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Windows Phone 8.1 may allow developers to directly respond to store feedback

Developer Response

A week from now we’ll be packing our bags and getting ready to head to San Francisco. This is where Microsoft’s 2014 Build conference will take place. The focus is on developers and upcoming product innovation Microsoft is making for them. We’ll see what Microsoft has in store not just for developers, but consumers as well, when they unveil Window Phone 8.1.

Not only will developers be treated to an updated mobile operating system with new APIs and features, but we’ll also see changes on the backend. Changes to the Windows Phone Dev Center are expected to come as well.

The ability to reply to a user review in the Windows Phone Store is one change we’re sure a lot of developers would like. It’s easy for consumers to leave a bad review in the Windows Phone Store if they don’t read the app description. Developers would probably like to engage directly with consumers who prefer to leave feedback in the Windows Phone Store vs. other mediums like email, Twitter or UserVoice.

Our friends over at Windows Phone Daily spotted an interesting change in the Window Phone Store. You’re redirected to Internet Explorer if you try to report a concern over an app in the Window Phone Store to Microsoft. Here you’ll help Microsoft understand what the issue with an app is. You can mark ‘offensive content’ or ‘poor performance’ as the reason you’d like Microsoft to look into a given app. However a new option is the ability to select ‘Inappropriate developer response to my review’.

Last we checked, developers couldn’t respond to review in the Windows Phone Store. This could be an upcoming feature that Microsoft plans to support with Windows Phone 8.1 and updates to Dev Center.

Any developer out there looking forward to direct engagement with customers? Sound off below.

Source: Windows Phone Daily

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Reader comments

Windows Phone 8.1 may allow developers to directly respond to store feedback

158 Comments

Aaahhhh.. I can't wait!!!!!!!

Quickly tell me a way to make a week feel like 7 seconds! I've tried playing Halo SA, MC4, Asphlat 8... nothing helps.

I hope you have a benevolent carrier that will upgrade your phone in the first few weeks. My understand is that although 8.1 will be available to all WP8 devices! It will be down to the carriers to actually roll it out.
Its not really in there interests to roll out a major OS update from a minor player to phones over a year old.
They want you to sign new contracts and buy new phones. They have zero interest in breathing new life to the 920s or the 925s of this world

Actually, with US carriers subsidizing phones on contract it's really in the carrier's best interest to have us keep our old phones as long as possible.

Can't comment on the States but in Europe the cost of the phone is factored into the monthly payment! With contracts typically ranging from 18/24 months over that period you pay considerably more for the phone than you would if you bought it direct from the supplier

You need to look at O2 and their refresh contracts. The phone and the mobile plan are split, you have two contracts to sign. I currently pay some money for the phone and a smaller amount for the tariff. If I want to I can pay off the phone tomorrow and just pay the tariff for the remainder. Makes upgrading very easy.
 

Additionally, they didnt seem to be charging me anything over RRP for the phone. On the contract the phone was listed at its RRP and monthly cost devised by substracting the upfront cost (£130) and then division of remainder by 24 (2 year contract). Not sure what is in it for O2 if they are not adding interest to what is effectively a loan. 

I agree. Carriers want consumers to bring their own devices. They make money on service not subsidized phone sales. T-Mobile started this and everyone is following in their foot steps.

Yeah, but as big as the 920/925 is to the platform they, they being MS/Nokia/Carriers, most definitely are gonna get their top phones updated first.... Interestingly enough, I've noticed with the GDR updates that the HTC devices got updated first in the past... Sprint, and Verizon are usually first, followed by the rest of the world, then T-mobile, and finally AT&T.... At least that's what I've noticed.

Indeed. I'd like to see MS take a more Apple like approach and control the software updates for their devices themselves. I.e. It is Apple who push the updates to their devices, it is not left up to the carrier. IMO iOS is all the better for this and its one of the reasons Android has ended up as such a hodgepodge of OS versions. 

