Has anyone done any lengthy research as to why a large portion of DPS publications on the app store have reviews generally around 2 1/2 out of 5 stars? It's pretty hard to sell clients on DPS when so many DPS apps have such poor reviews. I'm curious if most of these poor reviews are because of the subscription services? or the content? or what? Has this always been an issue? I've skimmed the reviews, but there are thousands per app.
A few DPS magazines with ratings around 2 1/2 stars:
GQ (current version)
Wired (all versions)
Vanity Fair (all versions)
Martha Stewart Living (current)
I actually have subscriptions to the ipad version of all of these magazines. And for the most part, I've personally rated them much higher.
At the same time, other magazines that aren't using DPS seem to be plauged with low ratings too. Can anyone shed any light on this issue?
If you look through the comments many low rating are due to the fact that people expect the magazines to be free because the app is free. This is a misunderstanding of how the products work. It would be nice if Adobe or Apple enabled a way to only see rating from people who are subscribed to the magazine but sadly that isn't the case. For now, we have to deal with the fact that a lot of people who feel entitled to free content are going to take to the ratings to complain.
Remember, as a general rule, that when someone is satisfied with a product they will tell on average two people. When dissatisfied, they'll tell ten people. The rating are the same way.
That doesn't seem to be the case with the recent ratings from a quick look at the reviews. Nat Geo's first page of reviews are all one star reviews complaining about the recent upgrade not synching with subscriptions. With a lot of the other apps it seems to be a mixed bag of subscription issues, file sizes being too large, no background downloading, general download problems, text not being optimized for ipad 3, etc...
I will also say that some of the larger publishers are making mistakes with their apps. Promising things without testing them and not taking advantage of the possibilities of the DPS. Some complains are well founded but those are not due to the DPS, but the publishers.
Scottclandis is on the right track. It's virtually nothing to do with the user experience and everything to do with the wretched way it's all been packaged/marketed/priced/etc. There's been several mags that charge more than their print counterparts and/or aren't as complete. I mean, the way that CR has bungled the implementation..but they are by no means the only ones.
How ironic that the new medium that's meant to save the magazine industry seems to be it's biggest enemy.
Speaking as someone who tried to find a job with the major publishers to do digital publishing, I believe that it is because they aren't bringing new people in. The publishers are convinced the can convert print designers into digital designers.
Wired is probably the best example. When they changed art directors last year, the tablet edition was suddenly almost unusable. It has improved as the new AD has learned about the format, but it has taken time.
As users of the DPS, we all know that designing for the tablet is not the same as designing for print. And until the publishers realize that and begin hiring digital art directors to compliment their print ADs there are going to continue to be disappointed and angry users. What we can do is continue to produce great digital content that will challenge the general perception of digital in the magazine industry.
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