Communication changing relationship between app developers, users

May 12, 2010
Tech

If you had asked me a few years ago if there was a useful, symbiotic relationship to be had between a producer and consumer of news or electronics, it would’ve been hard not to laugh in your face. As rude as that seems, at the time part of my job description involved sifting through the […]

If you had asked me a few years ago if there was a useful, symbiotic relationship to be had between a producer and consumer of news or electronics, it would’ve been hard not to laugh in your face. As rude as that seems, at the time part of my job description involved sifting through the dozens of racist, hate-filled comments that were obnoxiously posted to the The changes they made were meaningful, and they’ve given an app that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone much more value.  I’m much more likely now to recommend ChargePoint to anyone who asks me about a useful electric car app. But that’s just the smaller scale of what has the potential to be a much bigger boon for the consumer and developer alike.  

If developers of iPhone apps can utilize user feedback and reviews to improve upon their product with such a short turnaround time, it could change the relationship between users and developers for the better. Think of it like those Windows 7 ads, where users claim that Windows 7 was their idea because they wished it had “X” improvement, and now it does. But imagine getting that improvement in a few weeks of development, rather than the several years it takes for a new operating system to come out. That’s something truly remarkable.  

This does, of course, leave developers open to even more criticism. Developers of the Playstation 3 video game series MLB: The Show have made it a point for several years to frequent a particular forum ripe with serious baseball/videogame fanatics in order to solicit feedback for the series. They’ve even flown out members of the forum as part of a “Community Day” initiative to basically help with bug testing. Who better to test for things than guys who’ll spend the next year playing the game non-stop, after all? The downside to this outstanding customer service is that less gracious forum members often become agitated with the developers that frequent the forum for not fixing what they feel is a deal breaker for the game. Truly, no good deed goes unpunished.  

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Aside from expecting too much too soon, there is little but upside to the developer/user interaction that is quickly developing across the Internet. Better products that sell more units benefit developers’ bottom lines, and the user benefits by feeling like they’ve had a hand in making something better than it otherwise would have been. Creating a slight sense of ownership that previously did not exist. That kind of interaction is truly priceless.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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