How to Follow the App Store Guidelines and Prevent Low Quality Apps

Did you ever get so frustrated with an app that you uninstalled it immediately?

User frustration

Did you ever get so frustrated with an app that you uninstalled it immediately?

Frustration is an emotional state that a person reaches, when she/he can’t overcome an obstacle or achieve a goal.

The term “user frustration” is used when the frustration is caused by a computer, smartphone or other technical device.

If something frustrates the user, he won’t use the app further, instead he will churn and tell others about his bad experiences. With a low quality app it is hard to get traffic, establish authority and get recommended in the Google Play and App Store.

At the moment (March 2019), there are about 2.600.000 Android Apps available in the Google Play store. AppBrain has detected that 12% of these apps (about 300.000 apps) are of low quality.

Reasons for Low Quality Apps and User Frustration

If a user downloads and starts an app, but never uses it again, the app can be counted as a “bad app”. In 2018 about 21% of mobile apps were used just once. Reasons for low quality apps are:

  • Role of the developer
    • Minimal knowledge of user demands and expectations
    • No knowledge of the target audience
    • Lack of communication between developers
  • Technical details
    • The app doesn’t communicate the requirements it needs (e.g. a high end smartphone for a high quality game). Downloading a high quality game on an old smartphone can lead to an application freeze or crashes.
    • Download issues
    • Battery power consumption
    • Regular updates
    • Response time
  • User Interface and Design Issues
    • Poor navigation
    • Design and function don’t meet the user requirements
    • Security issues
    • Consistency across various platforms and devices

Google Play Store Guidelines

Google analyzed app reviews on the Play Store and found that half of 1-star reviews mentioned app stability as a problem. They also listed battery usage, slow render times and crashes as sources of user frustration.

“Over the last year, we’ve been enhancing our search and discovery algorithms’ consideration of app quality and user engagement.” – Developers Blog

The Android quality guidelines specify the essential quality characteristics every Android App should display. A further testing and implementation of further quality characteristics help to build a high quality app and prevent user frustration.

The guidelines describe among other the following quality characteristics:

  • Visual design and user interaction
    • Design guidelines, UI patterns and icons
    • Navigation
    • Notifications
  • Functionality
    • Expected app behaviour
    • Level of permissions
    • Audio output during app usage and beyond
    • App running in the background
  • Compatibility, performance and stability
    • No crashes, force closes, frozen screens or other uncommon functions
    • Loading time
    • Battery consumption
    • Visual quality
  • Security
    • Data Security
    • Data sharing with other apps
    • Handle user data and personal information

Apple Store Guidelines

With its guidelines, Apple wants to “provide a safe experience for users to get apps and a great opportunity for all developers to be successful” (Apple). Extensive testing will help to provide a high quality and prevent user frustration.

They arranged the guidelines into five categories which include, among other things, the following characteristics:

  • Safety
    • Physical Harm
    • Data Security
  • Performance
    • Hardware Compatibility
    • App Completeness
    • Software Requirements and the ability to run on the newest iOS version
  • Business
    • Payment methods and procedure
  • Design
    • Simple, innovative and easy-to-use design
    • Implementation of help screens and setting pages
    • Icon design
  • Legal
    • “Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where you can make them available” (Apple)
    • Protect Privacy
    • Data Use and Sharing
    • Protect Intellectual Property
    • Rules for Gaming, Gambling, and Lotterie in apps

Conclusion

Frustration occurs when a person can’t overcome an obstacle or achieve a goal. Frustration, which is triggered by smartphones, is called user frustration.

It occurs when a mobile app does not meet the required or advertised requirements. According to Google, the most common reason for low quality apps and user frustration is app stability. Other reasons are poor knowledge about the target group and its demands, technical issues like battery consumption and response time and user interface and design issues like poor navigation or security issues.

By following the Google Play and Apple Store guidelines, you can make sure you have implemented the essential quality requirements. However, to deliver the best user experience you should not just focus on the minimum requirements. You should extensively test your app and implement further quality characteristics.

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