Review Guide and Layout Tips

Discussion in 'iTunes App Store Reviews' started by bgizzle, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. bgizzle

    bgizzle Administrator Staff Member

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    Want a thumbnail?

    Simply attach a screenshot of the game or application that you are reviewing when you create a thread in this section, and a thumbnail will appear when people browse this forum.

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  2. Abcmsaj

    Abcmsaj Retired Moderator

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    Review Guide + Layout Tips

    When writing a review, you should always be keeping three main things in mind:

    • Your readers
    • Your type of review
    • The purpose of your review

    Your main aim is to inform, but you should also be trying to keep it entertaining at the same time. How many times have you clicked a review, got 4 lines in and realised you could be wasting a lot of time reading it?

    This guide's goal is to guide you in a certain direction in order to keep the quality of your reviews to a high standard, and helpful to other users of iPTF.

    Your personal writing style

    A personal writing style is different for everybody. In my case, I like to review it as if I was explaining it to a friend by voice. Other people like to bullet point ideas or features, and others just enjoy rambling on about the app in wordy paragraphs. Remember though, your writing style may not fit the app you're reviewing, or the reader may not be as enthusiastic to read it as you were write it.

    Try and form the way you write around the app you're reviewing. For example, my TonePad review is aimed at musicians and people who want like music apps. I decided to keep it simple by breaking it down into 3 areas:

    • What it looks like
    • What else it does
    • My opinions

    This is a vague way to review something. As I had a target audience in mind, I didn't feel I needed to persuade them into getting it, so I use a chatty tone, as if you and I were discussing it face to face.

    Contrastingly, my Airport Mania review is split into headings like "Graphics" and "Gameplay." This is a more in-depth style of writing, trying to inform the reader of all the features of the app and why they should part with their money and buy it.

    You should vary your style of writing to avoid replicating previous reviews and having a dull, typical structure which the reader won't find entertaining.

    Dos and Don'ts

    Here's a few more tips before I move onto creating a professional layout:

    1. When writing for the internet (web pages) try and cut your paragraphs shorter, and use less wordy sentences. Reading large chunks of text on a computer screen is difficult, and shorter paragraphs will make it look like there's less to read aswell.
    2. Your readers may be beginners - or advanced specialists. You should write reviews in different ways, according to the audience. A general reader will not have detailed technical knowledge. Advanced readers will want specialist information. The type of audience is likely to be determined by the type of app you're reviewing.
    3. Give examples from within the app. If you're talking about the graphics, say in particular which part of the graphics you like - But keep it SHORT.
      "The graphics in the foreground (e.g. that planes) are designed like cartoons, which contrasts beautifully with the background skyline."​
    4. Avoid going on for too long. Reviews are good when they're short and to the point. Noone wants to read an essay to be told that the app is only worth of 6.5/10
    5. Try not to be completely negative - Or else what's the point in giving the app a review? Especially if you've been gifted the app by the developer. Try and give suggestions for improvements instead of ripping the app to shreds in a grueling blood-bath of hatred. (Metaphorically)
    6. Also avoid using bad language, 1337 speak, txt talk, etc. Standard English is the way forward, making it clear and concise for the reader.
    7. Honesty is key; if you give an app 10/10 when it's actually terrible, people will buy it and be angry at you for recommending it. You as the reviewer are acting as the eyes and ears of the community. Whatever you say about the app, people will follow. Honesty is the best Policy.

    Layout Tips

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    The toolbar is your best friend when you want to sort out how your review looks. Let's take a look at its features (colour coded below):

    Font type and size

    Use sparingly. In a review (or any publication) you're expected to use a maximum of 3 font types. Personally, I use 1 throughout, and that's the default one. I don't see the need to use multiple font types. Also with size, try and stay consistent. You're looking to have a standard size for the body of the text, and a size for the subtitles - Not all 7 font sizes.

