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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 is 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 over 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,