Thursday, 27 January 2011

Reviews and Reviewers

We got a wonderful review at applicable2u (reviews of educational apps for kids) for our Christmas story - Lizzie and the Christmas Tree - check it out here. We are very pleased that Andrea and her little critic Logan did enjoy our story and appreciated our 'read-only' option we chose for our children books.

Let me give few thoughts here on reviewers and critics then. As everybody seems to take a plunge into apps development, before long there sprang out tons of reviewing websites/blogs too, as we say like mushrooms after the rain:) But not all of them are the same, not all of them express their opinion, not all of them are worth your time. The furthest are game review pages because games are such a huge segment and they been here for a long time so people had time to create their own taste and establish respected review sites.

But let's talk about children apps - educational apps, book apps, games and activities and respective review sites. It is a rapidly growing part of the appstore but still tiny and quite new. So even if people had some criteria in real life, in a business where you struggle every day for 'visits', 'likes' and 'retweets' it is not easy to say what you like and eventually what you don't like. Basically, there are three types of sites - paid ones (which the user=parent will not necessarily notice, he would have to dig a bit on the site) and they say nice things about anything and anyone because they got money to do so. Then there are blogs who don't take money but in pursuit of visit numbers and good relations with their providers, app developers, they like everything (or is it just the American 'everything's great' mask again?). The better part of these talk about and publish only apps they like, kind of recommendations from a trusted source, which is fine.

And then there should be reviewers, critics, who say hey, this is really outstanding, this is fine, this is not that good and don't waste your time and money on this one. Expressing their honest personal feelings and professional opinions, helping the public to accept good industry standards, helping the developers to create better apps for their users. And as you may expect, these are rare and coming later on and in difficult ways. So that's why I value a honest page like applicable2u (and please don't take me wrong, it is not because they talked nicely about our book) where they buy, try, see and say how they liked their app or what they would change about it. Because parents, be aware - there are apps of very diverse and uneven aesthetic, educational, entertaining and literal levels:)

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