An empirical study of Android Wear user complaints

Suhaib Mujahid, Giancarlo Sierra, Rabe Abdalkareem, Emad Shihab, Weiyi Shang

Published in Empirical Software Engineering Journal (EMSE), 2018

Abstract: Wearable apps are becoming increasingly popular in recent years. Nevertheless, to date, very few studies have examined the issues that wearable apps face. Prior studies showed that user reviews contain a plethora of insights that can be used to understand quality issues and help developers build better quality mobile apps. Therefore, in this paper, we mine user reviews in order to understand the user complaints about wearable apps. We manually sample and categorize 2,667 reviews from 19 Android wearable apps. Additionally, we examine the replies posted by developers in response to user complaints. This allows us to determine the type of complaints that developers care about the most, and to identify problems that despite being important to users, do not receive a proper response from developers. Our findings indicate that the most frequent complaints are related to Functional Errors, Cost, and Lack of Functionality, whereas the most negatively impacting complaints are related to Installation Problems, Device Compatibility, and Privacy & Ethical Issues. We also find that developers mostly reply to complaints related to Privacy & Ethical Issues, Performance Issues, and notification related issues. Furthermore, we observe that when developers reply, they tend to provide a solution, request more details, or let the user know that they are working on a solution. Lastly, we compare our findings on wearable apps with the study done by Khalid et al. (2015) on handheld devices. From this, we find that some complaint types that appear in handheld apps also appear in wearable apps; though wearable apps have unique issues related to Lack of Functionality, Installation Problems, Connection & Sync, Spam Notifications, and Missing Notifications. Our results highlight the issues that users of wearable apps face the most, and the issues to which developers should pay additional attention to due to their negative impact.

DOI: 10.1007/s10664-018-9615-8