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Pitfalls of App Store Reviews

September 3rd, 2010

Rob Fahrni

I believe it was Marco Arment that gave the advice “Don’t read App Store Reviews”, or something to that effect, and I can see why. For RxCalc they’ve typically been fairly poor. Some have provided great feedback that lead to changes in the applications, but recently we received a review that left us scratching our heads. Here’s the review.

This program really underdoses all my patients. It predicts troughs of 20 and 25 with normal doses. I used it just the other day and it predicted a trough of 26.4 and I got an actual trough of 14.7–no changes clinically with the patient. This program is crap. Good thing it only cost 99 cents!

Can you see the problem facing an app developer with a review like that? Actually there are many problems with it. Here are the two biggest, as I see it.

  1. It doesn’t provide any meaningful feedback – We can’t reproduce the “problem” or fix it.
  2. We have no way to contact the user to see if we can help.

I really wish this user would’ve contacted us via our support e-mail address. We’re very confident our math is correct, we spend a lot of time verifying the results, it’s what makes the application useful. I’d venture to guess this is a configuration issue, but alas, we’ll never know.

We’re grateful for our users and we want to make their experience the best they’ve ever had. RxCalc should help you do your job, not hinder it. We like the feedback, good or bad, and love when it leads to improvements in the overall usability, and performance, of the application.

It’s disappointing when we see a review in the App Store like this because we can’t help this user solve their problem.

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