FAQ
On July 1st, we published a new version of our app RadarNow! that featured
an improved UI and more free features. It was a huge step up in capability.
The beta test with over 3,000 users went well and we had crashes and
functionality pretty much conquered. Then we published the beta to
production in Google Play.

Over the course of the next week, we handled hundreds of customer service
complaints regarding the new version. Some of the complaints and
suggestions were good and we iterated immediately. Others were just "I want
the old one back" type comments. A lot of users lashed out at RadarNow!
through the ratings and comments in Google Play. Our rating, which had been
4.32 and steady for years, dropped by .01 to 4.31. That might not seem like
a lot but it lost us a coveted position as a solid #5 in weather, dropping
us to #6. Essentially, we were off the front page because of this.

Yesterday, to appease those that crucified us in the store, we released a
"RadarNow! Classic" version as a stand alone, frozen app. The release was
announced to all those that had sent us negative feedback along with a
request they amend their rating in Google Play.

The bitching stopped. The complaining stopped. There were no more one star
comments along the lines of "want old one back" or their ilk. Instead, we
have dozens of five star comments in their place. The count of one star
ratings is actually dropping.

This is a lesson learned:

Before introducing a major UI update of any kind, publish a "classic"
version with a different package name. Be sure to reference the classic
edition in all release materials and help text included with the new
version. There is a small percentage of humans that cannot tolerate change.
Even if it's in their best interest. It's a fact of life and it has to be
dealt with. No logic or reason can sway these people. They want their old
one back. Period.

There's a funny epilogue to this story. As if this writing, there are less
than 100 installs of "Classic" - a free app.

-John Coryat

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  • Markus Punz at Jul 12, 2013 at 3:35 am
    Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren!=20 =20 Vielen Dank f=FCr Ihre Nachricht, leider bin ich erst
    kommenden Montag (15.= 07.) wieder im B=FCro.=20 Da Ihre Nachricht nicht automatisch
    weitergeleitet wird, kontaktieren Sie b= itte in dringenden F=E4llen Herrn Daniel Schmoll
    (daniel.schmoll@bdc.at) - = Tel: 0664 / 9114703 =20 Mit freundlichen Gr=FC=DFen Markus Punz
    ----------------------------------------------- BDC EDV-Consulting GmbH
    Wienerstrasse 45 A-3100 St. P=F6lten Tel +43 1 2197846 42 markus.punz@bdc.at www.bdc.at
    -----------------------------------------------

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  • Prashant Singh at Jul 12, 2013 at 3:55 am
    thanks for sharing your experience. Not sure should i read it as a cautionary tale or as definitive how to mannual for release and roadmap planning.
    looks like you released stand alone app in a week , i personally feel that you should have waited a little long. unless the functionality is broken you shouldn't pay much attention to change . people get used to it . everytime ffacebook change something there is a exsitential crisis for some section of users But they stick to it and anger die down .

    app redesign are a bit like your wife getting a new haircut , you still love her but you think she did terrible tHing to herself. you are mad on her . but it grows over you and in Few week you start loving her in same way . you find beauty in her new hair cut .
    this is how i explain my relationship with gmail.



    Sent from my MIPHONE

    John Coryat wrote:
    On July 1st, we published a new version of our app RadarNow! that featured an improved UI and more free features. It was a huge step up in capability. The beta test with over 3,000 users went well and we had crashes and functionality pretty much conquered. Then we published the beta to production in Google Play.


    Over the course of the next week, we handled hundreds of customer service complaints regarding the new version. Some of the complaints and suggestions were good and we iterated immediately. Others were just "I want the old one back" type comments. A lot of users lashed out at RadarNow! through the ratings and comments in Google Play. Our rating, which had been 4.32 and steady for years, dropped by .01 to 4.31. That might not seem like a lot but it lost us a coveted position as a solid #5 in weather, dropping us to #6. Essentially, we were off the front page because of this.


    Yesterday, to appease those that crucified us in the store, we released a "RadarNow! Classic" version as a stand alone, frozen app. The release was announced to all those that had sent us negative feedback along with a request they amend their rating in Google Play.


    The bitching stopped. The complaining stopped. There were no more one star comments along the lines of "want old one back" or their ilk. Instead, we have dozens of five star comments in their place. The count of one star ratings is actually dropping.


    This is a lesson learned:


    Before introducing a major UI update of any kind, publish a "classic" version with a different package name. Be sure to reference the classic edition in all release materials and help text included with the new version. There is a small percentage of humans that cannot tolerate change. Even if it's in their best interest. It's a fact of life and it has to be dealt with. No logic or reason can sway these people. They want their old one back. Period.


