Whiny Apps

Nag screen – facebook messenger

A UK regulatory body has declared that calling the new Dungeon Keeper app free was misleading, indeed the game cannot be played (in the sense of fun) without paying. The people who develop software want to be paid in the end, so if the app is free, the money is going to come from somewhere else: support services, in-app purchases, ads or just monetizing the data.

Basically Free apps are behaving like people who have no money: they beg and nag. The first rule of begging is to never accept no like an answer. If it sounds very close to harassment, it is, the user can’t say no, the best she can do is either say not now, or just close and ignore the interstitial.

Facebook messenger is particularly annoying in this respect, as it regularly shows me how to enable notifications. Guess what: I know how to do it, and I have choosen, to block the permissions for this app; that corporate communication that pretends to be helpful annoys me more than anything. Imagine a guy explaining a girl how the phone works because she won’t give him her number…

Nag Screen – Twitter

Unsurprisingly, users hate this, and this nagging is a good way to torpedo down usability: while I was a huge fan of dungeon keeper and I would have paid money to play it on a tablet (I paid money to play it again on good old games), I uninstalled electronic’s art horrible sequel in a few minutes. Same song for plants vs. zombies, I loved the first game, bought it both for Mac OS and iOS, I played the sequel on my phone a bit and uninstalled it, too much nagging, too much changing, the game felt like a TV show, and for people outside of the US, this is bad.

I recently switched fitness apps because of nagging and bugs and increasingly I prefer silent apps that cost a bit of money to free noisy apps. Most of the apps I run now are constrained in their permission in one way or another: most of them don’t really need mobile data, location or contact address they would just like to get to the data and do a bit of tracking. Tough…

One thought on “Whiny Apps”

  1. I have now made it a policy that, whenever an app asks me to rate it or review it, I do so and make the rating one star less, commenting that it was brought down because of the nagging.

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