A large scale analysis of mHealth app user reviews

Omar Haggag, John Grundy, Mohamed Abdelrazek, Sherif Haggag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The global mHealth app market is rapidly expanding, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many of these mHealth apps have serious issues, as reported in their user reviews. Better understanding their key user concerns would help app developers improve their apps’ quality and uptake. While app reviews have been used to study user feedback in many prior studies, many are limited in scope, size and/or analysis. In this paper, we introduce a very large-scale study and analysis of mHealth app reviews. We extracted and translated over 5 million user reviews for 278 mHealth apps. These reviews were then classified into 14 different aspects/categories of issues reported. Several mHealth app subcategories were examined to reveal differences in significant areas of user concerns, and to investigate the impact of different aspects of mhealth apps on their ratings. Based on our findings, women’s health apps had the highest satisfaction ratings. Fitness activity tracking apps received the lowest and most unfavourable ratings from users. Over half of users who reported troubles leading them to uninstall mHealth apps gave a 1-star rating. Half of users gave the account and logging aspect only one star due to faults and issues encountered while registering or logging in. Over a third of users who expressed privacy concerns gave the app a 1-star rating. However, only 6% of users gave apps a one-star rating due to UI/UX concerns. 20% of users reported issues with handling of user requests and internationalisation concerns. We validated our findings by manually analysing a sample of 1,000 user reviews from each investigated aspect/category. We developed a list of recommendations for mHealth apps developers based on our user review analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number196
Number of pages53
JournalEmpirical Software Engineering
Volume27
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Analysis
  • App store
  • Classification
  • Google play
  • mHealth apps
  • Recommendations
  • User reviews

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