London Bus Pal

Devastation of bad reviews

Reviews on the Google Play store since the release of London Bus Pal 4 has been disappointing (it has only been four days since release, but the reviews have been generally negative). At least it feels that way!

I have been moping around all day and I have lost all motivation to improve things.

Six reviews in and my average is 2.5 stars – the last six reviews of version 3.2.11 average 4.67 stars. Bad reviews really hit me hard, because I spend a lot of time thinking about my users and what they would want. I am constantly told by my advertising provider that I can make so much more money with interstitial ads, but I refuse, because I would never want to annoy a user.

As I am full-time employed, I can only work on my app in my free time. This takes quite a lot of energy at times, especially if all I want to do is take some time out. But when users are facing issues, I want to fix it for them.

There is also an unfortunate problem with the rating system. As it stands, anything which is not a 5 star rating, takes my average down. I don’t necessarily agree that every rating should be 5 stars, but I always think about what those 4 star ratings are doing to my average. That said, I am thankful for those 4 star ratings!

Because of the large number of apps on the Google Play store which are of poor quality or just plainly unusable, I feel that giving me a 1 star review is comparing me to those publishers.

How do I rate other apps?

Given that we only have 5 stars to play with, there isn’t too much scope to play with, so the difference between poor quality apps and good apps is quite small. Here is my baseline for rating apps:

  • 1 star – the app does not do what it is meant to do
  • 2 stars – the app is clearly missing much functionality or bugs / poor usability get in the way of full use
  • 3 stars – the app does most of what it is meant to do, but with some missing functionality or poor usability hindering use
  • 4 stars – the app does what it is meant to do but for whatever reason I couldn’t give it 5 stars (usually a crash or frustrating usability)
  • 5 stars – the app does exactly what I want it to do

Those are my baselines and I would then subtract stars for negative issues such as crashing, excessive battery usage, unneccessary permission requests, excessive advertising or deceptive practices.