    There's a funny epilogue to this story. As if this writing, there are less than 100 installs of "Classic" - a free app.


    -John Coryat

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  • Pent at Jul 12, 2013 at 7:12 am
    Had the same experience a few months ago. The UI was still in the Donut era
    so lots of 1* for that, but the upgrade
    produced nearly as many 1* ('hate the new UI') as previously for the old
    version. I took it more as proof of
    'you can't please everyone'.

    I think you're digging yourself a hole with a frozen classic version. The
    holdouts will be complaining as they watch
    you add improvements to the main package.

    Pent

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  • Pent at Jul 12, 2013 at 7:13 am

    I think you're digging yourself a hole with a frozen classic version. The
    holdouts will be complaining as they watch
    you add improvements to the main package.
    Oops, missed your epilogue :-)

    Pent

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  • B0b at Jul 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm
    I don't think having a classic version is a good idea although it may seems
    so for the short term.

    Classic users will complain of being left behind, possibly complaining in
    teh comments of new app.

    When introducing major changes, it can be disheartening to see drop in
    ratings but they will go up after some time
    if you address (reasonable) user complaints.
    There's a few example like that where initial bitching faded over time as
    app was constantly updated to address some concerns.



    On Friday, 12 July 2013 05:35:09 UTC+2, John Coryat wrote:

    On July 1st, we published a new version of our app RadarNow! that featured
    an improved UI and more free features. It was a huge step up in capability.
    The beta test with over 3,000 users went well and we had crashes and
    functionality pretty much conquered. Then we published the beta to
    production in Google Play.

    Over the course of the next week, we handled hundreds of customer service
    complaints regarding the new version. Some of the complaints and
    suggestions were good and we iterated immediately. Others were just "I want
    the old one back" type comments. A lot of users lashed out at RadarNow!
    through the ratings and comments in Google Play. Our rating, which had been
    4.32 and steady for years, dropped by .01 to 4.31. That might not seem like
    a lot but it lost us a coveted position as a solid #5 in weather, dropping
    us to #6. Essentially, we were off the front page because of this.

    Yesterday, to appease those that crucified us in the store, we released a
    "RadarNow! Classic" version as a stand alone, frozen app. The release was
    announced to all those that had sent us negative feedback along with a
    request they amend their rating in Google Play.

    The bitching stopped. The complaining stopped. There were no more one star
    comments along the lines of "want old one back" or their ilk. Instead, we
    have dozens of five star comments in their place. The count of one star
    ratings is actually dropping.

    This is a lesson learned:

    Before introducing a major UI update of any kind, publish a "classic"
    version with a different package name. Be sure to reference the classic
    edition in all release materials and help text included with the new
    version. There is a small percentage of humans that cannot tolerate change.
    Even if it's in their best interest. It's a fact of life and it has to be
    dealt with. No logic or reason can sway these people. They want their old
    one back. Period.

    There's a funny epilogue to this story. As if this writing, there are less
    than 100 installs of "Classic" - a free app.

    -John Coryat
    --
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    To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to android-discuss+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
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  • John Coryat at Jul 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm
    The moral of the story is essentially the old Lincoln quote:

    "You can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people
    all of the time but you can't please all of the people, all of the time."

    Providing a Classic version stopped the negative reviews. If those on the
    frozen version want to use the production version, they are free to have
    both on their device. It's win-win for everyone. The "classic" is a frozen,
    never to be updated version. That's the whole point. The classic users
    won't complain as the have exactly what they wanted. If they do complain,
    it will be on the classic version which I could care less about.

    We could have taken it on the chin and just put up with the hate mail but
    by providing this "classic" app, the entire hate cycle has disappeared. If
    you want reduced rating and lots of angry one star comments, don't put out
    a classic version. If you want to nip the problem in the bud, then this is
    one way to do it.

    -John Coryat

    On Friday, July 12, 2013 9:08:51 AM UTC-5, b0b wrote:

    I don't think having a classic version is a good idea although it may
    seems so for the short term.

    Classic users will complain of being left behind, possibly complaining in
    teh comments of new app.

    When introducing major changes, it can be disheartening to see drop in
    ratings but they will go up after some time
    if you address (reasonable) user complaints.
    There's a few example like that where initial bitching faded over time as
    app was constantly updated to address some concerns.



    On Friday, 12 July 2013 05:35:09 UTC+2, John Coryat wrote:

    On July 1st, we published a new version of our app RadarNow! that
    featured an improved UI and more free features. It was a huge step up in
    capability. The beta test with over 3,000 users went well and we had
    crashes and functionality pretty much conquered. Then we published the beta
    to production in Google Play.

