What a quick and easy process is leaving a review for an app you installed! It usually takes only a few seconds, maybe a minute or two, if you want to write a more elaborate review. But, the most important question – in my opinion – is if the review is actually helpful?
Superfluous or naive reviews
It needs to be helpful towards the developer of the app and also other people who are considering installing that particular app.
I often see superfluous or naive reviews, hateful or sometimes really puzzling. For example, I searched for an app that can help me tune a guitar. A particular app had many 5 star reviews, a few 4 star reviews, and some 1 star reviews. Those last ones were really interesting. And unhelpful. “Doesn’t work”, “Stupid” and “Garbage” were some of those reviews.
As a developer, you want your app to work on all devices in the world. That is impossible. What you can do, however, is to minimize the number of devices where your app doesn’t work. If you know what the problem is, you can fix it or at least address it in some way. Those above reviews won’t help the developer to fix the app for those particular devices (or users). Those reviews can also crush an app that has been recently launched and doesn’t have enough positive reviews to encourage users to check it out – even if that app runs perfectly on 90% of devices.
A quick look behind the curtain
As a developer, it can be really frustrating to see bad reviews that are not helping me fix bugs or other problems. Especially since it is very easy to correct that, it all starts with the attitude of the end user.
After installing that shiny app that looks great in the screenshots and doesn’t work as expected – how do you react as an end user – what do you want to happen in that moment? Do you want to do something that will lead to the app working, or do you want to take your frustration on someone (i.e. the developer)? Do you uninstall the app and start the search anew, or do you keep it on your device and wait for new updates?
We all prefer the path of least resistance, but a tiny bit of effort can improve all things significantly, for everyone involved.
Write those 1 star reviews, if needed, but add details of the problem you encountered. Add little details along the way, that will help the developer to create a scenario where the app fails to work properly, and thus enabling him to fix it.