Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Begging for App Ratings

Wil Shipley:

The total number of users who’ve rated this particular version is only six. Never mind that 113 people have rated our app before—if you look at the “all versions” rating, our rating is a much more acceptable four stars. But the “all versions” rating is hidden below the “current version” one. The “all versions” rating isn’t the one shown in the results matrix when you search the App Store. Nobody is ever going to click through to an app that’s showing one and a half stars to discover that its real rating is four stars.

[…]

From four stars to one and a half stars because of five users whose problems we really want to fix (or have already fixed).

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4 Comments

I don't see what the issue is with the fact that, by default, it's showing the rating for the latest version of the application.

If the latest update of an application is a piece of shit, why should it be balanced by the previous versions? You don't have a way to get the previous version on the App Store AFAIK (*).

This would have meant that the latest .0 major versions of Pages and Numbers would have been considered awesome when a lot of people who upgraded thought they just sucked.

Also, companies or developers are spending their time releasing minor updates of applications on the App Store either to gain some attention or because they are not able to release an application without some fucking bugs (I personally hate SourceTree for getting annoyed by regular minor updates whose sole purposes seem to be to fix bugs they introduced in previous minor updates). Therefore, I would consider it an interesting deterrent that only the ratings for the latest update are displayed. This could entice companies/developers to take time to release polished versions of their applications.

(*) that is unless your device can not support the latest version of the app and the developer made sure you could get the latest compatible version.

@someone It’s a tough problem. The ratings for the new version may not be representative of how all the users of the app would rate that version. So this can penalize a good app that just a few people are having problems with. On the other side, like iWork, the overall rating may not be representative of what most people think of the current version, because they haven’t re-rated it.

I thought the App Store had been changed so that minor updates don’t get much attention. I’m all for developers shipping bug fixes as soon as they are available. In many cases, the updates are necessitated by bugs in the OS or changes to other services or apps that the app integrates with, not necessarily anything the developer did wrong.

@michael One of the issues is that if you rated a previous version favorably, you don't have any reason to provide another review for a minor update. But if the minor update creates new issues, the probability your write a bad review is bigger.

One solution for both Apple and the 3rd party developers could be to have an option in iTunes Connect to not allow review for an application. The same way you can disable comments on blogs.

@someone Yes, it’s the “don't have any reason” that’s the source of the problem. I think people want ratings to represent a good sample of what all the purchasers of the app think of the current version. But, for a variety of reasons, we often don’t get a good sample.

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