Thankfully, I think O2 (my carrier) are pretty on the ball with most things. Although my Lumia 1520 came out the box with the black update, the small update we got not so long ago was pushed to the phone within a day of release. Hopefully this bodes well for WP8.1

I've already changed my work device to the icon and it one solid device. I'm really hoping for a surface phone disguised as a Lumia soon : ) this will be my personal cell

Yes this will be much appreciated,, because unfortunately it is mostly people that are unhappy with your app that are more inclined to rate them, and some of that is just pure stupidity.. Like I have one app where a user gave it 1 star because when they tried to log in it said wrong username or password and then they tried to make a new user and it said that user already exists... Would be nice if I could just reply and tell them to click forgotten password..

It would be helpful for users that may need guidance or just give a bad review because they are the problem and don't realize it ;)

+1. I get the ocassional 1 star review with no constructive comments. Would like some real feedback from these people apart from just "rubbish" ha

They should make it as a small social network, where everyone can respond to anyone, more like reddit, up vote, down vote, and interact with each others....

 

Oh wait, APP Social does that, way to go nokia, realizing needs way before they accur.

Amazon has the "Review was useful" feature. You can use that not only to move those one word unhelpful reviews to the bottom but also to give them less weight in the app rating

Yes, you right and also there should be another option for users to reply on user ratings because i have seen many misleading ratings even if the app is good

Agree. I find it totally frustrating to read about someone stuck with something, because they didnt find the setting in the Settings page that can give the behaviour they want. And they refuse to just click the 'comment' button in the app, that allows them to put this question to me directly.

BTW, any devs finding this: if you provide a UI to allow users to mail you (which just lanches the email client with a subject you provided). Do you receive a lot of empty mails, where they just hit 'send' without writing anyting? Almost as though they accidentally clicked the 'mail' button in my app, then accidentally chose the email client they want to use as well, then were surprised to see a new email open, and found it easier to hit send than to hit the back button. Very strange. I get like 20 per day.

Here I thought chain forwards were annoying i.e "forward this to 10 people and your wish will come true" - incredible people fall for that crap lol. Getting spammed with empty emails is even more annoying lol.

This was much needed , people comment and leave negative rating without reading the description , many have bugs and leave low rating , great now dev can respond to comments just like play store :p

It's about time. Look how effective seller's responses are on Amazon and Newegg. It not only gives developers a voice bit also potential customers can see if the developer responds to feedback. Most of the time people leave bug complaints in reviews, not the best place for it.

That would be helpful so the user can change review when problem is fixed of if they were the problem and now understand the app.

Also there should be uninstall button and redesign of the store is needed. Look at google play store, how colorful and beatiful is, while wp store is pretty boring

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Yes, I agree with you. To some extent, it is the same case with the Windows Store too. I've seen some images of the Mac App Store, & it looks really beautiful. Actually, WP needs colours throughout the OS, not solid colours but shiny & glowing ones(I can't seem to find a proper term).

If you want kitchy colors and ugly fonts, get a samsung. I like WP BECAUSE it's minimalistic and to-the-point, so you don't have to hunt the correct button, because it'd get lost in all the color and beauty..

An uninstall buttons would be okay to have, though it's kinda pointless because there's quicker way to do it, I'd rather have the 'open' button once it installs or recently installed apps highlighted, like whats supposedly comming in 8.1

Bullshit reply. WP got extremly boring lookwise. devs need inspiration to design apps, microsoft delivers none. Ever tried to find good material on designing WP apps on windows dev page? Lackluster at best. I design apps I know how hard it is to come up with a unique design. People hate those black and white apps, people hate the storedesign.

Nope, I like the minimalistic store design. Go get an android if you don't like it. Don't clutter my stuff. Thanks

MS has a very clear design that can be found in all their firstparty apps. If you dont like it then maybe WP isnt for you. Personally its the reason why I switched. Naturally there is room for improvement but the design is clear. MS provides a lot of material to help you get started.

I believe they are planing to stream it to: http://www.buildwindows.com/ judging by when you tap the "modify your registration button" it goes to a page asking you to login but also says "Didn't make it? Keep Calm and Watch online" so I guess they're planing to stream it!

I hope there is a way for the reviewer to opt out of this. As a developer I appreciate this feature, but can imagine some people not reviewing an app at all because of this. Options are always a great way!

Err ... What do you mean by reviewer opt out of this? So the reviewer can leave their review without any reply?

If yes, that's one hole to exploit. What if the reviewer IS ignorant users (which is many) and leave any misleading review? Even some of them use harsh wording? If this kind of reviewer can opt out from getting response, the devs also need feature to delete this unreasonable reviews to counter it. Guess what? Another hole to exploit where devs can always delete any review they don't like.

Ability to reply reviews is great to tackle those two exploit. Users need to behave when leaving reviews and developer can response when occasionally exist a review that need direct answer to prevent misleading continuously exist.

You so mean reviewers with no valid feedback can opt out. I mean they are the only people who would be scared of a reply.

I'd prefer updates to apps that I've reported. There is at least one publisher (Gamehot) that copies name and description from popular free games on other platforms. They charge for the apps too. The worst part is that they aren't even playable games.

Finally! It is a bit annoying to have a user leave a bad review just because they don't understand something. It will be great to be able to respond to those reviews to alleviate any confusion. It will also be nice to respond to those users that complain about a bug to tell them that it has been fixed in the latest version. Then they can update their rating if they so choose.

This! I fixed a bug that had been making one of my apps unusable for a user and i have no way to let him know i fixed it for him! Ha

That's cute, but what about being able to bookmark apps in the store?! This is MUCH more needed than the ability to give feedback!

Really why do you need to bookmark it when your there....just download it.. Or take a screenshot. Rather have the feedback option

Well, this sounds like a good one focused on user reviews and developers response but we need more for Windows Phone store. I often wonder why I need to download an entire app all over again just to update a bug fix! Instagram added lock screen support to its app and you need to download the entire app again for you to have the update, then they needed to fix the crashes resulting from the former, you downloaded the app again, and the third time there was another fix for same which meant you downloaded the entire app all over again three times....that's just not innovative enough. Microsoft of all software companies should know better how to handle it like in Google Play store. That's something to be looked into in future updates to the OS (maybe GDR1 for Windows Phone 8.1) or whatever they'll call it!

Everytime a huge game gets a bug fix, I have to use precious bandwidth to download the whole game again. This MUST change.

You're right, I could recall having to re-download the entire Asphalt 8 just for a bug fix, that's almost 800MB for maybe a bug fix of God knows!

My phone once ran out of battery while in the 'installing' phase (the huge 'bug fix' update had completed downloading) for Modern Combat 4. After switching the phone on, I found that MC4 wasn't in the games hub and the huge update had clogged storage space in the name of 'settings' app. I couldn't even download the game again because guess what, storage capacity wasn't enough. I had to remove some games to download MC4 again so as to remove the unused update data from the settings app. Then I had to download all those games again. The point is, just because of a single unsuccessful update, I had to use a quarter of my monthly bandwidth. Tell me that isn't bad.

Yes, I have a semi-limited broadband data plan. I chose speed over quantity. So I get 10mbps but data cap is at 8GB per month which once exhausted reduces the speed to 1mbps.

It's like that in other stores too, anyway if the bug is in (one of) the executables, you need to download the entire file again, that probably is the 90% of the app.

It's like that even in standard desktop OSs, incremental and partial downloads are hard to implement and there's not a real need for that to happen... you know providers are very happy to let you drain your bandwith to charge you more

Are you sure that it's like that in other stores? I have a Samsung Note 10.1 tablet and I don't download entire app or game when updating from Google Play. It's not hard to implement, Microsoft of all software companies know it's possible but the Internet Service Providers will not like it.

Even as a user, I am pained when I see pathetic, irrelevant or just plain stupid reviews left in the store. My biggest irritation is the scores of people complaining that 'Xbox 360 Smartglass' doesn't work with their Xbox One... -_-

We've implemented something similar in our Multi Window app, we call it User Voice. We take user comments from the store and respond to those comments in the app itself 

OK, reading this article, it is not very compelling proof that this will actually come about. It is something that could have been done relatively easily a long time ago. Microsoft have their reasons for not allowing replies - I would imagine primarliy because of the monitoring necessary to keep it clean. Just look at this forum from time to time, the insults, language and behaviour is often appalling. Noone wants to see that in the store reviews. Anyway, here's hoping they make it work...

That. would. be. great.

Especially to reviews saying "This app doesn't work"- how can you fix a problem like that if you don't know nothing.
 

I AM PREtty sure that at the time of Build, Google will announce some shit news - update of Android, ChromeOS, etc., to distract the attention from MS and WP and Windows, like Google did last year.

F U C K O F F. G O O G L E ! !

Bro build is Microsoft's conference right? So only Microsoft devices and services will be presented. Correct me if im wrong !!!!

Yes man, you are right. But I am sure Google will announce some "news" via Twitter and other his channels.I clearly remember what happened last year. MS was presentingsome new features of upcomming Win8 update etc. and and during the Build news from Google regarding Android update, ChromeOS, etc  started to apperar on Twitter, and other channels. I am pretty sure it wasnt coincidence... . it was purpose

I wonder how long before developers can generate redeemable codes for their apps/games. Would be helpful for convincing reviewers to review your app, or so a developer could do code giveaways to family/friends/loyal fans

you can easily do this yourself. all MSFT's api does is tell you that somebody is licensed for your app. You can choose to interpret the result as you wish. For instance you can check for the MSFT license api or you can check for a code they enter against your own server. then enable app features as needed and even make the trial fully functional. they can always buy the app later if they wish to support you :)

So I have to code a complicated workaround, meanwhile over at Apple I get free coupon codes. Hmmm...

Reviews should not be market specific. Right now all you see are reviews from your own market/country and I have apps in some markets where someone left an anonymous (no name) one star review with no explanation (global average is 4.3 stars) and I often wonder if this deters people in those markets from downloading. Never understood why this is so.

The dev center phone app now allows you to see reviews for a specific market you choose. Was quite a recent change. Helps a bit.

Only helps a developer. That is why I wonder what impact an unfair 1* has on a user deciding whether or not to buy an app even though the app has good reviews in other markets. The user should see it all because it is the same app everywhere.

If only there was this thing called a web browser that would let people reply to comments on the internet. maybe MSFT will get around inventing it.

Still little confused.... Plz help me out...
at April 2nd wp8.1 will be available for only developers or for everyone?? And if i have developer enabled account, Will i be able to get 8.1 at 2 April??

That's what I'm wondering....hopefully if they learned from apple it will be available within the coming days I mean there have been enough leaks already so people are testing it...again I hope!

With Apple all the devs are able to install the update and test their apps against it before its released. Microsoft have only issued the new SDK to a select few.

Restricting the WP81 SDK to a select few ISVs means one of two things:

a. They're delusional and think that the WP81 SDK is a "hot" product, and holding it back from the great unwashed developer masses will generate excitement - or -

b. The SDK was in such poor shape that releasing it now would cause problems later on

My vote is (b). The pre-release docs I saw were a terrible mismash of old and new, with links pointing in different directions (WP81 links pointing to W81 targets on MSDN).

I continue to be amazed how a company with 90,000+ employees can produce a product that looks like it came from a tiny, undermanned startup.

 

Dumb question.....when they reveal 8.1 how long will they drag their feet to get it to the phones? A few days? Weeks?

Finally!

I tell you what, I have an app in the store where someone left feedback stating "Stupid you shouldn't have to pay for it don't download".

It's a free app you freakin' troll!  I would sure like to be able to respond to that specific review.

It would also be nice if MS would remove such obviously don't provide any benefit to the app, the consumer or the store.

"A week from now we’ll be packing our bags and getting ready to head to San Francisco.."  I got pumped just reading this.  What else did you say Sam?

Well a lot of apps have no email support. So if you don't have a support email link, a dev deserves to get a bad review when there is a problem or a feature missing.

I thought email support was a requirement for all apps? If not then it should be part of the submission process.

Great to have this feature. On the flipside, it's not just about bad reviews. I've looked for dev contact info just so I can send them an email to say I love their app. DivvyUp is one such app.

Sadly nobody has talked about the time lag between rating/review and the period it shows up in the feed. When I review apps on Android/iOS, it doesn't take forever to show up in the review feed and I can edit my review later when app performance is satisfactory. MS should just leapfrog, enough of this catch up game!