Discussion of Categories

I want to take a quick break from app reviews in order to talk a little bit about the categories that I chose to analyze apps.

When I was coming up with the idea for this blog I wanted to make sure that I actually had some solid criteria. I thought about what I liked about apps and talked to some of my friends.

It’s tricky because a lot of it is subconscious – we don’t actively realize what makes us like or dislike an app. We just know if we like it or not. The biggest challenge in writing these reviews has been trying to articulate why I feel a certain way about an app.

Which is why I think it’s good that I’ve broken it down into categories that I always consider every time. It’s hard not to be biased and go with my gut feeling on an app without substantiating my claim. I’ve had to push myself to isolate the reasons I like or dislike certain apps.

Mobile site: This category was originally supposed to be whether or not the mobile website works the same as the app – basically to distinguish if there’s a reason to even download the app in the first place. But I’ve found that not to be very common, so I’ve just used this category to talk about the website for the app and whether or not it works effectively.

Free: This is something that’s good to know. Especially for those that aren’t free, I hope that my review can help people decide whether or not it’s worth the money. I haven’t come across too many that aren’t free, at least for the basics. It seems like a lot of these app developers just want people to use their apps as opposed to make a ton of money off of them, which is nice.

I’ve also used this category to talk about ways I could see apps charging money for certain features or expansions. I like seeing apps grow and change. As an aspiring journalist, I’m obviously supportive of the news industry and don’t have a problem with paying for things.

Availability: Pretty straightforward, you need an app to exist for your phone for you to be able to use it. It also can be telling about how major the app is and how in demand it is by a wide base of users.

Original content: This is just something that I thought was important because there are two major kinds of news apps. Ones that provide original content and ones that are simply aggregators. I’ve found that there is a mix of both kinds out there – and some include a little bit of both. I think it’s an important factor to identify when researching an app.

Push notifications: Everyone wants notifications! Or at least, some notifications, too many can be annoying. It’s also helpful to know what there are notifications for what people would want. Some news apps just offer breaking news notifications whereas other apps offer more sophisticated settings where certain stories can be followed and whatnot.

Simplicity: No one wants an app that’s too hard to use. Simplicity is an important factor!

Recommend to: This category is important because it’s where I try to determine who the best audience for the app might be, even if I’m not a huge fan of it. Not every app works great for everyone, so I’ve tried to determine who the ideal user would be and who I’d recommend its use to.

Score out of 10: I try to rate the apps on a number scale, just because it feels like something that should be done with a review.

Verdict: My final call on whether or not I’m going to keep the app on my phone – the title of my blog being Don’t Waste Space. The whole point is to decide if it’s worth taking up space on my phone.

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