Bad Apps - Please Give Them Bad Reviews When You See Them

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by Howard9999, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. Howard9999
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    Howard9999 iPF Novice

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    I would like to address the problem of bad educational apps in general.

    Of course, there are apps for learning every subject from music to chemistry to history. Let me focus here on one particular genre in which there are a lot of bad apps.

    I speak Spanish. I don't speak it perfectly, but my Spanish is good enough to tell whether or not an app designed for Spanish students is useful.

    I am seeing a lot of apps for studying Spanish that were written by people who don't know enough about Spanish to be creating such apps. They create apps that contain incorrect vocabulary, bad grammar, obvious errors in usage, and so forth. One company seems to have created a list of standard vocabulary words for all languages and then used a machine translation system and a spreadsheet to create a vocabulary app for lots of European languages. Perhaps their French or Italian is better, but their Spanish is awful.

    Another company is trying to address the market of medical professionals who need to and want to learn Spanish, to become more effective doctors and nurses. This company has provided translations for a lot of common medical phrases (which they could have taken from any undergraduate diagnostic course manual or from a public domain site). Unfortunately, they have omitted accents and diacritics.

    Accents are not discretionary in Spanish. Just because they are not easy to type if you are accustomed to an English keyboard does not mean that you can ignore them.

    If you want to help medical professionals learn Spanish, teach them to respect the Spanish language. When you omit an accent in Spanish, you often completely change the meaning of the word. Although a good Spanish speaker (like me) understands what was intended, a bad Spanish speaker (like the person the program was actually intended to help) learns and reinforces bad habits.

    Bad apps drive out good apps. We don't need people writing apps to teach a language if they know nothing about the language, and nothing about how to teach languages.

    Apple, it is time to use some discretion and clean your house. Get rid of bad apps. Have apps with low ratings reviewed and remove them from the app store if they don't pass muster. Teachers don't have time to search through a lot of chaff to find apps that will help their students.

    I am busy buying and reviewing language apps, especially for Spanish, and I am giving them bad ratings if they are useless or contain errors. I'm fair. I'll give a good app a good rating.

    What appears to have happened is that programmers who know nothing about teaching, and nothing about the subject material (say Spanish or Chemistry) are rushing into the app market with badly designed apps. Because they get there first, they crowd out those who could be selling much better apps.

    Please join me in rating bad apps as bad apps. And please join me in asking Apple to get rid of bad educational apps of any kind. If you see that an educational app has bad ratings and you agree with the reviewer, rate the reviewer and the review as helpful.

    My concern with bad apps begins with bad spelling and bad writing. If an app creator doesn't have the basic English skills and knowledge to create apps with correct spelling, usage, and grammar, and with clear and concise writing, then their app belongs in the dust bin. Rate the app as bad.

    What d'ya know? Do you know some chemistry, physiology, history, music? Join me in doing a service for the entire iPad community. Rate bad educational apps as bad so that they fail.
  2. iPadCharlie
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    iPadCharlie iPad Super Guru

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    I agree that there should probably be some criteria for determining when enough is enough so that a "bad" app can be deleted. Maybe they do have something in place like that already, but they will never know unless you rate the apps. But simply giving the app 1 star isn't enough. One of the biggest complaints I see about apps with low ratings is not knowing why it got such a low rating.
  3. MikesTooLz
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    MikesTooLz Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You should net pay any attention to app ratings when making your choice to purchase. The ratting system in itunes is flawed and most of the time is false. People give good apps bad ratings, people give bad apps good ratings. Competing developers cheat by getting a large number of bad rattings on all competing apps. Some developers also have a number of faked accounts rating their apps really well.
  4. Howard9999
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    Howard9999 iPF Novice

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    I've actually given a lot of good ratings to Spanish language apps. In education, people don't recognize either bad pedagogy or incompetence. What i am doing is writing comprehensive reviews, especially of the ones that are bad. But I am also trying to really encourage the good ones. The name I am using in this project is Howard9999.

    Yes, the ratings system is flawed. But domain experts can go out there and really work on ratings that do help the public.

    I was incensed that two out of three apps that are designed to teach medical Spanish were riddled with errors in vocabulary and spelling. It's as if they thought doctors, nurses, and medical people could still benefit from the app.

    Most of these apps are being overrated by laudatory medical professionals who don't understand that the apps are teaching them to communicate like children with their patients.

    Life is too short to spend time learning bad habits from a bad medical Spanish app. As long as there is one good medical Spanish app, any professionals are wasting their time and money using the others.

    I do encourage people who are learning a language to make mistakes. Never be shy about it, and don't judge other people by mistakes they make, unless they think they can teach. Those who can't teach shouldn't create apps.
  5. jamescary
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    jamescary iPF Noob

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    Give developers a chance to fix them....

    Kind of long winded here, but...

    As a developer, nothing irks me more than checking my reviews, and finding someone who's posted a 1 star review (or rating) of an app, totally flaming it, all because A) they failed to read the description and it didn't work the way THEY thought it should, or B) Found something that would make it better, then complained it didn't have it, or C) just say something like "Not worth it" all while I have 5 star ratings that say it's the best thing since sliced bread.
    If you find apps that are lacking in functionality, or even if you find bugs, give the developers a chance to fix them before blasting them in ratings. Most (if not all) apps on the app store have a support link you can use to send the developer a quick email. Use it! ;) I can't speak for all developers, but I typically get back to people within 24 hours. Most of the time, they just have a question about how to use a portion of an app, (How do I send an email to a group using EZ-Groups for example). However, because they reached out to me, they get a response to their issue, and they get to learn how to use the apps as they were intended. I've also released features users have asked for in email, where if they just gave the app a 1 star rating, I may not have even known they wanted it.
    James
  6. Howard9999
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    Howard9999 iPF Novice

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    Hello James,

    I'm not talking about missing features or functionality. I do appreciate what you are saying.

    I am talking about illiteracy.

    If you don't speak Spanish, don't create an app for people to learn Spanish, unless you are ready to partner with somebody who has skills to help you.

    As to educational apps in general, if you are going to be a teacher, you better have an education. If you can't spell, or write a good sentence, then you should partner with somebody else.

    Bad English, or as the case may be, bad Spanish, is not a missing feature for the app developer to fix. It's a sign that the app never belonged in the app store in the first place.

    Howard

    PS: I have bought many good educational apps and I have praised them. I am spending a few days right now going through WolframAlpha, and it is superb. I gave the best Medical Spanish app a glowing review, even though I found a minor mistake, because it was so much better than the others.

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