Saturday, 2 January 2016

App ratings and reviews

This blog post is on the app ratings and review systems on Apple iTunes, Google Play and Amazon App Store. All three of these stores provide a 5 star rating scale and a text review (title + body text).

The problems I see with the current review/rating systems are as follows:

  • Single score doesn’t communicate in much depth what the reviewer is trying to say
  • Single scores don’t benefit content discovery
  • Review text is unstructured

To improve upon the existing rating/review system, it's worth considering:

  • what the reviewers are trying to communicate
  • who the reviewers are communicating to
  • of that which is being communicated, which is the most important

What reviews/ratings are trying to communicate:

  • Quality
    • Look and feel / graphics
    • Features
    • Bugs
  • Extent of recommendation
  • Value for money
  • Ideas for the app / ideas for derivative apps
  • That there is / isn’t a market for future apps of this type

Who reviews/ratings are trying to communicate to:

  • Other potential customers
  • Developer
  • Other developers
  • The App Stores (typically to complain about an app)
What is most important:
  • For me, the most important thing that reviewers are communicating is the extend of recommendation

Suggestions for a better system

Each review would have the following sections:

  • Message to the developer (private)
  • Over-all rating (5 star scale)
  • Over-all review
  • Set of recommendations (see below)

Three-variable recommendation system:

  • Who the recommendation is for (tag-like system, when the user starts to type the name of a group, they're shown options to pick from) (e.g. fans of X)
  • Why you're recommending it / What you think they’ll get out of it
  • How much you're recommending it
Users would be able to follow recommendations streams to help them find new content.

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