On App Ratings

Since Gruber’s article on App Store ratings, and his recent episode of The Talk Show, I’ve been thinking about a possible way to integrate ratings into apps, and solve the one star because of a bug rating issue.

The solution I propose is the following: Apple should create an official rating API and simplify the rating system.
Imagine Apple changing the App Store’s rating system in a simple thumb- up, thumbs-down system. You vote the app up when you like it, down when you don’t. So far it’s pretty similar to Gruber’s suggestion in The Talk Show.
Apple could implement this as an iOS API combined with a review sheet, similar to the tweet sheet. So somewhere in the app is a rate this app button. It brings up the sheet with an up-or-down button, and a field to write your short review. You never leave the app, it’s fast and it’s controlled by Apple. Developers get their reviews, but in a controlled fashion.

But it has two flaws: if a great app has a bug, people will still downvote it, and we still get nagged by a pop-up.
A solution for the former: Apple should add a tertiary button to the rating: report a bug. No up-vote, no down-vote, just a simple message that shows a popup with a text field. Write down the bug, and send it to the developer.
A solution for the latter: make use of the iAd dynamic resizing of apps, and show a rate this app banner at the bottom of an actively used app. It doesn’t block your usage of an app, doesn’t cover the content and still delivers the message. And yes, it should auto-dismiss after a couple of seconds.

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