Monday, May 21, 2012

How to respond to bad apps?

Update: In response to comments below and on Twitter, I've tried to clarify things better below.

What do you do when you find a bad app?

  • Engage with the developer to report why?
  • Leave a negative review?
  • Leave a low rating?
  • Uninstall it?
  • Just never launch it again?

What do you do?

I've started leaving 1 star reviews to bad apps, rather than just ignoring them.
I figure this helps serve as a warning to others who may download it.

If I know hte develoepr I'll talk to them but I just don't have the time to talk to everyone :(

Do you consider reviews when downloading an app? Is lots of bad reviews worse than no reviews?

I'd love to know your thoughts...

I also uninstall it, but that's just because I've got hundreds (not exagerating) of apps installed and I don't want the clutter.

Of course, if I come across an app which shouldn't be in the, marketplace in the first place I report it.

If you are/were the developer you'll want direct feedback, not a negative review.
That's a given. 
But what if we're talking about another persons app?
Imagine the app has so much wrong with it you don't know where to begin and haven't got the time to get in to a long discussion about why that's the case and all the ways the app could and should be improved.
This leaves 2 options:
1) do nothing
2) leave a low rating

In this scenario, what do you do?
If you do nothing then my theory is that there's a greater likelihood that someone else will waste part of their life tryint to use that app.
If you give a low rating they may think twice.

Yes, in an ideal world there would be the time to help everyone make a great app and developers would avoid the situation in the first place by taking the time to understand what makes a good app and to test their designs, assumptions and quality prior to releasing it. Unfortunately a quick look at any marketplace reminds us that we're not in a perfect world though.

Yes, if you're the developer you'll want a detailed description of why you've got a bad review but reviews aren't written for the developer. They're written to help other people get a feel of what other users think of the app before they download it.
If you're a developer of an app and you're getting bad reviews and don't know why then it's your responsibility to go and find out why. It's not the responsibility of the person giving the review.

 , th


  1. Anonymous1:51 pm

    Hello there Matt

    I totally agree. I have been frantically downloading trial apps for my Lumia, and being pretty scathing in reviewing them. It's not hard - most of them are absolute pony.

    However, it does mean I have explored about as far as it is possible to go in the Windows Mobile app world... and it's not very far! I hope that things pick up...


  2. Well... bad reviews are ok, if they explain the problem well enough.
    I rather have a mail, because that way I can contact the reviewer also! That is why I always put a mailing option in all of my apps.

    Also currently the reviewing system will not take into account fixes, in other words a bad review can keep an app down even though the problem has been fixed!

  3. Speaking as a (games) developer, low-star reviews with unhelpful comments are usless to me. Sure, not everyone likes every game.

    Every game I've published has a "feedback" option on the front screen, which links to my website, twitter, facebook, and direct email. After 30,000 downloads I've received one - yes just ONE - email from a frustrated player.

    MS really need a way for writers to be able to contact players for more information. Perhaps as an option when leaving feedback ("Would you like the developer to be able to contact you?")

  4. Paul
    But the reviews aren't there for you.

    If you're not getting feedback, it may down to the way you're asking for it. And if you're asking for it the same way in all your apps and it's not working in any of them...

    I can only imagine Microsoft adding such functionality if it helped them or the ecosystem in general. Developers already have a way to reach everyone who uses the app, not just those who leave a rating/review.

  5. Paul, you could always message their Gamertag asking what they don't like about your game. The worst that could happen is they don't respond.

  6. I always send a "feedback" to the developer if I have negative comments... else I rate it.

  7. I always send a "feedback" to the developer if I have negative comments... else I rate it.

  8. @Rajeev unfortunately not every app makes it easy to send feedback. :(

  9. Hey Matt,

    Even still after your clarification...
    Myself I would give a bad rating and state why, so the dev can fix it.

    But still as a dev I dislike the rating process, because with each new update of an app, old reviews ( maybe no longer relevant ) stay visible.

  10. Ok @Depechie, I'll bite. what are your apps?


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