The ‘rate it’ controversy

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The ‘rate it’ controversy

UNREAD_POSTby Sascha » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:21 am

There is this discussion going on about the “Like this app? Please rate it!” dialogs many apps use these days.
It’s been fueled by John Gruber’s post on Daring Fireball , who asked people to basically leave a one-star review every time they encounter such a dialog. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a long time reader of Daring Fireball and think that John Gruber is one of the smartest writers about all things Apple.

I too don’t like these modal dialog boxes (that interrupt your game/workflow and force you to tap on one of the buttons). They are annoying. But I also think it’s OK to ask your customers to rate your app. If you like my app, writing a review is a great way to tell other people about it. This keeps me in business and enables me to write updates and more apps that you’ll hopefully like too.

So here’s how the rate-it button in F-Sim currently works:
  • It is not a modal dialog. It’s just a button that appears (with a short animation to catch the eye) on the landing analysis screen. You can safely ignore it and don’t have to tap anywhere.
  • It only appears after a successful landing.
  • If you tap on it, it will stop asking until the next update.
  • If you don’t tap on it, it won’t show for a number of successful landings. This number doubles every time the button in shown. So if you never tap it, it will ask a couple of times (with increasing intervals) and then effectively stop bothering you.

Like I said, I agree that modal dialogs asking for ratings are annoying. But app store reviews are very important for iOS developers, so I took great care in designing a system that respects my customers, and kindly asks them for a rating/review without being annoying.

I am a developer, this is what I do for a living, so I’m obviously biased here. If you feel offended by the rate-it button, think that it’s annoying, etc. please let me know. I want to do the right thing here, and the last thing I want is to annoy my customers, because you guys rock! :D

Please let me know what you think about this whole controversy in general, and the implementation in F-Sim Space Shuttle in particular. I’d greatly appreciate your feedback.
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Re: The ‘rate it’ controversy

UNREAD_POSTby Malti » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:58 am

Well, speaking for myself, I hate these demands for positive ratings.
I´m old enough to remember times that ratings on ebay were given by sellers even before the rating from the buyer was given, purely judging the quick and correct paying from the buyer and the exchanged emails. Today as a buyer you only receive a good rating if you give a positive rating in advance.
So it´s the same today with apps on smartphones.
Every time an app asks me for more than once for a rating at all, I subtract at least one star for that reason.
What I would tolerate would be this:
When closing an app, a splashscreen pops up asking if you really wan´t to shut down the app. If stated yes, the question follows if you wan´t to rate it (expressed neutral, not suggesting giving a good rating) with the clear possibility to choose to give a rating now, to be reminded later oder never to be asked again.
I belive that real good apps receive the proper rating. But looking at most of the ratings, many people quite don´t understand the meaning of these ratings. How many people complain about something that clearly shows up to be an error in Layer 8? Personally I don´t look at ratings before downloading or even buying an app. I look at the app description and then I put the ratings in a relation to the number of total downloads. Everything else, in my opinion is overestimated.

my two cents' worth
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Re: The ‘rate it’ controversy

UNREAD_POSTby desktopsimmer » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:52 pm

I've been involved with F-sim from early days (not quite the beginning), so I too will be slightly biased, but in a positive way ;)

Currently, I like the non-intrusive way that there is a 'gentle' reminder to rate the app. More importantly, it doesn't interfere with the user using the app. I wish more developers took this approach to engaging with the users. Another plus point that Sascha has implemented is that there is a feedback option were it gives a two way dialogue between the end user and the developer, something that Apple has missed on the Appstore.

Basically, I believe you've got the balance right, wish others could.

-My two pence worth ;)
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