    Font Colour

    Again, you don't want a rainbow of colours in your review. Ignore the fact I'm spelling colour "wrong," just go with it. Some colours, like yellow, can be hard to read on computer screens. I'd suggest using colour only for subtitles - And a maximum of 2 colours. Try not to make them clash. Purple and Red go well together, Yellow and Blue, but Blue and Orange might hurt eyes a bit too much.

    Bold, Underline, Italics

    As a rule of thumb:
    • Use Bold for emphasis, titles or subtitles.
    • Use underline to stress a particular point you've mentioned, or mark it as a "key phrase" in the review.
    • Italics will be used less, and normally to show stress, as if you were saying it aloud.

    Alignment

    Your choices are left, right and center. For some reason, pictures always look better central in the text. My choice is to have images in the center and text aligned left, but don't be afraid to use the lesser right alignment - I've not seen many reviews aligned right and it could be someone's "originality."

    Lists, Bullets, Indents

    Lists are used to show features in their simplest form. Imagine the reader just wants to know what the app has, without having to read huge chunks of text? You could do this:
    • BISH.
    • BASH.
    • BOSH.

    Done. Now the reader is informed and it took a much shorter time to read. Using the bullets can separate the main points from the body of the text, and you can use the indent buttons too for even more precise informing:

    • BISH.
      Ol' MacDonald had a farm.​
    • BASH.
    • BOSH.

    Or you can put a list inside a list:

    • BISH.
    • BASH.
      • Check mic
      • One, two, one, two
    • BOSH.

    Links and Images

    Use these buttons to add hyperlinks and embedded images to your text. You can wrap alignment tags around them aswell, and you can link an image to a website:

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    Quotes

    If you have something that the developer has said about the app, or testimonials, then you can use the

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  3. studangerous

    studangerous Super Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    Share your tips and pointers for writing great reviews here.

    Here's my input:

    • Screenshots: Embed your own screenshots - press home and power buttons simultaneously to take screenshots, upload to an image host (e.g. Tinypic.com) and embed using the 'Insert Image' button. Then CENTER the images and maybe add labels. Pictures speak a thousand words. The maximum of 10 images per post can be overcome by using gifs. See Radish's review here for a great example of how best to use gif and labeled screenshots.
    • Add a Thumbnail: see here for a tutorial
    • Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation: Triple check them before you post. Maybe have someone else read your review. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Especially check the thread title as this can only be changed for 10 mins after posting. Moderator can edit title if 10 minutes expires.
    • Waffling: avoid it. Try to keep you reviews succinct, to the point and easily readable.
    • Presentation: Use all the tools at your disposal for maximum impact. Different fonts (not too many), bold, underline, size. colour etc..
    • App Store link: make sure you add one and maybe even use an App Store graphic for the link, as Education did in his review here.
    • Tags: if you're going to be making a range of reviews, personalise them with your own tag graphic.
    • Scoring: you may want to rate certain features, e.g. graphics, sound, replay value, value for money, overall etc.. Some users have even made some nice graphical scoring systems instead of text.
    • Price, Developer, Home Page: don't forget to mention the price somewhere. Readers want to know what they'll be expected to pay for the app. You may also want to name the developer and link to the developers or apps homepage so readers can get more info.
  4. studangerous

    studangerous Super Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    Useful Image Dump
    [thanks to our first Member Reviewer, Education, for some of the images]

    Copy and paste image links into your thread

    You-tube link image

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    iTunes link image

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    App Store icon

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    Multiple Rating
    Thank you to Education, part of the official Member Reviewer team, for these images!

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  5. studangerous

    studangerous Super Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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  6. studangerous

    studangerous Super Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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  7. studangerous

    studangerous Super Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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  8. SumDaii

    SumDaii Active Member

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    another free gif online thing is gifninja

    www.gifninja.com

    may not be as good though.
  9. SmoothTroopa

    SmoothTroopa Member

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    it looks nice whne you put a comment below an image in italic like this :

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    All hail the hypnotoad!
  10. SumDaii

    SumDaii Active Member

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