[App Fridays] Reviews42: Great On Content, Poor on Performance
Expert analysis and reviews are a great references to turn to before you buy something. However Facebook’s dominance has ensured that its not normal analysis or reviews that make or break things, but a more potent tool is a user’s feedback of a product on the social network. For a user who will burn a
good amount of his/her money on the product, he wants to make sure he’s done enough research before he puts his money.Online sites often have an expert review of the product, or sometimes even their own review of the product, which can be biased. Amid this trend, Reviews42 offers an interesting proposition. It crowdsources reviews of products from actual users of product, and it is possible for users to have the most credible reviews for products on this app. Crowdsourcing also allows it to cater to products across categories. The app has received two rounds of funding.
Reviews42 has a smartphone app for the Android platform, which we put through some drill and here’s what we think about it.
What is it about?
Like it’s website, the app helps you find information and reviews about products. There are two ways in which you can do so using the Reviews42 app. You can either search for the product by name using the search box or using the app’s list view of product categories.Under each category, products are listed and you can choose the one you’re looking for. In the product page, you are given the price of the product across various eCommerce portals, reviews by users of Reviews42, features of the product and pictorial representation of its overall ratings.
Each product has been scored out of 10 based on its reviews, which you can share across your social networks.
Its not all looks; it’s also about the feel
On a smartphone, the responsiveness and speed of an app is sometime more appreciated than it’s looks. Don’t get me wrong
-- looks are very important, but it can be let down if the feel of the app is not upto the mark -- and that is the case with Reviews42.The app has a great sense of design. Good colour themes, beautiful typography and thoughtful animations. For example, while scrolling, tabs on the top and bottom of the app retract, hence freeing up some screen space. Navigating through the app is intuitive. But it feels sluggish. Scrolling is choppy and the images are neither pre-fetched nor cached. The animations are not very fluid and the app constantly closes by itself.
We tested the app on 3 different phones, all high end ones and the experience was the same. This is a classic case of a good looking app being let down by below par performance.
Pros and cons
The concept of crowdsourced reviews is Reviews42’s biggest strength. There is a great assortment of content available, and almost every product that I’ve searched for, had a proper user review for it. This is a great strength. Being a smartphone app, it can be a good shopping assistant for those who research offline and buy online.However, the app has user experience problems. Apart from the aforementioned performance issues, simple things like using Facebook SDK for login have been overlooked.
If content is king, Reviews42 would be a great app, which it is, to some extent. But it’s the performance issues that is worrying and it is the Achilles heel for an otherwise high utility app.
But here’s the good news -- the app’s design is great and it needs some internal optimization changes, which shouldn’t be as much work for Reviews42 as opposed to a complete overhaul of the app.
A more responsive and fast app under the current design will make the Reviews42 app a pleasure to use.
Download the app here.