How to get developers to fix stuff

This is a general post about how to make developers to fix stuff and keep them improving. It applies to us, but hopefully it will be helpful getting the full potential out of other apps.

Email them If you have a problem or opinion this is the best way of getting it heard. On the Android market you’ll almost always find a contact email for the developer. In many apps (including Open Signal Maps) you’ll find a button somewhere in the settings that will open up a new email with the address in it.

Be specific Tell them what your phone model is, what version of Android you’re on (2.1) whether it’s rooted and anything else that might be useful (in the case of OpenSignalMaps the network you’re on). Tell them what the problem is: does it always happen, did you try uninstalling and reinstalling? If it is a “Force close” is it an “Application not responding” error that gives you the option to “Wait” or “Force Close” or does it immediately force close. I spend a lot of time just trying to reproduce the bugs I’ve been told about, the more information I can get im advance, the better.

What about commenting on the android market? This is a pretty ineffective way of getting in touch with developers. Your comment could get buried by loads of others, and there is no guarantee the developer keeps on checking on the latest comments. Also if the developer wants more detail about your problem there is no way of contacting you. If you don’t want to email, but do wish to comment on the Android market make your comment as specific as possible. Don’t write “doesn’t work” or “rubbish” if you want to see it start working or improve. Do write “Problem doing X on Nexus One 2.2″ or “4* would be 5* if they added X” this is especially effective as it gives the developer extra motivation.

On rating apps If you see an app has potential but has bugs or otherwise has room for improvement, it is not really in your interest to give it a low rating. This especially applies to apps that are quite new to the market or don’t have many ratings: giving it one star can be quite damaging to it. It may be that the app just doesn’t work on your phone… if you want the developer to spend more time on the app you actually want to help that app succeed. Developers will spend more time on apps with more downloads. They will spend more time on apps of which they are proud. If you genuinely think the app has no potential do rate it low. If you think it could be great if only a certain problem were fixed, then email the developer!

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One Response to How to get developers to fix stuff

  1. Ivan says:

    The problem is, most people just write “this app sucks donkey balls” and rate you 1* simply because you’re missing a meaningless feature X or have a small bug on an entry level, never updated device.

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