Earlier Marco posted a very good point about why you shouldn’t nag users about App Reviews. It was pointed out to me by Peter Hosey that Apple Reccomends that you ask users to review the app after a while.

I would say that App Reviews are okay to ask your users to do, but only passively. In other words it’d be far better to simply have a button/link somewhere where the users are actively discovering it and decide to write a review themselves vs being nagged by the app. Thats because 99% of the time when an app asks me to leave a rating I don’t feel like i’ve had an adequate amount of time to give it an honest review. If I did anyway most of my reviews would be like

"This app seems okay however I am still getting used to it. It does Annoying-Thing-1 and it may possibly be related to Annoying-Thing-2 however I just really haven’t had enough time with the app. I may possibly delete it in a couple days"

All this reminds me of The Futurama episode where Fry discovers that he can have a celebrity girlfriend/robot and downloads Lucy Liu. After staring at her for a while he asks “What do you want to do?” and the conversation goes something like

Liu Bot:”Would you like to take a moment to register me?” 
Fry: “Later”
Liu Bot:”I’ll go ahead and remind you later you hot stud”
Fry: “So what do you want to do?”
Liu Bot:”Would you like to take a moment to register me?” 
Fry: “I said later!”

Every time I see a “Would you take a moment to review me?” screen I am reminded of this. Even if the prompt to review an app never comes up again I just don’t think you’ll get honest reviews out of it. I imagine that if users do leave reviews its to get the prompt to never come up again. When is the best time to ask a user to review the app? The answer is, whenever the user feels like it and thats something you can’t really develop an algorithm to figure out without being incredibly intrusive. Apps seem to use a standard of asking users after x amount of time or x times launching the app, both of which are not good ways to go by for choosing a time to ask users to review your app.

But really this is just tip of the iceberg. Really the issue is that this is a giant turd in the users experience of the app. Here you are just getting used to an app and you may possibly be having a great time and then suddenly a prompt comes up out of nowhere. My reaction is usually “What? Why are you asking me to review the app now? I am just getting used to it.” For me personally regardless of how noble the developers intentions the app review prompt feels a bit needy/attention grabbing. I can’t really imagine that for a significant amount of users that they really hang on every word of reviews, who knows maybe I am wrong and there are some group of users who really can’t make up their mind until they’ve seen a few reviews. Even if there are users who really deeply care about reviews, it is never a good experience for a prompt which blocks everything else on screen, to come up just so the users can do something for you which they have to leave your app to do so.

So what would be better than this prompt? How about in your app settings/help section somewhere you have a button with the title “Review [APP_NAME] on the App Store” perhaps right by a support link button so that users see this is a separate distinctive action from support. Really anywhere where the users discover that they can do this in the app and decide to do so on their own time unprompted. Only then will you get honest reviews most of the time vs complaints about what doesn’t work in the app or cues that users really haven’t taken any time to learn the app or don’t care to learn the app and just wanted to complain/vent.

Earlier Marco posted a very good point about why you shouldn’t nag users about App Reviews. It was pointed out to me by Peter Hosey that Apple Reccomends that you ask users to review the app after a while.

I would say that App Reviews are okay to ask your users to do, but only passively. In other words it’d be far better to simply have a button/link somewhere where the users are actively discovering it and decide to write a review themselves vs being nagged by the app. Thats because 99% of the time when an app asks me to leave a rating I don’t feel like i’ve had an adequate amount of time to give it an honest review. If I did anyway most of my reviews would be like

"This app seems okay however I am still getting used to it. It does Annoying-Thing-1 and it may possibly be related to Annoying-Thing-2 however I just really haven’t had enough time with the app. I may possibly delete it in a couple days"

All this reminds me of The Futurama episode where Fry discovers that he can have a celebrity girlfriend/robot and downloads Lucy Liu. After staring at her for a while he asks “What do you want to do?” and the conversation goes something like

Liu Bot:”Would you like to take a moment to register me?” Fry: “Later” Liu Bot:”I’ll go ahead and remind you later you hot stud” Fry: “So what do you want to do?” Liu Bot:”Would you like to take a moment to register me?” Fry: “I said later!”

Every time I see a “Would you take a moment to review me?” screen I am reminded of this. Even if the prompt to review an app never comes up again I just don’t think you’ll get honest reviews out of it. I imagine that if users do leave reviews its to get the prompt to never come up again. When is the best time to ask a user to review the app? The answer is, whenever the user feels like it and thats something you can’t really develop an algorithm to figure out without being incredibly intrusive. Apps seem to use a standard of asking users after x amount of time or x times launching the app, both of which are not good ways to go by for choosing a time to ask users to review your app.

But really this is just tip of the iceberg. Really the issue is that this is a giant turd in the users experience of the app. Here you are just getting used to an app and you may possibly be having a great time and then suddenly a prompt comes up out of nowhere. My reaction is usually “What? Why are you asking me to review the app now? I am just getting used to it.” For me personally regardless of how noble the developers intentions the app review prompt feels a bit needy/attention grabbing. I can’t really imagine that for a significant amount of users that they really hang on every word of reviews, who knows maybe I am wrong and there are some group of users who really can’t make up their mind until they’ve seen a few reviews. Even if there are users who really deeply care about reviews, it is never a good experience for a prompt which blocks everything else on screen, to come up just so the users can do something for you which they have to leave your app to do so.

So what would be better than this prompt? How about in your app settings/help section somewhere you have a button with the title “Review [APP_NAME] on the App Store” perhaps right by a support link button so that users see this is a separate distinctive action from support. Really anywhere where the users discover that they can do this in the app and decide to do so on their own time unprompted. Only then will you get honest reviews most of the time vs complaints about what doesn’t work in the app or cues that users really haven’t taken any time to learn the app or don’t care to learn the app and just wanted to complain/vent.