Thoughts on the App Store Review System Changes

Responding to Reviews

Responding to reviews is a double edged sword. On one hand, it’s going to be great to respond to feature requests or angst about bugs with a simple “Thanks for the feedback, I’m working on an update to fix this, please stay tuned.”

But at the same time, one of the first things tought at the design school is to never argue with a user when asking for feedback, because every angry user brings some amount of design feedback that may benefit the design and it’s important to listen carefully. And responding to reviews, feels a little against that idea and I’m pretty sure that there’d be developers who end up arguing with customers. But then commenting responsibly is just a +1 to multi-faceted app development business.

A Review Request API

Getting reviews is hard Unless your app is very popular. Most of the reviews my app gets is when something or the other breaks in an update. (I received three negative reviews when an app update caused the today widget to crash sometimes but none in the updates that worked just fine got a positive review), one of the reasons for this has been that reviews are a bit out of the way to reach, you’ll only take that extra effort if you feel there’s a need to leave some feedback, if you are enjoying using the app, you’d hardly ever feel the need to give a review (unless the app is updated, that is when you’ll probably be visiting App Store again and be compelled to rate it)

With the new API developers who really care about building quality apps will get a good enough option to prompt users to rate the app. Apple’s guidelines ensure that the user atleast gives a rating and the 3 prompts per 365 days also ensures that the user isn’t unnecessarily badgered for reviews. I’m curious as to how the users will react to it.