Thanks to our app reviews, I learned all sorts of interesting ways people use Dropbox. For example, I found that some people use Dropbox as a music player or a note-taking app.
With this in mind, our team could design things to optimize for these use cases, like adding a shuffle button or quicker ways to jot down notes. Who knows? Some of these reviews might just inspire us to build our next big feature.
Feedback is motivating
Creating products is hard work. When we’re caught up in the daily grind, it’s easy to lose sight of how we’re impacting people’s lives. User reviews act as a regular reminder that what we’re building matters.
Every now and then, I see a personal note from a user that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside:
And sometimes I see a note that makes me feel all cold and crummy inside:
Whether it’s good or bad, I find notes like this motivating. User feedback is a gift. Sure, sometimes it isn’t the gift we were hoping for, but it’s still valuable.
Feedback keeps us grounded. These notes remind us that we’re designing for real people, not just some random company goal.
Ratings differ a lot by country
Our Dropbox app is available in over 100 countries. Except for the UI language, the app is pretty much the same in every country.
Because it’s the same app, you’d expect the ratings to be roughly the same in every country, right? Well, it turns out our ratings are pretty different in each country.
Let’s look at our iOS app, for example. In the United States, we have roughly the same amount of 5-star reviews as 1-star reviews. But in Japan, we have almost twice as many 1-star reviews as 5-star reviews. In Brazil, it’s flipped—we have a lot more 5-star reviews than 1-star reviews.
What’s causing these differences? My best guess is that there are two things at play here:
- Translation quality: Some languages are harder to translate into than others. If our text sounds less natural in those languages, people will probably give us lower ratings.
- Cultural bias: Studies have shown there are cultural differences in how people fill out surveys.
- A couple of years ago, Dropbox ran a survey asking users across the world to rate the quality of our UI text.
Guess which language had the lowest score? Japanese. That means our translated text might be dragging down our App Store ratings in Japan.
Brazilian Portuguese, on the other hand, had a great score—on par with English. Could it be that Brazilians tend to give higher scores in general? Possibly. The YouTube team found similar results for Brazil in a survey they ran a few years ago.
Android users are happier than iOS users
Okay, I admit this one baffles the heck out of me, but for some reason, Android users give us way higher ratings than iOS users.
Here, see for yourself:
I found this shocking because our iOS and Android apps aren’t that different.
So what gives? I don’t have any great theories for this yet, but it’s definitely something I want to explore further. If you have any theories, or if you know of any research on this topic, I’d love to know. Feel free to comment below!
This may be the greatest mystery of our time: Are Android users just happier people in general? Do they have lower expectations of apps? Who knows?
Do you read your app reviews?
In a casual Twitter poll, 37% of app creators said they rarely or never check their app reviews. Are you one of them?
Yeah, I know reading app reviews takes time, but I think it’s totally worth it. If you want to learn more about who’s using your app, read what they’re saying in app reviews. If a user is taking time out of their busy day to share thoughtful feedback, shouldn’t you spend time listening to them?
Oh, and in case you do want to dive into your app reviews, it might help to use a service like Appfigures. It makes it a lot easier to search and sift through your review data.
Whether you’re a developer, designer, writer, or product person, I bet you’ll learn something new from taking a closer look at your app reviews.
Hey, at the very least, it might inspire you to write a whole Medium story about it. ✌️