    Over the course of the next week, we handled hundreds of customer service
    complaints regarding the new version. Some of the complaints and
    suggestions were good and we iterated immediately. Others were just "I want
    the old one back" type comments. A lot of users lashed out at RadarNow!
    through the ratings and comments in Google Play. Our rating, which had been
    4.32 and steady for years, dropped by .01 to 4.31. That might not seem like
    a lot but it lost us a coveted position as a solid #5 in weather, dropping
    us to #6. Essentially, we were off the front page because of this.

    Yesterday, to appease those that crucified us in the store, we released a
    "RadarNow! Classic" version as a stand alone, frozen app. The release was
    announced to all those that had sent us negative feedback along with a
    request they amend their rating in Google Play.

    The bitching stopped. The complaining stopped. There were no more one
    star comments along the lines of "want old one back" or their ilk. Instead,
    we have dozens of five star comments in their place. The count of one star
    ratings is actually dropping.

    This is a lesson learned:

    Before introducing a major UI update of any kind, publish a "classic"
    version with a different package name. Be sure to reference the classic
    edition in all release materials and help text included with the new
    version. There is a small percentage of humans that cannot tolerate change.
    Even if it's in their best interest. It's a fact of life and it has to be
    dealt with. No logic or reason can sway these people. They want their old
    one back. Period.

    There's a funny epilogue to this story. As if this writing, there are
    less than 100 installs of "Classic" - a free app.

    -John Coryat
    --
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  • Tim Mensch at Jul 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    On 7/12/2013 9:43 AM, John Coryat wrote:
    Providing a Classic version stopped the negative reviews. If those on
    the frozen version want to use the production version, they are free
    to have both on their device. It's win-win for everyone. The "classic"
    is a frozen, never to be updated version. That's the whole point. The
    classic users won't complain as the have exactly what they wanted. If
    they do complain, it will be on the classic version which I could care
    less about.
    I think this was a brilliant idea. Keep the whiners happy (to avoid
    those ~100 1-star reviews), with minimal work, and give them a place to
    complain all the want without affecting the main app.

    Thanks for the idea. I'll be sure to steal it if it ever comes up for
    one of my apps. ;)

    Tim

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  • Brian Conrad at Jul 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    On 07/12/2013 10:18 AM, Tim Mensch wrote:
    On 7/12/2013 9:43 AM, John Coryat wrote:
    Providing a Classic version stopped the negative reviews. If those on
    the frozen version want to use the production version, they are free
    to have both on their device. It's win-win for everyone. The
    "classic" is a frozen, never to be updated version. That's the whole
    point. The classic users won't complain as the have exactly what they
    wanted. If they do complain, it will be on the classic version which
    I could care less about.
    I think this was a brilliant idea. Keep the whiners happy (to avoid
    those ~100 1-star reviews), with minimal work, and give them a place
    to complain all the want without affecting the main app.

    Thanks for the idea. I'll be sure to steal it if it ever comes up for
    one of my apps. ;)

    Tim
    OTOH, it might be well time for version 2.0 (or 3 or whatever). That's
    another way of handling a new interface and taking advantage of what
    features you can add. Not sure how easy it is for an upgrade on Play
    those since it wasn't thought out too well along traditional software
    life cycles that have been around for ages. In app purchasing I suppose.

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  • John Coryat at Jul 13, 2013 at 1:53 am
    I think one of issue with Google Play is that once someone upgrades, they
    cannot "undo" the upgrade. There is no facility to maintain multiple
    versions and let people choose to go backward. The "classic" method solves
    that problem through a kludge approach. Not elegant but functional.

    -John Coryat

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  • Brian Conrad at Jul 13, 2013 at 2:31 am

    On 07/12/2013 06:53 PM, John Coryat wrote:
    I think one of issue with Google Play is that once someone upgrades, they
    cannot "undo" the upgrade. There is no facility to maintain multiple
    versions and let people choose to go backward. The "classic" method solves
    that problem through a kludge approach. Not elegant but functional.

    -John Coryat
    This is one of the issues I raised in my feedback to the latest survey.

    - Brian

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  • John Coryat at Jul 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm
    Epilogue:

    Enough people changed their one star "I want the old one back" rant to five
    star "Developer loves us" comments that we moved back into the #5 spot. Our
    overall rating is also back where it was before the new release (4.32).

    The "haters" are happy and life goes on. The last few days have been
    virtually complaint free.

    -John Coryat

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