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Mobile users hate it when apps freeze; vast majority will write bad reviews [study]

by Doug Drinkwater

November 5 2012

A new report from API company Apigee indicates that app users get most frustrated when their app freezes or crashes, with 96% of these feeling irritated enough to write a bad review.

The 2012 Mobile App Review Survey questioned 502 American mobile app users aged 18 and older in October, and aimed to find out what these users’ expectations were when using smartphones and tablets apps.

The study, carried out online by uSamp, found that freezing (76%), crashing (71%) and slow responsiveness (59%) were the primary bugbears when it came to app problems, with heavy battery usage (55%) and too many ads (53%) also mentioned.

Users stressed that performance mattered the most on banking apps (74%) and maps (63%), with the latter no doubt much to the chagrin of Apple, which has had some difficulty with its own maps software on iOS 6.

While some could argue that these complaints are quite normal, what was really striking about the study was the sheer number of people who would feel compelled to write a bad review when coming across a bad app.

For almost every respondent (96%) said that they would write a bad review on an under-par app, while 44% said that they would delete the app immediately. Another 38% said that they would delete the app if it froze for more than 30 seconds with 32% and 21% respectively indicating that they would moan about the app to their friends or colleagues in person or over Facebook and Twitter.

A considerable 18% would delete an app immediately if it froze for just five seconds, but 27% said that they would persist with the app if they paid for it.

Those experiencing bad apps urged developers to fix the problem (89%) first and foremost, followed by offering easy refunds (65%) and a customer service number (49%).

Apigee’s survey also looked at app discovery and discovered that the majority of app users find new apps by searching app stores periodically (75%), although word of mouth (58%), Facebook (45%), stories in the media (26%) and Twitter (14%) were also cited.

 “In the growing app economy, there's a natural Darwinian effect, and only the best apps will survive," said Chet Kapoor, Apigee CEO.

"These survey findings underscore the importance for developers to closely monitor app performance, identify problems quickly and react immediately to resolve them.”

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