As a company that designs and develops applications for both Android and iOS, we are constantly having people provide feedback about our apps, be it through the email feedback channels in our apps, or by comments in the Market or App Store respectively. Our users have shown that they are fantastic when it comes to providing feedback and ideas for improvement, as well as pointing out when there’s a nasty bug causing havoc.
However, despite how great these emails are to receive, the comments on our apps in the Market or App Store are not always as well thought out. Just last week, our Ultimate A-League app for Android was critiqued on the Android Market as such:
“So fast not very impressive. Two games finished for thee season, yet no scores shown.” – 1/5 stars
Putting aside the poor grammar, terrible spelling and wonderfully creative use of ‘ye olde english’, the fact is that this person was insinuating that our app wasn’t working properly, as live scores from this weekend’s A-League games weren’t appearing. Which would be a legitimate gripe, except for this line in the app description:
NOTE: This app doesn’t offer live A-League scores, as it clearly states above.
Now, I’m not sure how much clearer we can be when it comes to describing our apps, but I think that sentence is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. But the problem isn’t the sentence – it is that this person clearly didn’t read the description of the app, and simply assumed that it would do live scores and commentary for the A-League.
So, you might say, what impact does one poor review have on the numerous positive ones you’ve received? Well, unfortunately, when people find our app now in the Market, this is in the first few comments they see associated with our app, and those comments can mean the difference between a purchase and the potential customer going elsewhere. This is then compounded by the fact that neither the Android Market, nor the App Store, offer the ability for developers to respond directly to these comments, resolve them, and then have the comment removed so as not to damage the reputation of their app (a feature many developers, including us here at HDG, have been asking for).
The shortcomings of the Market not withstanding, the solution can be expressed in a quite simple ethos: read first, comment later. The description for most apps available today are just a few paragraphs long, and will take only mere seconds to read and comprehend. So I implore you, the people who download apps, to please read the description before making a disparaging comment. Because you might just find that it was an assumption on your behalf, and not developer error, that is to blame.