Why don’t users “read the manual”?

In a previous post I had a little rant about some reviews I’d received from users of the FillLPG Android application. This was as a result of a handful of 1 star reviews from users who I believe had missed the point of the app.

You see, the application itself is just a portal into the FillLPG website – a website I do not control. The data provided by the website is maintained by a community of users who use the site and the app to add new stations, remove stations and update prices.

The problem is that users of the app have a place to sound off and express their displeasure – the Google Play Store. By leaving a 1 star review and the most basic of justifications for it (see previous rant) they get it off their chest and move on.

Well, today I had another 1 star review but this time the user took the time to explain why he had done so, but in doing so showed that he had not ‘read the manual’ – or in this case, the app description.

I’ve not redacted the users name, he was happy to post this publically and thank Google that I only had 350 characters to respond!

The app has (at the time of writing) over 6000 active installations, it displays details of around 1000 stations every day and on average it is used to update 25 prices every day. Only 240 users have felt the need to rate the app and only 10% of those have left 1 star – and we know that people are more likely to complain about something than to praise it, so I’m not doing bad. But it does irritate me when people take the time to complain but don’t take the time to read simple instructions. Even when you bring this to their attention they don’t really bother taking it in or removing/updating their review, they just move on.

So what is to be done here? The app description clearly states that the data is maintained by the FillLPG community but obviously users are not reading this – or at least not all of it.

I could add a ‘Getting Started’ slideshow to the app which would be displayed after the initial installation – but we know that users just swipe or click next to get through these as quickly as possible without really reading the content.

Maybe users are their own worst enemy and we should just leave them to it – in this instance it is not as if I’m relying on income from the app, it’s free and there are no ads, so if they uninstall it then I’m no worse off, in fact the contrary may be true!

Obviously I would like users to get the best from the fruits of my labours – but how do we (developers) do that?

2 thoughts on “Why don’t users “read the manual”?”

  1. The solution is good data so yes – out of your hands. Assuming the data will improve as more people get on board to update at least this guy won’t be there to take advantage of the improvements.

  2. I have found this to be the most accurate and extensive app for finding LPG sites and I have tried several. For example, TomTom, which I have paid a subscription for several years for traffic information, has taken me to several sites, advertising a price accurate to a few days and the garage has NEVER ever even had LPG!

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