The most common words in app store reviews close

Mark McDermott
Mark McDermott
In Codegent College
16th April 2014
The most common words in app store reviews

We've been making mobile apps since the start of 2011 and in that time have had 13 million downloads of our products.

Most of our titles have an average app store rating of 4 stars and above which significantly helps in our quest to acquire new users. Anecdotally I've always felt that there was a high correlation of certain keywords users write when penning a good review. So, to try and prove my point I got one of our devs to crunch out the frequency of words used in our reviews.

Feeling the love

The results were interesting. Once you take out the most common words like I, to, app, the, it the most frequent words are praise – great, good and love. As designers it is important to remember people do develop emotional bonds to software they frequently use, especially if it helps them fulfil an important function in their lives. We should remember to give our software personality and do what we can to make it loveable as well as functional.

I believe that the place to inject this is in the small details – a crafted interaction or maybe a slightly unexpected message hidden in the app. It should tell the user that there were people behind this app, and they cared. Childrens' TV and Film makers have been doing this for years with subtle knowing nods to the significant adult portion of their audience.

The appreciation of simple

The next group of words that stood out in high frequency were learn, easy, helpful, useful, simple. Learn may be a slight red herring as our apps are mostly educational however I think the message is clear. Users crave easy to use apps that provide a useful function. By no means is that an earth shattering realisation but bringing simple into software design is not always, well... simple.

Simple should be a design consideration you are prepared to battle for and are willing to spend a longer time trying to achieve. The problem with simple is that whilst we all pay lip service to it in the early stages of a project it becomes increasingly hard to stick to as feature requests surface and different use cases come to light. Simple means understanding the main reason your app should exist and who it is serving so that they will find it useful and helpful. Simple means saying no. You should do so knowing it will be appreciated later.

If you want to check out the frequency of words used around your app's reviews there's a handy tool here.

And if you fancy reading more about simple being effective this is a great post by Alex Cican.