, etc. Check all of these, and correct and work out which systems can interact with them.

No Confirmation

Another site that had working LIVE AVAILABILITY neglected to send me a confirmation email. After I contacted the site, they were able to find my name in the booking system and said they would contact the site admins to find out why emails were not going out.

Do you have monitoring in place to check this?

Lesson: Set up ways to check that the product site is in a good state–as outlined in this blog post.


Only one of the scenarios above resulted in the loss of a customer, but it was a reminder to me of how connected systems are these days and how many interactions and types of interactions with different kinds of failures are possible.

Do you always manage to relax on vacation or do you find yourself having some ideas for work when you’re away? Let me know in the comments.

Looking for more ways to test? Read some of the other posts in this series: