Consumer review etiquette on the Windows Phone Store

That's right, folks. We're firing up an article on user review etiquette. Why, you ask? We've had numerous developers complain that consumers simply don't pay attention to information provided on the Windows Phone Store. This is prior to downloading trials or purchasing apps and they then leave negative feedback, which is viewable by the general public. We've noted this ourselves when browsing the catalogue.

Our own Jay Bennett has had this issue with the official Windows Phone Central app, so we figured we'd talk about how you can help make the review system less skewed for others to rely on, as well as improving the overall store experience for everyone (including developers). If you're one to quickly jump the gun and add a one-star review on apps and games then this resource is for you.

We essentially hope to prevent the following on the store:

Screenshot shared by maximus-throwaway on Reddit

If you can't quite figure out what's wrong with the reviews above, you've got three that state the app doesn't work on older Windows Phones (note the "Works with: Windows Phone 8" in the left sidebar?) and one complaining about it not supporting the UK. We've had talks with numerous developers who actively check the store for reviews such as the above and attempt to publish responses.

There are times when developers may list their apps in the wrong regions and may forget to include information detailing restrictions and limitations. This is when reviews and feedback can make a difference. Something along the lines of: "the app is listed on the UK store, but the region isn't supported" would work, along with a message sent to the developer. 

What consumers have to remember is each review is permanent. Should you push through a one-star review, it'll stick unless you visit that app page and change your mind.

How can you improve your reviewing?

We're not necessarily suggesting anyone is a "bad" reviewer, but there are ways to improve the quality of reviews left on app listings. We've compiled a short list below that will help ensure the notes you leave behind will be well worth the read for both consumers and developers:

  • Be sure to double and triple check requirements and region restrictions for the app in question (is it Windows Phone 8 only?).
  • Look at other reviews before downloading / purchasing an app from the store for potential issues.
  • Read the app description for limitations with a free trial (if available).
  • Attempt to contact the developer (if possible) before leaving a review about a bug or issue.
  • Should an update be released that fixes your problem, be sure to alter your review accordingly.
  • Don't leave pointless messages that don't help anyone.

Be sensible. Be informative. Be considerate.

How can developers improve user reviewing?

Developers can be at fault when it comes to negative reviews. When things don't work or when information isn't provided before downloads are carried out, it can be frustrating to the customer (especially if they're forking out money). The best practice is to ensure that the app (or game) description is in-depth enough to provide details as to what the content is and who it's for. Microsoft already provides a useful guide that's well worth checking out - MSDN is your friend.

Be sure to only submit and make your apps available in regions that are either supported or targeted. If you have your app available worldwide and is only useful in a specific region, be sure to state this clearly. Beta testing can also help discover incompatibilities with hardware, etc. and the Windows Phone Central community forum is a great place to find some testers. Lastly, and possibly more importantly, ensure it's easy for consumers to get in contact with you.

You've got to go one step further for your customer. This is your hard work that you're publishing after all. Here's a handy quote from our Jay Bennett:

"Developers need to make it easy to get in touch with them, and app users should endeavour to contact support when they have problems rather than rush to the ratings system. It's far more productive and will lead to better products rather than beaten down developers."

How can Microsoft improve user reviewing?

As well as consumers looking at how they review apps and games, there are also a few suggestions that Microsoft could note down and implement. To help combat against those stubborn souls who probably won't read this article, we could implement a rating system, which is already featured on the Windows Store. Users could rate other reviews, giving a thumbs down to those who simply don't pay attention (this could then hide reviews after a threshold is reached).

As well as a review rating system, Redmond could also look to allow replies to other reviews. This would enable developers to respond to each complaint, as well as other consumers. Alerts could then be sent through the Store to notify the reviewer in question when a response is published. These are just two ideas that could help make app and game reviews more useful for both consumers and developers.

Consumers should always remember that you're marking down the work of others. It's always best to be honest, but also considerate and not to simply rant away in the feedback form because you didn't read the requirements correctly.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Finally someone speaks, its sad when good apps get bad reviews from people not reading the details. I have found many good apps that people marked negative.
  • 0/10, horrible comment, can't even read. - Sent from Netscape Navigator
  • Haha
  • 0/10, I'm at work and you should feel bad for me too.
  • LOL! You made my day. 
  • Yeah.. If I have a problem with a app I always contact the developer first just to see if they will fix it.. If its not tended to, like wp7 Applist, then I will give it a honest review.
  • I agree. Since windows phone tries to get the first time smartphone buyers ever, it might be the reason why. But no matter how unfamiliar you are with your smartphone, it is a common sense that you read your product descriptions before you buy anything. People who doesn't do that is beyond me.
  • Exactly. With my own Blood Pressure app I got 1 star ratings from people expecting it to actually PERFORM the measurement - something I never claimed nor hinted at in the description. It never crossed my mind that someone would actually believe that it is possible to meassure blood pressure with a smart phone.
    With the latest update I updated the description to explicitly state that you can't measure blood pressure and added a full help page to the app explaining that this is something that isn't possible at all. I'm currious to see if this will really help (or if this isn't read at all).
    As a developer I'd really like a way to reply to a review. My idea would be a private reply mailed to the original poster (without giving the address to the dev). This way one would have a chance to explain and maybe make the reviewer change his rating or to get in touch to understand what really was the problem.
    For example in my case I first got a few "doesn't work" 1 star reviews and only after a review stating the he expects to actually perform the meassurement I understood what the source of the problem was.
  • I think it's not a problem with apps or the store. The people are the problem. They compain about everything on the internet. Everywhere. They give a sh*t about the other side( programmer, video creator, fotograf, artists). They don't see the internet as a world where you should be polite. Instead they spit in someones face directly by posting negativ things. They dont even come back to discuss. Make comment and leave.
    It's all over in the internet. In every forum, video platform, how to service... everywhere . That really makes me angry and i would like to spit in their face in reality to make them realise how it feels.
    You could now say to my: "Just simple ignore it". But if some is unfriendly, even to a stranger, i can't sit on my chair without raising my voice in realtiy. Thats the same in the internet.
    As a youtube channel admin i delete all the unrelated and unfriedly comments if they don't give a reason for their compaint. Some may call it censorship but for me it's cleaning the garbage and making youtube a friendlier place.
  • Much as I would love to agree with article, I find it very difficult to take in the views of writer that are marked by true disregard for what the consumers are saying. Reviews are about consumer feedback about a product which feedback is based on how well a product meets a consumer's expectations (whether high or not) not other way around ("appreciation of other people's work" as mentioned by writer). Developers want good reviews for sales, i appreciate that, but what sells more sustainably is meeting consumer expectations. A user with a WP7 or 7.5 still expects same user experience & has same expectations as one with WP8. Hence, they expect a product that works just as well on their platform since they are probably not thinking about upgrading soon. By a Developer supporting only a certain category of users, they should expect negative reviews from disenfranchised consumers!! Disclaimers, communication of specs and requirements helps but not entirely as they just try to limit what consumers want and should ask for.
    As mentioned in article, replies and alerts could greatly help because that fosters direct interaction between developer & users which improves overall experience for consumers.
  • I disagree. A user on wp7 should not expect the Same experience as anyone wp8. That's just wishful thinking seeing as they are different beasts
  • DKJr said- "A user with wp7 or 7.5 still expects same user experience & has same expectations as one with WP8"
    That is delusional thinking.  I am not going to go into detail other than that because that comment is just silly. 
    Additionally, the writer of the article is forwarding legit developer complaints. Would you expect someone to review a phone, a video game, a television from someone that never used the device or item?  How can anyone give a review for something they have NO experience with.  Is that not like giving a negative review for the Hot Dog Shack because they don't sell escargot, or because the person doesn't have the funds for the hotdog.  Haven't bothered to actually TRY the hotdogs, but screw it bad review for not having what I want, or can afford.  Rather silly, indeed. 
  • I don't think you are seeing the problem. It's like someone reviewing a banana and giving it a negative review because it didn't give them better reception on their TV when they ate it.
    People are giving it negative reviews for something it's not suposed to do.
  • LMAO. I mean it!
  • Yeah, I don't know if I can agree with this either. I think a review highlighing something not supporting WP7 is more an issue that a consumer should take up with Microsoft, not an app developer. Most of these types of reviews are because the store is not properly segmented between what type of device the consumer owns. The app development API got a lot more flexible in WP8 so there are actually types of apps that are not possible or prohibitively expensive to develop on WP7. "Why wont my current gen xbox run new xbox games?"
    "Why doesnt my old tv have 4k resolution?" These style of comments arent particularly fair, especially so when taken up with the wrong party
  • I've noticed a lot of game reviews that are 1 star because the game is not .99. There needs to be some sort of filter for reviews like these that have nothing to do with the app itself.
  • Exactly. MS or dev should be able to flag or answer incorrect information in reviews
  • +100 to this!
  • Also, "WHY is this not free!!" features a lot. You mean devs should do it for fun?
  • I've come across that a lot, a typical example is cocktail flow which is free on Android but £0.79 on Windows Phone. What people don't realise is that on Android some of the addon packs are free and others are premium packs that cost money but on Windows Phone all of the addon packs are free.
  • true, you actually have to pay for the software directly, not submit to a virtual frisking.
  • Exactly, seems as though Android users love a frisking though 
  • Yep, the sensible ones amongst us should be able to flag or report stupid reviews. Also, isn't there a delay between writing a review and it showing up? If so, someone must be reading it.
  • I agree, a "Was this review helpful?" with a clickable "Yes" or "No" answer would be a good option.
  • Yes.  Major online retailers provide this feature for user reviews.  I agree with Neo158, "was this helpful?"
  • the influx of iSheeps, which is good for WP's marketshare, but also declines the overall intelligence of the WP user base >.<
  • Another point: feature requests do not belong in reviews. Send them to the dev, via email, tweet, smoke singal, or any other way.
    Devs can't respond to reviews so there is no way to clarify what the person is asking for or to explain why something works the way it does, or why a feature can't be implemented.
  • Some apps there is no way to contact the developer. So leaving feature requests is the only way to get noticed. I do however update reviews when apps improve. Some developers do not reply to emails, so deserve bad reviews. Developer of TVShow has not responded to my emails about bugs. The bugs I reported are still there after 2 updates.
  • Every app should include a contact email, period. If there's no way to contact the developers, then they're just asking for negative feedback.
  • What bug is there in tvshow? Just curious (not the dev). I had no problems so far.
  • There is a bug whilst scrolling through shows, where you add shows. If you are going through a series to review if you have watched it, you click on the eye to say watched. Click the right arrow to the next episode the eye is still crossed, but the show is not watched. Good app but lack of response and those bugs meant I gave it 3 stars not 5.
  • LoL... +1 for smoke signals!
  • Yup. As a dev, I'm really appalled at the lack of action we can take for our apps both on Windows Store and Phone Store. I see reviews on other people's apps and it really ticks me off when someone clearly didn't read the description, missed a feature that was actually there, or some other inane unrelated-to-the-actual-app reason. I can't imagine how that dev feels about it.
    Microsoft needs to take it up a notch to improve the reviews and rating system.
  • +1000000
  • While I totally agree with you, people place too much significance on reviews and are too lazy/don't care enough to read anything other than reviews. While many of us can and do appreciate both your comment and the article, the reality is this is the new norm. We can complain all we want, but common decency has been falling apart since the launch of the app store and the iPhone really started to take off even more. They could maybe secretly scale/weight review based on how many people found each one helpful.
  • Not so much reviews; the star rating is what will kill an app. When I'm browsing the catalogue, I'm only going to click on 1) things that look very useful to me, 2) things that have nice icons, and 3) things with a good star rating. It's a shame that ratings aren't a great indicator.
  • I completely agree with you. My suggestion would be to weight the reviews (which would include their star ratings) based on how helpful people found the review. I suppose that might also force people to write something other than just click on a star. When I look at an app that I'm interested in, first thing I do is sort by most helpful. This eliminates people that are either fans or foes of the brand/developer right off the bat.
  • I agree with the article 100%. However, I also think that developers need to know how to properly publish their apps and not make them available to incompatible devices. I also hate when devs aren't available by email or Twitter or never respond to feedback. Not to say that's a universal problem, but let's make sure we point out both sides of the issue.
  • It for sure takes two to tango. Devs that are responsive are the best too. Easily finding their contact info should be required. 
  • Yes. My contact info is in the description, and in a link in each of my apps on the about page. I respond the same day I get the email,as well. I don't have time to implement all of the suggestions I get, but I do respond explaining why.
  • Can you give us an example where a developer didn't respond are that you couldn't email them.
  • Version 1.0 (I'm on right now, I've fixed it) of my App crashed on WP8, but there's no option to hide your app for WP8 devices... For example...
  • Another thing devs really have to take a long hard look at is the required services of the apps. I'm sick and tired of apps that require identities, locations, media libraries etc. etc. just to turn on the flashlight. If they actually use those things or not is irrelevant. The information is there to aid users in making an informed decision and as it is now, quite often, it's not possible. So a big THANK YOU to those devs who actually take the time to try and tick the right ones. But yes, I also agree with the article 100%. Some reviews are just mind boggling, in a bad way, and do not help anyone. Edit: Just thought about it, why aren't the services detected automagically? Any dev that could answer this? Or are the libraries referenced by default and you have to remove them if you don't need them? Is that why this is so common?
  • "1 Star - Why isn't this free?" has got to be the worst.
  • I don't find anything wrong with that comment. In regions like south east asia where we don't use credit cards,have windows phone but no option carrier billing are unable to purchase apps/games which are paid. That's why we need free apps or ones with ADVERTISEMENTS atleast.
  • That's your problem, not the devs, and you shouldn't leave a poor review because of it.
  • But if you didn't download the app, you couldn't review at all....
  • What do you mean with "we don't use credit cards" in South East Asia? My colleagues in Singapore, Vietnam, Hongkong etc. all use credit cards like a second nature.
    I think this is just a pretext to justify yourself not to buy any app but rather ask for freebies or even steal apps if technically possible. But the same is true for my German friends. They also used to claim that they could not buy apps as they did not use CCs. Which was their choice! They preferred not to. Now that two of the 4 operators in Germany offer carrier billing for WP and you can also add PayPal (which is then able to draw from your bank account) they have no excuse anymore.
  • So because you can't afford an app that means the app deserves onestar review? Makes sense.....sarcasm
  • +10000
  • Can't read the article font too small on my lumia 920 1 star /s
  • Pinch to zoom!
  • Lol, good morning ;-)
  • It's amusing to see a one-star "this app sucks because feature X is missing" when everyone else is praising feature X...
  • Props for this editorial! I have nothing to add since there's everything in it. The only problem: Those queer reviewers either won't read this article or they just won't change anything.
  • I'm SO glad to see WP central post an article about this! I've ranted several times (off this forum, of course) about reviewers ignoring the dev's instructions! I also despise the "Make it free" comment. You can't expect them to work for free...
  • Don't forget 1 star reviews that say nothing at all. 
    Or an app that gets a glowing review but they forget to give it any stars at all.
  • I give this article *****
    (that's not a swear word btw)
  • +9999
    The Philippine store is full of people who leave 1-word reviews.
  • Italian too...
  • Good Article.  Also, I think each "star" should be given some guidelines as to what qualifies it to be that star.  Think kind of like what you might see on a survey.  (ex. 3 Stars= Good app, some missing features or bugs, 4 Stars = Great app, some bugs, 5 Stars = Amazing App, does what it's supposed to, looking forward to additional features in the future)
    Currently, some people think 3 stars is a good grade while others think 5 stars is decent grade.  It's a bit too subjective.  While it's arguably ok for a reviewer to be somewhat subjective, I think MS should try to minimize subjectiveness in the grading system itself to help create uniformity in ratings.
  • I think this is the same issue that eBay sellers face. However, negative reviews on eBay can cost sellers BIG! I have a few suggestions:
    1. Implement a system in place, a simple email prompt. Meaning that when a reviewer wants to leave a 1-2 star review, a box pops up to ask if they would like to email the developer first or visit the apps help page? I think most ppl who really wanted the app will at least try to see if the problem's fixable.
    2.Also, there should be a limit to the number of 1 star reviews. In other words if someone has 50 apps, ALL apps shouldn't be 1 star reviewed.
    3. Maybe there should be a grace period to allow reviews, like 7 days after installation. Most apps have some sort of getting used to, and someone may find that they love it after 7 days.
    4. I see some reviews referring to updates which means that this is at least the second review that was made. Maybe there should be a poll after the update (works great after update, the same, or worse) instead of allowing the user to submit a new review after updating (even after uninstalling).
    5. You should only be allowed to review an app once......even if it was uninstalled and reinstalled.
    6. Maybe disable reviews in dev accounts (if it isn't already) to prevent unfair competitive reviews.
    These are just some suggestions: may not work for everyone...but I do know that eBay sellers really suffer from their review system and they had to implement some changes to improve it.
  • I agree with everything except #4 if they update the app are if I change my mind I have the right to update my review,it doesn't let you review twice as far as I know it just rewrites your original.
  • Oh ok. I don't remember updating my review...i do remember uninstalling and reinstalling an app and being asked to provide another review. But I know that the system doesn't know if you already reviewed because it was uninstalled...i see your point though...
  • But the system does know if uninstalled go to the website you will see every app you ever I stalled rather you kept it are not it even list the trial versions
  • The store knows that you reviewed it (unless you're using a different Microsoft account, that is), but the app, since a reinstall is a new install, doesn't know that you've already reviewed it.  The popup requesting a review is something the developer put in, not something that is automatic that the store does.  So when you click review, it will take you to what is called (to devs) a MarketplaceReviewTask, and will open the store to the review page for that app, where it will find your old review, and you are free to revise it.
    The reason the app doesn't know that you've reviewed it before is that an uninstall leaves (supposedly) nothing behind, so there's nothing there to tell the reinstalled app that it was already insalled on that phone.
  • It takes time about 24-48 hours before your review is visible. So if you install, write a review, uninstall and then reinstall, most likely you wont see your review just yet
  • Great article Rich & I'm agreeing 100% with you. Sometimes they give 1 star with not even writting anything.
  • WP developers are the best with support since 2010 I have had a few issues from time to time I click the support tab are whatever and email them 9-10 times I have a personal response with in an hr.i had an issue with a TiVo app not finding my box with in a couple hrs I had a new version emailed to me to try out..on android hell I'm still waiting for responses from 5 years ago
  • This is one area I wish MS would copy from Google and Apple. With each new app update, the ratings reset. Keep a historial rating for previous version of the app, but highlight the current ratings. Another thing they could add is the abiulity to rate reviews ala Google Play. 
    My biggest issue alas isn't even one star reviews, but fake five star reviews obviously left by some developers and their friends. These are pretty obvious, but they can alter the ranking of apps significantly.
  • Excellent point about resetting the reviews after updates. Quite often after an update the bad reviews are no longer relevant as the update may have fixed those issues. Agree with the fake reviews too. I saw an app once in the store and all the apps by the same developer were reviewed by the same 4 or 5 people with the same comments and 5star review. So obviously fake.
  • "Awesome app" ? why what did you like about it? your adding a revue then state what you like or dislike about it.
  • This is a great article. I believe this should be added to the section for developers... Always provide a change log when updating your app. Folks get excited to see app updates, seeing a list of changes makes the relationship between the developer and the buyer closer. I know it makes me more likely to buy the app and buy other apps from the same developer. Thanks.
  • Yes. Totally agree, change log fir uodates should be mandatory.
  • Nice try WP central but your app doesn't give double wide tile to 7.8 and the app lacks easy navigation. The apps with horrible designs deserve 1 star only. 
  • So any opposing comments to a given view is mocked? The democracy in here is overwhelming. See people,this is why you shouldn't fear giving bad reviews to developers (If the app is not upto the standards they have advertised.)
  • You do know that the double wide tile issue on 7.8 is a ms issue and a well known bug for the way the tiles are being created. Not all bugs are fixable immediately by the devs. Part of the point of the article is surely about contacting devs through various support options and allowing them to give a true response, not just leaving a crappy review when there isn't much that can be done about many people update the bad reviews when something has been fixed - not many!! Also remember that a bug might not be able to be fixed in the first update, another reason why contact with the dev is important, it will make you feel loved, give you information on the update, and the dev will feel glad that people care. Having said that, if the dev is too lazy to respond then screw them!!
  • There is an issue with our 7.8 tile on some devices, it's a horrific and long story but a fix is coming hopefully very soon
  • Yeee...and fast resume for wp8 :) ???
  • Probably not just yet as it introduces some problems with the way I've designed the app's navigation (it was based around the wp7 model waaaaaay back when). But it is planned
  • Coming from have the iPhone since it came out and reading reviews on the iphone's app store, the windows phone 8 store reviewers are the most negative reviewers that I've ever heard. It's A shame that they're not very open minded and positive
  • I have a suspicion that reviews in the Apple store are filtered and displayed according to 'relevance' or 'popularity'. Bad reviews will quickly sink downwards and be less visible.
    Amazon have their review system well polished. It publishes all reviews/comments and there is enough information for a person of reasonable intelligence to spot the genuine reviews from the trolls and chaff. Anyone can submit a comment on a review. The breakdown of the star ratings is invaluable. If you see plenty of 4/5 star ratings on a product, but the overall score is dragged down by a few 1 star reviews, and then you read those 1 star comments you can easily see what the truth is.
    There are a lot of good suggestions both in this article and the comments. The overriding message is that MS seriously need to overhaul their review system. It's equally as bad as the old Nokia/Ovi one, which we Nokia diehards know was absolutely dreadful.
  • How can someone with a Lumia 800 even comment on a WP8 app? You can only comment if you've downloaded and installed the app before - the store prevents incompatible devices from even getting that far. Unless they listed it in WP8 and 7.5 by mistake and changed it later? If they listed it in 7.5 by mistake then it's completely fair for 7.5 users to review it saying that it "doesn't work" because it actually doesn't!
  • Sad, but true.
  • That was my question as well.  Either the app was also available for WP 7.5/7.8 devices, but only listed Windows Phone 8 in the description, or the reviewers don't know the model numbers of their devices.
  • The main problem is the culture around marketplace: Firstly is hard to see some apps only released in U.S , even though they are supposed to be worldwide. For example,  almost 2 years since Plants vs Zombies release, and we stil dont have the option to buy here in Brazil. A huge market. Google Play we can even buy books using a national credit card. But Marketplace is a mess.
    Another point, only few developers offer updates with changelog. Changelog should not be optional, it might be mandatory. It is an obligation. Apps without changelog seems to me that they are developed by lazy people. They don't offer explanation, nothing. If a developer can't even explain why he is updating his app, I have to say that he is a shit dev. Yes, if he is lazy to write a changelog, imagine to recompile scripts. Hell.
    The last, developers are glasses. We , users, are slings. When you go to restaurant and order a shrimp you dont ask with the shrimp likes you. You simple buy it and eat it. Of corse, as for me, I am very polite with the developers, and I even write some reviews when they ask on the site that I work. But living among the trolls is the way to survive. They don't need to care about those reviews. Everybody who really love apps you find them good or not.  The last, MS should gives the downloads, better than look to shit reviews is to see a graphic showing the downloads. But I believe MS don't wanna show how pathetic is the downloads of some apps, because the stil low market share.
  • Wishing MS would filter out reviews like "Doesn't close when I hit back." That's part of their decision on how the OS and apps are supposed to work, but people leave 1 star reviews because apps don't have a "close" feature (well, most apps - apparently some got through MS with a way to allow closing).
    Love the idea of allowing email to Dev as an option instead of or in addition to a really low rating, as well as a "Dev Response" area. There are too many worthless low (or high) ratings for some apps that can badly hurt developers because there's no way to respond that the reviewer was just totally wrong.
    The idea to reset the ratings or somehow adjust them when the apps are updated has some merit as well. Version 1.0 of an app may be horrible, but if version 1.1 or 1.2 addresses those issues it would be nice to somehow start over from that point. Adobe Reader comes to mind here - version 1.0 was functional, but not great. When an update was released with new features, that would greatly change its rating because it was a significant improvement. Sadly, the updates stopped there for WP7.x, but the later release was definitely better.
  • This is why I lay attention to the date a review is posted. A review from last year may not carry as much weight as a review from last week.
  • IMO, as a developer, I think, "Doesn't close when I hit back," is a valid complaint. Yes, it should go to the developer first, through email if he provides one, but it violates the application certification guidelines if you override the back button and don't allow an app to close with the back button. I've seen this a few times, and it drives me nuts. Something else that also drives me nuts (but doesn't violate the guidelines), is when you hit back, and get a confirmation. Yes, I hit back so I want to leave. Just let me leave. Don't make me read your confirmation dialog and tap another button to do what should have happened when I hit back. It may not violate the certification guidelines, but it doesn't conform to the rest of the platform, and thus the user's expectations. /rant
  • Actually, as a user it IS my expectation these days to get a confirmation dialogue that asks if I really want to close an app if I tap the phone's Back button repeatedly. :-) When some devs started with it others followed and now I am totally used to it and it has grown on me.
  • There are FAR more apps that follow the design language of the phone, and back leaves the app without unnecessary dialog, than do it with a dialog. None of the native apps do it, so the proper way to write an app is to follow what was set out by Microsoft. The writers of the apps that you use have trained you with incorrect behavior.
  • Following the design language seems to be totally optional these days. Just look at Microsoft's Facebook Beta app. It does not look anything like a Metro app anymore.
  • OK, better example - how about if the app actually does close, but keeps a pretty decent history in its stack? Complaints that there is no way to force a close on an app (outside of the back button once the history stack is exhausted)? Those are part of the WP ecosystem and should be addressed by MS, not something that dings the app/developer as they're doing what they're supposed to do.
    I used a Scrum Poker tool - first version worked reasonably well and kept very little history. It was then updated so almost all history was kept going back and forth between the selection screen and card view - to little useful point, but acting as designed. Annoying, but technically correct. I didn't write a negative review on it because it's technically working the way it's supposed to.
    I'd really love MS to provide close functionality - just because it would eliminate these complaints. Make a way to force close on a particular app or allow "exit" functionality like they do in some of their XBox Live games. Yes, the OS should handle that, but because of that decision I've seen devs get bad reviews when they follow MS' guidelines. :(
  • There's still no need for MS to provide any other close functionality.  The app life cycle is managed by the phone so you don't have to manage it.  This isn't Android where apps can roam free.  :wink:
    When you exit an app with the back button, it closes.  Period.  If reopening it doesn't give you a "new" run experience, that's something the developer is doing, and anything Microsoft does won't change it.
    If you exit an app with the start button, and go into something else, the original app is on the back stack.  It gets suspended - it is using ZERO CPU cycles, unless it is playing music in the background or tracking your location as a location tracking app (think HERE Drive Beta), but it remains in the memory, performing zero work.  If the phone decides that there is a need for that memory, the app will get tombstoned, and it will still exist in the back stack, but no longer in memory.  If you reach a certain number of apps (I just tested, and come up with 7), the app is removed from the back stack, no longer reachable from the back button.
    The perceived "need" for a way to close apps is nothing more than a habit brought over from Android, where apps roam free, and the user must manage those apps manually in order to save battery life.  This isn't Android, so let the phone do the work.  And as for apps like the one you mention (which I am not familiar with), that's a dev problem, not an OS problem.
  • I both agree and disagree here. Yes, the OS handles it, but not everyone gets that so MS discounting negative reviews that apps don't have an "exit" function like on Android shouldn't count against the Dev. Personally, I'd like to have the option to close an app even if I don't have to use it. On WP7, re-starting the app from the app menu launches it anew. On WP8, that's apparently changed to pick up where you left off. (I can see a case for both behaviors here.) So on WP7 I could just re-launch the app, hit "back" and close the app because I'd have no history. That wouldn't be the case for WP8, especially for apps that could have quite a bit of history in their use.
    I'd like the option to do it; that's all I'm saying. Keep the OS behavior, but give me a choice of whether I want to suspend the app or close it completely. I'd also argue that the need for this pre-dates Android because it was really needed in the WM days to control which app was closed. Otherwise you could find yourself trying to multi-task with an app the OS decided you didn't need. :)
    Also agree that the back-stack in the apps I mentioned is partially a dev problem, but it's also because MS is using the "back" button as a way to eventually exit the app. I keep hitting back until there's no more history and the app closes. That means a dev either chooses no/little history so "back" closes the app or the users can't close the app quickly because they have too much history. Either way you can get a negative review because MS doesn't provide an option to just quit the app.
    And yes, we don't have to actually quit the app, but this discussion isn't about the technical details around that, it's around why users leave poor reviews for apps. In this case - because most of them don't understand that MS doesn't provide for a real option to "quit" and rate the app negatively because of an MS decision.
  • Rich,
    You're wrong in one aspect: Reviews are NOT permanent! After you downloaded / installed an app, you can review the app over and over again. That will then overwrite / update your current review of the app. I've done this multiple times when an app I am using got an update through the store.
  • Yes, For example Endomondo updated its app this week. After a long time, now we can connect with facebook. From one 2 stars, now it got 4 stars for me.
  • The simple issue here is that most users will not go back and update their reviews, it simply isn't common culture
  • Still, it doesn't make the initial less true. And. yes, a lot of people update their review. Another issue that bothers me with this article: Those are user reviews where users tell other users what they personally think of the app. If a developer wants to get real user feedback, he should integrate such function in his app rather than abusing the user review section.
  • A review is permanent, unless you go back and change it. Which is what I stated in the article. There are many reviews that are useful for others. In fact, I would hazard a guess that around 80-90 percent of submitted feedback is constructive. But you have many reviews that simply aren't. What's the point of using a feedback system if it's not going to be utilised effectively?  True, developers must have support channels in place. But many do and still receive reviews that either don't make sense or are published by a consumer who hasn't read the system requirements. It's definitely an article pointed at not just consumers, but developers and Microsoft as well.
  • But you're missing my point:
    The reviews aren't meant to be abused by developers as their "I-am-too-lazy-to-build-my-own" support channels! Instead, they're there to help a user to decide if he would be interested in the app or not.
    If developers use the system for general feedback, well, fine! But don't turn the reviews into something they're clearly not designed for!
  • I don't think many developers use that practice nor is that ever suggested in the article. In fact the suggestion is for all developers to implement good support channels and for users to use those for feedback in the first instance
  • The reviews for the kik app are a whole bunch of people posting their SNs, so not the place for that.
  • OMG you whiny twerps.  I cannot believe you wasted the time and the front page space to post this drivel.  So you and a bunch of devs are butthurt cause reviewers posted their honest opnion about the app.  GOOD if they are slamming you for not supporting WP7.5.  GOOD if they slam you for not supporting the app in their country's marketplace.  The tools are there, USE them to give customers what they want.  Your job is not to complain, your job is to deliver.
  • But some reviews are just wrong I downloaded an app on windows 8 PC not phone for a bittorent client in the first line it said this is not s standalone client.please do not leave a bad review if you don't understand this.
  • Your post is nonsense, unhelpful, and kinda narrow-minded. Browse the store and read some of the reviews for apps out there. I'm not a dev but even I can tell that a good amount of customers out there are just flat out dumb.
  • You know you aren't forced to read these articles right? Don't like its content feel free to pass over it.
  • and devs arent forced to write bitch and moan articles masquerading as a "tips editorial" either.
  • Rich is not a dev
  • How is it a "bitch and moan" article? I provided some suggestions for users, developers and Microsoft. Seriously, read the article. As Jay noted as well, I'm not a developer, lol.
  • you are not a developer but rather providing a voice for the developers including your own.  Providing these "suggestions" is like telling movie critics not to be too harsh or write their review a certain way.  That's known in the business as leading or guiding.  The review system is the best form of free expression and honest opinion.
  • It's nothing like what you just put forward at all. I'm addressing reviews that don't make sense, aren't constructive or simply aren't warranted. So a review such as "This app became gay." is an honest opinion and free expression, which will not only help the developer improve his (or her) app, but will also provide other consumers with an insightful look into how good the app is? Or how about "This function is missing in trial, not buying!" when the app description clearly states limitations of said trial? That's not constructive criticism. As much as it pains me to say, it's lack of common sense. There's not a single point in the article where I suggest or imply that negative reviews are bad. I didn't state that everyone should use the five-stars. In fact, I even offered some suggestions to both developers and Microsoft too. Consumers can review how they want, but to read through the app description and requirements, as well as publishing constructive and helpful reviews is certainly a way forward. If you want to rate an app one-star, go for it, but be sure to add some meat to it. - why are you unhappy? - how can the app be improved? - did you reach out to the developer (if possible)? Just a handful of points that could be covered, or are you inclined for us to remain as we are? The majority of folk in the comments agree with the article, which tells me that there are issues that many wish to be addressed. And these are consumers as well, not just developers.
  • "The app became gay" is translated as "the app was working fine, and now an update has broken it"  This shit happens ALL the time because devs do piss poor update testing.  I actually wait a day and go to the reviews when an app update to see if there are any posts like this because it tells me to wait and not update until the dev fixes their shit.  Reviews like that are VERY important.
    If people are posting that "doesn't work on phone x" it means that either A) they somehow managed to download it from the web so they can post a protest review for an app that doesn't support their phone or B) the app DID support their phone and now the dev has updated to drop support or issued a new app and orphaned that version and users are voicing their complaint.  Again COMPLETELY valid and useful to other users.
    If devs aren't reading the reviews and just slapping apps out ther no amount of feedback will help.  However if they slip into oversensitive bitch and moan mode they will be deadlocked focusing on what the review says instead of managing what they can with the reviews they do understand.
    If an app is complete rubbish and beyond help I will gladly issue one star no comment reviews.  It is my right and often times the right thing to do.  When the dev fixes their shit I come back and edit my reivews to grant more stars or comments.  Travelocity was a fine example.  The first app was a web control rubbish app.  WHen it was rewritten I updated my review.  Likewise, I have recently downrated the review because of current broken functionality on WP8.
  • Actually, that review was left on our own app, which does work. So again, your argument is moot here. Without knowing exactly what's troubling the reviewer, he (or she) could have got in touch with us or Jay to provide feedback on what's wrong. The thing is, not everyone shares the same mindset as you. They don't return to update reviews. After the developer has fixed an issue, the review would still be published even though it's now false. That's not a valid review. It could turn potential customers away for a fault that was fixed. I really don't see how that can help anyone. Like I said in the article, if you're set to rate the app because it's not high quality, then do so. Provide feedback in the review like "the design of this app isn't in line with WP, I would like the dev to update and refresh the UI to make it more user-friendly". That's a valid review that can help the developer address the issue, as well as informing other consumers as to what they can expect. If that reviewer put "This app is gay." what does that tell you exactly? Nothing. While developers can be at fault and should receive criticism when it's due, consumers should be constructive in their reviews. That's what I'm getting at here. I personally don't enjoy seeing one-star reviews that shout "DOES NOT WORK ON LUMIA 800!" So? Move on and find another app. I'm speaking as a fellow consumer. Since I already know it doesn't work on WP 7.x hardware, why do I need reviews shouting it in my face? It states quite clearly on the store which version of the OS an app or game works on. Which mode of communication do you believe is more likely to change things? Emails and contact channels to the developer in question (which Microsoft could help make clearer with links on the store), or a bunch of one-star reviews?
  • Oh yeah you can sit ther and say "So?" like every other WP8 user with apathy towards WP7, but those WP7 users have a right to be vocal and complain about lack of support, since the tools are there to easily support both platforms. I used to contact developers directly, but after the 5th or 6th time with no response they get the big FU 1 star rating.
  • Oh yeah, I know what you're talking about. Ya know, it's so annoying.
    I really HATE it, when Devs like Microsoft Games just won't release their new HALO4 and HALO Reach on my DOS Machine. This Lack of Support is unbearable!
    And it's just the same with the Phones now. Let's just go back to Apple iOS together. At least every single of their new Apps works on all of their older Devices.
  • You actually browse the Windows Phone Store, right? I'd recommend reading the article again, good sir.
  • I understand some of the complications with people leaving low reviews, but I also understand that applications can still appear on devices that are not able to run it. I never check the store anywhere but on my phone, which means I usually can only assume that it is an application that can run on WP8 (L920 here). Most applications won't show details on the compatible phone OS in the mobile store and we can only assume as we read the details and see the app in the store, that it is compatible at the least. I do sometimes (mainly if I'm spending money) search for more information, but it's usually outside of the app store completely as the information is limited. Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't rein in the lackluster reviews as much as possible. We should also realize that different people obtain their information differently. Some will look at the store on their computer, others will just use their phone.
  • Great point. I, too, only browse for apps from my phone. I assume that if the app shows up in the store there than it is compatible with my phone unless it OBVIOUSLY says otherwise. Devs who don't go the extra mile to make sure this goes as well as possible are really asking for confusion. Still, I think overall the experience can be tweaked to be better for everyone.
  • I think the app store needs more refinement by giving more information. Easiest way would be if Microsoft allowed the store to show more information on mobile phones.
  • Exactly. This is why I also included developers. It can be the fault of the submitter, which is why they must ensure everything is correct before publishing their app and if it isn't, they'll receive a negative response. But then we should have measures in place for consumers to be notified when changes are made so they can return to the app page and change their reviews once the developer has acted.
  • Good apps usually get good reviews while crappy apps bad, Like it should be!
  • I strongly agree with devs being able to respond to reviews under the review. This is something that, for example, TripAdvisor allows in its website that I think not only allows the hotelier to defend/explain themselves, but goes a long way to showing that that person is engaged and actually cares. This would benefit WP devs in much the same way. People may be more likely to download an app with, say, 3 stars if they see that the reviewer was wrong or the dev is noting criticism and is-- just as importantly-- still supporting the app in question.
  • Actually I would take it a step further and request that MS implement a rating system for reviewers. If your reviews have consistently received down votes, then your vote counts less, across the entire store, period. The internet has no filter on IQ, and repeat offenders of stupidity should not be able to weigh in.
  • Reviews suck on the store period. So many people just put that the app sucks with zero description or they just give it one star because a live tile is limited to 30 minutes refresh. The latter I wish Microsoft would let developers offer us options for refresh times
  • THANK YOU for this article.
  • I would love to give 10 stars, even one hundred stars to your app. But I am still 7.8 user. If a day your app appears on my Device, knowing how you dev apps, be sure you get five stars.
  • Thank you. I would love nothing more than to bring ProShot to all WP devices, but it's just not possible with the 7.x API. Not only is it missing a lot of key features of the WP8 Camera API, it also doesn't have a DirectX / C++ interface, and that's a critical point now, and especially moving forward :/
  • a lot of folks have rated down ProShot just because it cannot delete photos. NOT THE APP's FAULT, PEOPLE! Go whine elsewhere (to MSFT, asking them to allow apps this capability).
  • Yup, pretty much. I'm trying to get in touch with Microsoft to get special permissions to delete photos. Not sure if they've ever allowed a 3rd party developer access to such a thing. We'll see how it goes...
  • Yeah, this is another problem.  We can't expect people to know what we're allowed and disallowed to do in our apps, but at the same time, their lack of this knowlege does lead to some unfair reviews.  And even when you say this in the app description, they don't read it - now that part is their fault. 
  • In my opinion, Microsoft needs to do more. In addition to the suggestions to Microsoft in the article, I'd recommend the following as potential ideas as well: If an app is a paid app, don't let people who've simply used the trial be able to write reviews. If someone's phone is incompatible with an app (for example it's an app that only runs on WP8, and the user has a WP7) They should not be allowed to "review" the app since they cannot even install it. Comments, ratings, and reviews should be less permanent. I think the biggest thing of all is that Microsoft should include some kind of "contact the developer" button in the review section. It seems lots of people use the review section as their only method to have their voices heard. If they went to write a review and saw that there was a way to directly contact the devs, maybe some of the pointless reviews could be averted.
  • An easy solution that would at least help a little would be to require, say, 50 or 100 characters in order to review.
  • I agree with this.
  • This is a good start and could help at least prevent some of the pointless remarks, unless they copy and paste to get around the requirement :-P
  • There will always be "those" people, but it's a place to start.
  • Agree with the article but bad review(er)s are rampant everywhere. Go on Amazon and there'll be a fair amount of reviews with "Too expensive (2 stars)", "Can't wait until it arrives! (5 stars)", or "Love it, but it was hard to put together because my husband is never home to help (3 stars)". (I'm not joking about the last one, which I saw when looking for children's furniture.) Anyway, at the end of the day, the reviews usually work out in the direction of how the app really performs. Unfortunately, in an app store (vs Amazon) the lower volume of reviews, especially on a platform like WP, will show themselves more. I do hope some of the suggestions here occur down the line because good (not meaning positive) reviews benefit everyone involved, but I'm afraid impatient, quick-to-judge reviewers will always exist. Might be worse with app stores because many times the apps are there to fill someone's short attention span to begin with.
  • This is a huge problem. So much so that when I have 'review' calls to action in my app I need to ask the user to contact me first if it's something I can help with. I'd love to ser Microsoft implement replies to reviews. Even better, this triggers a prompt to the user to contact the developer directly, and then update the review afterwards. I always strive for the highest quality in my apps and it's sad to see bad reviews simply for things like it not having a feature that the user assumed it would (but was not advertised).
  • +++ 1000 really really needed for the reasons stated. On Windows 8 app store too.
  • Microsoft should implement a " Wait Time before you are allowed to post a review after you have downloaded an app". An Hour or So. That way if user really like the app or have problem they can post back with details.
    Some people do what is called drive by on app's. Just downloaded them and play with them for a few minutes, then go back to market and leave bad review etc.
    Having a wait time on reviews would prevent so many drive by from happening I would think..
  • Great read! I only wish that there was a way to get most of these suggestions implemented. There needs to be a better way to do this whole review thing....
  • Yeah, I've seen it... people complain while not knowing what they are talking about. Its a rampant problem that is all over our society, not just in the WP store.
  • I noticed in the iTunes store there is a rating for the app over time and a separate rating for the current version of the app. We need that feature.
    I also see reviews sometimes saying the app is great, they love it, etc. but they then give it 4 stars instead of 5 without saying why they took one star off. That makes no sense. I want to know why you didn't give it a full 5 stars.
  • I totally disagree. These are consumer reviews, these are not critics. One should not be able to download an incompatible app. The app store should not allow it, unless one can simply get refunded. Reviews by consumers help others make good decisions, not help developers get feedback about work. Even if an app is free, the review from that particular person is true to their own experience, and should never be hidden, regardless of fault to the developers. If your work is good enough, the good reviews will simply outweigh the bad.
  • Most of the time the users are ignorant and their review isn't true for anyone. All these people do is make the rating system less useful for the rest of us.
  • if most consumers are ignorant, and produce horrid reviews based upon ignorance, then make an app to be loved by the ignorant. How do top rated apps, get high ratings? There are too many useless apps out there anyway(lists,quotes,guides,fart machines,apps that just link to a site etc...) any dev who makes one, deserves whatever lame review they get
  • Yes, because "This app became gay." is helpful for other consumers and the developer?
  • yes, that is very helpful to those who don't want an app that becomes gay. Some others may be looking for that exact app, so this would be exactly the review needed
  • btw, "this app became gay" is somehow really really funny, and now will be used in all my reviews, even if I have to say "its not as though" first... Lol!
  • I made a TV schedule app. The description clearly states that its a schedule app not a TV viewing app. But still get idiots giving 1 star ratings with comments like "this sux, doesn't work, doesn't stream anything!"
  • I think we need 'Etiquette' when the review system itself is flawed.Microsoft should implement an amazon style system to encourage helpful reviews. Certainly that way we could downvote out the one star reviews which are based solely on some silly argument about prices being too high. Whilst in some cases it is a valid argument, some reviewers have unrealistic assumptions about price
  • Reviews are only as good as the person who writes them. I use them to decide which apps to buy, but I read many of the reviews not just the first few. I also read the app description and any limitations listed. If a review mentions a posted limitation, I ignore the review. Reviews can be helpful but you must be careful. Also developers need to spend some time writing descriptions, I have seen some apps on platforms with No description, if you as a developer cannot give me some details, you don't want my business. As for price, it should be fair, not every app should be .99 cents, but some apps are also way overpriced. When pricing, figure how useful is the app, how much time spent in developing and writing, and balance the two. It is probably better to make a little less and sell more than make more and sell less, IMHO. 
  • There are some users that will tear an app apart in a review simply because they get a kick out of doing so.  Similar to when someone vandalizes your house because it's "fun".  Unfortunately these users and their reviews will always be there no matter how much we plead to users to be honest and constructive.
  • So many great comments with great ideas and suggestions to improve the "review" feature from marketplace, but is there any way for these comments to reach the people from Microsoft??
  • Unfortunately most of the users will never read the details.
    I wish there is a report a bug form (similar to review form) where it will send info like phone model to developer. This will help to keep reviews section clean and improve overall user experiences as well.
  • I briefly skimmed through some of this article, and I must say that I'm not impressed.
  • Two thumbs down to your comment lol
  • Hello. Best article yet LOL
  • Great article, I hope, for all our sakes, many users/reviewers read this.
  • Should have been a (info)forum on the store...
  • End alwayz chek ur grammr,
  • I swear some people make "drunk reviews" or "toasted reviews" ...seriously...some of those same people seem to make outrageous comments on here too! :-/
  • Hm... I thought you can only leave reviews if you install the app... and if it isn't supported on the device, it shouldn't be able to install... so how did the people with the WP7 devices leave reviews if the thing won't even install for them (unless they do it through the web?)?
  • That's something I wondered myself! I can not review apps which I didn't buy or installed on the current device. But then, maybe you can leave reviews on the app store in the internet after you bought the app? Don't know! I seldom go there.
  • At least I don't need Google+...
  • Although i think this article is amazing, but i also feel that whenever a customer complains its because he/ she didnt understand something about your product, and thats your fault, customers are lazy they dont go fetch info about every product, only some really do that, thats known very well.
    Then, how can someone install an app that only works on WP8 on a WP7 device then compain that it doesnt work! it shouldnt be possible from the begening, and to add, if he is just comlaining, what he is actually saying is "please make this app AVAILABLE to WP7" but he uses a somehow wierd tone to express himself/ herself :P
    Finally, when i bought the WPcentral APP, i did it to support you guys on what you do :D (unlike the reviwer up there :P), my phone browses the website pretty well (i dont need the app) and i dont need notifications sense i open the app and the website about 6 times/ hour. but still its the least way i can contribute to this amazing community :D
    oh, you could have removed the names of the reviewrs :D that would have been nice.
  • There's so much truth in this article lol. Had someone complain about the lack of crop & rotate in my photo app, when that's literally the first thing you do when you load a photo.
  • Hahaha.. that person was sloooow minded.
  • When I am alerted about wrong region or device I don't leave a review. I am in a region not clearly supported on a non-lumia WP 7.x. It would be meaningless. I am also in a region with a non-us credit card. So right now I am living by free and trial apps. On my previous ID I often purchased apps and left no review when I chose not to as a simple "not one size fits all" generally applies.
  • Although users of WP seem to be giving negative feedback on apps such as #toinstawithlove because they cannot understand that is more of a plea than an actual instagram alternative, giving me the impression that they are of extremely low intelligence, the WPcentral team have also released numerous articles containing biased profanities and juvenile mistakes. I actually get very upset when the likes of Rubino and the other foul mouthed journalists influence such idiotic and volatile minds. One cannot submit "bullshit" as a reply of any sort to justify an opinion, i was under the assumption that WPcentral was a "have your say" sort of atmosphere, but with the liquid daffodil obsession and gameloft sexual favours occuring somewhat hourly, I'm left feeling rather sour. All I mean to voice is that amongst the thick as pig shit crew that is us, there are some truly knowledgeable individuals, and they are probably in a similar thinking as myself, how fu#king dare you accuse us of lack of intelligence.
  • Am I correct to assume you're rather annoyed at something?
  • Your comment isn't doing the appearance of your intelligence any favors, bub. Exactly which part of this article's advice do you disagree with?
  • If I paid for a game on my Lumia 800, only to find out that it doesn't work on my far more expensive, far more superior Lumia 920, I will give it 1 star, I don't care what the description says. You deserve 1 star for having a lazy ass; like the guys who made Tentacles.
  • Yeah, that'll teach them, same as with PS1 and PS2 games which don't work on PS3, I wish I could review the crap out of them.
  • Sometimes games would need to be completely rewritten in order to work for WP8. That would be fantastic for the developers to do, but it's not realistic to expect it from everyone.You're taking your frustration with a change Microsoft made out on app developers who probably had no part in the decision and certainly couldn't have anticipated it when creating their apps or games. Not cool. That said, Microsoft (as the publisher of many Xbox WP games like Tentacles) should pony up to get the games it publishes (especially the popular ones) working on WP8, whatever the cost.
  • Really dude.  The "lazy" police in the form of one star reviews?!  So, because an application/game was made for wp7 a couple years ago and you upgraded to a new OS, WP8, you expect the developer to rewrite/code the two year old game to work on the current OS?! 
  • Couple of years ago? Lumia 900 was the flagship Windows Phone till August 2012. 
  • Here's a great example: "It won't allow me to download apps on 3g . Going to the internet straight after, I get a message that I am not allowed to tethering in my tariff (which I am not doing anyway). Lumia 920 on Three UK network"   How is this the app's fault? Found it on the WPcentral app reviews
  • This was an excellent article and I do agree that people need to have a bit more courtesy and actually read the description on some of the apps before reviewing. It's also appalling to read the "this needs to be free" reviews as it's silly to expect something for nothing. On the flip side, I have come across some pretty poorly done apps, in which case i usually try to contact the developer. I know that detailed feedback is vital to improving an app. After all, if the developer doesn't know, how can they fix it?
  • Exactly, I contacted the developer of OpenTable about the issues I was having and they at least made an attempt to fix it, unfortunately they never managed to fix it and a lot of the reviews are still 1-2 stars.
  • There's always gonna be that one guy who writes an "I-can't-read-English-so-this-is-a-bad-article" comment.
    And there will always be people who couldn't figure out why they couldn't get it to work or whatever and write bad reviews.
    What the rating system should do is allow replies (at least developer replies) to reviews, and the ability to rate them up/down etc.
    Practically every sensible forum/user review site in the world implements something like this.
    Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out MS is the one who should be doing somehting about it...
  • Reviewing the ratings are just a bigger vicious circle because its still without merit and biased. So all the 5 star reviewers rate any review below 5 stars as 'not helpful' and all the 1 star reviewers start rating the 5 star reviews as 'not helpful'.... aren't you right back in the same place you were before then? Rating reviews is pointless. I have seen on Amazon and Netflix some legit reviews that had merit and true from that person's perspective get down-rated simply because the uber-fans of whatever product simply don't want the truth to be told. They think its 5 stars and g*d damned anyone who disagrees. Averaging ratings is definitely way better and hard to debunk. So what if 25 idiots rate an app low? The 5,000 that rate it high offset them and bring the average up. Users rating other user ratings is just plain silly. Its like giving inmates guns and telling them to police themselves. Ok, good luck with that.
  • It's all Microsoft's fault for not making a decent review system (they just blindly copied one from Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store).
    What they need to do:
    1) Do not allow reviews from people who did not install and run the app (WP7 users should not be able to comment on WP8 only apps, etc). Same with region-specific apps: if my app is not intended for your region - you should not be able to review it!
    2) Allow developers to post public replies to reviews.
    3) Ban bug reports and price complaints in reviews (perhaps provide dedicated bug report form instead - although that's really developers' job).
    4) Allow voting on reviews and remove reviews with a lot of negative votes.
  • Since when could I rate an app on WP8 without installing it first?  I don't even have the option to rate it if its not installed.
  • No idea how this happens - but according to the screenshot it does!
  • How about only making apps available to compatible devices?  Or the ability to filter on compatible apps for a particular phone?
  • It would be good if the name of the device the reviewer used was placed next to the review like on Google Play.  For example, an app may not work with a certain phone and the comment "doesn't work. uninstalled" is useless to the developer.
  • .
  • It'd be nice if MSFT were to add an option to "Contact Developer" on the Rating screen - so that the communication can be linked to the feedback, and both sides can work towards resolution of any issues.
    I also like the rating feedback option.
  • This is a universal problem, I see it on the App Store all the time. But of course, there when you've got 1000+ reviews, one from a stupid user doesn't make much of an impact. Reviews on the Windows Phone store are a lot more valuable.
    I think there should be a filter, much like the App Store or Amazon where you can sort by positive or negative reviews.
  • Unfortunately, not all of us have 1000+ reviews.  ;)
  • As a developer of an app that has functionality limited by the Windows Phone API I can relate. Just about all of my bad reviews are from people who skipped reading the description of my app where it explicitly states the limitation.
  • I think allowing responses to a review is a good idea. Personally I appreciate when there is detailed information on the app's features and limitations. I don't like having to download the app only to discover the liimitations. This annoys me most with bigger named apps. I download an app thinking it is comparable to an iOS version only to find it is stripped down to the point it resembles the app in name only. They should at least put "Beta," "Lite" or "We did just enough to say we had an app for that marketplace."
  • Great read! I've been lucky with having appropriate reviewers but I've seen other apps not getting a fair shake.
  • I'm calling BS, I love my Nokia Lumia 920 and I had a Samsung Focus. I got the non commercial words with friends and it was horrible, my phone woud reboot for no reason, it would lock up hard, seriously I was about to return my brand new phone and get a replacement. I removed Words and suddenly all those problems went away. It was Buggy as can be. So I slagged the heck out of it and it was less than one star. They rush released it without getting the bugs out. Also I got audible and my poor mother got a high cell phone bill because that buried in the app, it said if you want to use a wireless AP then it would use your cell connection. On all the other phones it would download to the phone, it was streaming. Also I noticed they re-released audible and hopefully now it will download to your phone, whats the point of it streaming??? Doesn't make sense. At and T gave us a refund because of that and I slagged it too. Also I'm a sys admin and I have used every OS other there and the Windows OS is the best on the phone. On the flip side, Photosynth is fantastic and I gave it 5 stars, and Photobeamer 5 years too, I have flipped some friends out with that feature. So bottom line, peoples reviews are warrented unless their coming from non windows phone people. I love the windows phone and my nokia they just need to make sure the bugs are out before releasing the apps.
  • Ugh, as a developer myself I find the thoughtless comments people post to be very discouraging.  I wrote a Tumblr app and the reviews are full of "1 Star... Should be free like on iphone."  Oh, you mean the official tumblr app on IOS is free?  Because tumblr wrote it themselves?   Or "1 Star... can't connect": every person who has emailed me about connection problems has turned out to have forgotten what their password was.
  • Another idea would be to have a separate What's New section, instead of developers writing it to app description.
  • Another Idea: Let the Review Sytem automatically endorse which Version of the App the User actually reviewed.
    Like, "latest Version", or "Version 1.4", and make it visible this Review might be obsolete when the App's v2.6 has been released yet.
  • Absolutely! this the ultimate minimum!