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MOBILE APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT · HUGH KIMURA · JANUARY 2014

Improve Mobile App User Experience With Review Mining

The easy way to look through user reviews on the App Store to uncover ways to improve the User Experience of your app.

We have written a few posts about how Review Mining can help you uncover new keyword ideas and improve your App Store Optimization. But today, we want to show you a lesser known way to utilize Review Mining: to improve the User Experience of your app.

If you do not currently look at your app reviews to find out the negative things that people are saying about it, we will quickly show you how to do that. But if you have a lot of reviews, this process can be very time consuming and tedious, so we will also show you a shortcut that makes this process almost painless.

Improve Your App By Reading The Negative Reviews

Looking at positive reviews for your app is a great way to find new App Store Optimization keywords. But it doesn't help you to make the User Experience of your app better. On the other hand, the negative reviews can show you where the weaknesses are in your app and how to fix them.

Before we get started, we want to give you a word of caution. Do not get too hung up on one or two bad reviews. They might just be written by someone who leaves a bad review for everything or it might be the result of something that is specific to that user's device.

However, if there are several bad reviews that all say the same thing, then it is time to dig deeper. Here is how you can see the poor reviews of your app in iTunes.

Find your app on the App Store, then select the "Ratings & Reviews" tab on the top of the page and filter the reviews by "Most Critical." We will use Clash of Clans in our example.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/sensortower-itunes/blog/0094-negative-reviws.jpg

Now quickly scan through all of the Reviews and make note of things that users are having trouble with. You are looking for the reviews that have specific feedback on issues that they are having with your app, such as exactly where your app crashes or how functions could be improved.

The Easy Way To Do It

If you have only a few reviews, then you can get by with the iTunes method above. However, if you have thousands of reviews like Clash of Clans does, it can take a lot of time to get through all the reviews.

Luckily, there is an easier solution. By using our Review Analysis Module, you can very quickly identify issues that users are having with your app.

When you use the Review Analysis Module to find keyword ideas, you are looking for positive reviews. But to find User Experience problems, you need to look at negative reviews, so click on the Rating column header twice, so the lowest ratings are on the top.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/sensortower-itunes/blog/0094-coc-negative.jpg

Words like "crashes" will now be shown at the top. The keyword that really jumps out at us is "please fix" since this is an obvious cry for help. When we click on that term, we can see the individual reviews on the right side of the screen.

Here is an example of a review that can be very helpful in pinpointing a problem. Since this person is telling us that the game crashes when the chat menu is opened, you know exactly where to look in the code and what to test.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/sensortower-itunes/blog/0094-crashing.jpg

An added benefit of looking at your reviews by keyword is that a user may have given your app a good rating, in spite of having problems with it, like in the example above. If you were only looking at reviews with low ratings, you would have missed this opportunity to discover a specific issue with your app.

As we scroll through the reviews that contain the keyword "crashes", we find another review that also mentions an issue with the messaging function of the app. Since other users are having this issue, you should look for more reviews that mention this problem.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/sensortower-itunes/blog/0094-crashing-2.jpg

You can use the search function in the Review Analysis Module to easily find reviews with words such as "message" or "chat" to find other users that are having similar problems. This process can also help you uncover other suggestions for improvement, like the two shown below.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/sensortower-itunes/blog/0094-message.jpg

Conclusion

The great part about user reviews is that there is something that you can learn from both positive and negative reviews. For App Store Optimization, we recommend that you only look at the positive reviews, but we hope that this post will help you improve your app by looking at the negative reviews too. Remember to also check out the negative reviews of your competition to find opportunities to provide things that they do not do well.

Do you read your negative App Store reviews to get ideas for improving your app?


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Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: January 2014

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