Dealing with app reviews

In todays post I’d like to bring up the topic on how to deal with app reviews. The background for this is the first app I released, a few years ago, called myRemote. This is an app, which at the time, was created primarily because I wanted to control my Onkyo receiver with my Surface RT. As you probably can guess, it was created for Windows RT, and before I really knew too much of C# and .NET, so it was a bit of guesswork. When I released it, it basically was an app to send commands to the receiver, it did not read any data from it.

Over the years it turned out to be quite a few people downloading the app, from all around the world. As far as I know, it was the only app in the Windows store of this kind. It also received a lot of app reviews and feedback, both good and bad, which is what I will discuss throughout this post.

The way I see it, you can split feedback into two categories; constructive and non-constructive. Obviously you can get good, bad and neutral reviews in both of these categories, but I feel that those two are the top-level categories which you can use to separate how much you care about the comments.

Constructive

Constructive feedback is the kind of feedback that you can use to improve your app. Whether it is positive, negative (although I have mostly seen neutral or good feedback in this category) or neutral, you can usually get some tips as to how to do certain things, or new features you may add. People who give this kind of feedback typically likes the idea of the app and generally want to use the app, but they may want some additional features. One example I want to draw attention to is someone who left a positive review for the app in the Windows Store, and also sent me an e-mail asking if it was possible to add a feature to see what the current volume was (he was also very kind in his words in the e-mail, and is the primary reason I decided to upgrade the entire app, which I’m currently working on).

Non-constructive

Non-constructive feedback is feedback that does nothing in terms of suggesting improvements or new features. This can be of simply “Great app!”, to the more negative types like “This app sucks. I hate it” (I have yet to receive the latter!). Obviously it makes me very happy to receive positive feedback, but more negative feedback in this category is something I generally try to avoid caring about. I remember the first bad review I got, where I was a bit offended. “Here I’ve spent all this time working on this app, describing the functionality in the description, and you tell me it’s shit?” I quickly realized that I shouldn’t care too much about it. People will always criticize, for several reasons (which probably could fill another post), so it is important to be able to see past negative, non-constructive feedback.

Summary

At the end of the day I guess what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t read too much into negative, non-constructive app reviews, as this may tear your motivation apart. It is in the same lines of athletes or actors/actresses who I imagine try to avoid reading much news regarding themselves, as a way to avoid feeling down over negative stories. Do however consider constructive reviews, as they may improve your app, and also may give you an indication of what people expect from the app.

I am also curious to hear how you deal with app reviews, so please do share!

Featured photo by Stuart Miles, found at freedigitalphotos.net

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