What is our app review methodology?
Reviewing apps can be a tricky task. Personal preferences and tastes must be placed aside, the reviewer must look at the app objectively and think not only how the app appears at that point, but how other users may find it. Several times I have looked at fantastic apps which have been no use to me, but by looking at through the eyes of a user who may interested in the subject matter, it becomes an entirely different task.
So what are we looking for when we review an app? What sticks out? What catches our eye and causes us to sneer?
Firstly, the originality of the app is one of the prime concerns. Every app store on every device is crowded with millions of apps. Hence, originality becomes hard to achieve. There is nothing worse than downloading a new app only to find out it does everything an existing app does. There are two main considerations here. Initially, the app is going to score highly if it offers something new. Whether this be an entirely new idea altogether or simply taking an existing theme, i.e. Trivia, and doing things in a new way. If the app achieves this then expect high scores. Providing of course it works. An app will never score highly on originality if, for one reason or another, the functions don’t work. So for any budding app makers out there…..it is not good having a great idea and app launch, if the actual product does not work.
Graphics are also taken into consideration. Again with such a crowded market graphics are an important element users will care about. Usability and functionality obviously are prime considerations but with modern high tech devices, everybody wants an app that looks great. In games we will look at how the app looks, whether things are clear, is the frame rate smooth and how it compares to other apps. If the game is text based we will look at menus…are they clear? Visible? Easy to see?. In general we will look at the presentation of the game, how it looks and whether the presentation causes a help or hinderance to the app.
Longevity is also important. Will the app still be on your device in a weeks time, a months time? Is it going to be such a useful tool you will never have it more than a click away? Or will you play the app once and delete it for one reason or another? Hence when reviewing I look at what would make a user return to the app. Are there factors which encourage repeat use. In games we look at leaderboards, online play, upgrades and additional content. In other apps we look at frequency of updates and the engagement of the content.
Value for Money can be a difficult one to assess. If the app requires a payment, it is fairly easy to decide whether the user is getting value for money. Any app that takes your hard earned cash needs to do something to earn it hence any app that charges will be viewed in a much moiré stricter light, As you know, many producers offer their apps for free. In terms of value we judge the app based on whether it is worth the time downloading and installing, the time to set up and your time playing. We also look at whether it is worthy of the space it takes on your device.
These are the main 4 areas that any successful app needs to consider and hence these are the four main areas to consider. Nobody wants an expensive, badly looking app that doesn’t work and has nothing new about it….the reviewers work hard to ensure this doesn’t happen.