If you've ever released an app - or, indeed, any creative work - you know that one of the worst things you can do is read its reviews.
Oh, yes, sure - it's important to listen to your customers, it's vital to act on their feedback, and you should always take their suggestions seriously. But when it comes to reviews... well... perhaps it's best to ignore them. Start reading them and you'll find that they follow the exact same pattern as the bottom half of the Internet - vain, vexatious, and vicious.
If you're an average customer, reviews can be worse than useless for determining whether an app is any good. It can be hard to determine if a negative review is the fault of the app - or the user's phone. Is the reviewer the sort of cretin who complains that a £0.99 app doesn't have the same polish as a £40 video game? Has the reviewer misspelt even the most basic words? These are all warning signs that a reviewer should not be trusted.
Yet, even knowing all these things, it's easy to be seduced by a negative or positive review that sounds plausible but is what we in the industry call "total unmitigated bollocks."
So, gentle reader, I present perhaps the best app review in the Google Play App Store.
Do let me know if you've spotted a better one!
How do we counter this? Is there some objective method by which we can tell if an app is any good? Can we create a series of real world metrics?
- How many crash reports an app has sent.
- Whether people uninstall the app quickly after installation.
- The number of time the app is used per month.
- Average session length when the app is used.
- If users reinstall the app when they move phone.
Those are just some sketched out ideas - I'm sure there are many more criteria to pick from.
User reviews have their place - but they're no substitute for accurate and objective metrics.