One way to gain feedback from your users is as to ask for it through app notifications. We look at some issues to consider when designing and developing review notifications for your iOS or Android app.
January 23, 2019
Last year, we talked about improving your customer’ experience by measuring happiness and in particular, Net Promoter Score. One of the alternate ways to measure happiness as mentioned in the article was through app store comments. So how can you get your users to leave those comments? One way is to just ask! Below we look at some issues to consider when designing and developing rate and review notifications for iOS and Android.
iOS provides a standard method for asking users for app ratings and reviews. Using this option for showing notifications is straightforward and largely removes any customisation of the message.
The frequency with which a review notification is shown to a user is determined by the App Store. The current business rule relating to frequency limits the presentation of a review notification to 3 occurrences per app in a 365 day period and the notification will only be shown if the user hasn’t already given feedback.
While the App Store will determine when a review notification is actually displayed to a user, you can identify where within your app the notification will be displayed. For example, if a user has made a booking through your app, the app can propose to the store that a review notification is displayed when a successful booking has been made. Showing notifications at logical points in your user flows and where user’s have time to complete a review will increase the success rate of rating completion.
The App Store does not allow custom design of the review notification layout or text. A standard notification, as shown below, is displayed with two basic calls to action; Submit or Cancel. You can however choose to ask the user to either only rate or rate and review the app. If you choose to include a rating option, a full screen review page will open up for the user to enter their review.
Review notifications will only be displayed to the user if they have the ‘In-App Ratings & Reviews’ option in device settings set to on.
Rating & Review Data
Data is captured and transferred to the store using existing features and API’s in the App and the App Store. The user won’t need to leave the app to complete any of the functions.
Since the App Store will determine when a notification is displayed, testing the display of the notification is the extent to which the rating feature can be assessed and Apple provide a testing environment to allow you to do this. Whether the rating data sent by a user is added to the store is something that will occur on the server side by Apple so not something that you can test either, it’ll just work!
Alternate Review Options
Alternative options to the above would be to build a custom notification or provide a permanent link in the app for users to review at any time. For example a ‘Review’ button could be located in a 'More' section for users to rate the app.
A custom notification, programmed at intervals similar to app store’s standard frequency, that presents copy such as ‘Are you enjoying this app?’ is another option. With the custom notification, the results of the rating or review will need to be directed to the app support email rather than directly to the store listing page but it does give you some flexibility in terms of the copy you can display.
Unlike iOS, there is no standard OS method for collecting reviews so a custom notification is needed here.
As there are no restrictions from the Play Store, decisions around notification frequency can be determined by you and will ultimately come down to your decisions around user experience and presenting the best UX possible to the user. Like many notifications, the balance between proactively querying the user at an appropriate time without becoming an irritant is key.
The type of app you have and typical user engagement will also be a factor in determining notification frequency. For example if you have a travel app that might only be used a few times a year for short periods of time, basing the frequency of notification display on the number of days since initial app download, regardless of any actions taken, will probably not provide the best experience. A user needs to have had time to engage with your app and form opinions if they are to be able and more importantly want to provide an honest review.
The layout of the notification and it’s copy can be custom designed. In terms of calls to action, we’d recommend keeping it simple with only 2 or 3 options, such as ‘Cancel’ or ‘Rate’. A method to opt out of receiving messages should also be included.
There is no specific setting on Android devices to allow ratings notifications so these notifications will be managed under the general notification section. As noted above, we’d recommend a check box or similar device is used to allow users to opt out of receiving any future review notifications if they choose not to review your app.
Rating & Review Data
If a user chooses to rate or review the app, they will be transferred outside the app to the app listing page on the Play Store. Once they’ve submitted their review, they’ll have to navigate back to your app. It’s a pretty seamless transition though and typical OS behaviour on Android so it won’t negatively impact your user experience.
It's not possible to test if the user’s rating is transferred to the Play Store so testing for notification display and the opening of the app listing page on the play store will be your key acceptance criteria.
Measure and Improve
Once you’ve got users to assess your app, it's time to review your reviews! Keep track and catalogue your positive and negative ratings and reviews. While reviews do give an opportunity for users to vent their frustrations, and not always in a constructive way, more frequently they can give real insight into how users are actually using your app. Unforeseen issues and opportunities can be identified and help uncover features or functionality to focus on in the future.
Replying to reviews is also a great opportunity to engage with your users. For positive reviews it can reinforce your brand message. For negative views it's a great way to deal with your user’s issues, show that you are proactive in dealing with their concerns and gives you a chance to turn their views around.
If you’d like advice on how to create successful review notifications for your app or insight on what to do when you receive them, we’d love to help! Get in touch now.