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iTunes App Store

iTunes App Store

- Re-thinking the purpose of “Most Popular” filter means in review -

My Role   /  UX research

 
 
 
“0, zero app per month, 51 %”

 As the research shows, 51 percent of people today still download, on average, zero apps per month as of 2017. The first thing we, very selective users do is to learn about the product and most importantly its review. This is true for both scenarios, when the user try to find a product to download and when the user comes from a direct link via an article etc.

 Even if it's a free app, we do care about reading reviews. We do value the real estate of our phone and the time and experience we use for it. We treat these as our valuable assets.

Even if it’s a free app, we care about reading reviews. We do value the real estate of our phone, the time and experience we have with it. We treat these as our valuable assets.

To better understand WHY people care about reviews, User interviews were conducted

  • Users age 26-46
  • 5 iPhone users
  • Men and Women

Summary:

Q. Why do you want to see the reviews / ranking?

A. We want to find the best app by reviews by users

Q. Why do you trust reviews by users?

A. They must be honest, without any conflict of interests, like myself = just another user. So if any app shown as the most popular, must be the best, worth trying.

Q. What do you mean by “ the best”?

A. Used by many users and they are very happy with the product

Q. So, the numbers of reviews are important in addition to the rating itself?

A. Yes. 300 reviews with 4.5 stars vs 30,000 reviews with 4.5 stars. The latter 4.5 stars has more impact on my decision. Also the numbers of reviews correlate with how old the product is. If a digital product survived for more than a few years and still actively getting reviews by users, that’s a good sign.

The numbers of reviews could correlate with how old the product is. If a digital product survived for more than a few years and still actively getting reviews by users, that’s a good sign.

Industry Research

Places we read and trust reviews are app stores. If you’re iPhone users, this is what you see if you search an app from your computer, iTunes Preview page. As noted,  some confusing elements were found.

 
 

And this is what you see iTune store from your computer. Categories based on revenues “Paid”, “Free” and “Gross” (the apps with the highest total revenue: price x quantity sold + revenue from in-app purchases) are shown.

 
 

And this is what you see iTune store from your iphone. Here, they decided not to include "Grossing category".

 
 

Competitive / Comparative Analysis

Google play gives you 5 apps per category when the user land the page, then the user needs to click “see more” to further progress. To be able to see the reviews with reviewers numbers, the user need to click the individual product. There is no filter/sorting system either.

 
 

Again, there is no clear explanation in what order the products are placed. For instance "Pedometer" vs "Calorie Counter - MyFitnessPal"

 
 
We just want to find “Most Popular Apps” easily, based on a consistent measure of method with reviews...

Other popular digital products, beyond app stores with filters were reviewed as well.

 
 
It seems like yelp’s “Most Reviewed” category is potentially the most useful filter for the users to learn about the product.

The more reviews = the product is being used by many people = The product is likely to be above average. Because, if the product has poor reviews to begin with, people will not use it = will not receive many reviews. 

This is the same view as one of the user interviews / research results:

The numbers of reviews could correlate with how old the product is. If a digital product survived for more than a few years and still actively getting reviews by users, that’s a good sign.

Conclusions

  • Regardless of platform, either on smartphone or web, the ranking / filter menus should be consistent on iTunes store
  • Instead of having ranking based on no clear definition of measure (or at least not clear to the user), including “Most Reviewed” filter and present it as one of the default filters may be worth trying