On Satisfying the Android OS Community: User Feedback Still Central to Developers' Portfolios

03/12/2021 ∙ by Sherlock A. Licorish, et al. ∙ 0

End-users play an integral role in identifying requirements, validating software features' usefulness, locating defects, and in software product evolution in general. Their role in these activities is especially prominent in online application distribution platforms (OADPs), where software is developed for many potential users, and for which the traditional processes of requirements gathering and negotiation with a single group of end-users do not apply. With such vast access to end-users, however, comes the challenge of how to prioritize competing requirements in order to satisfy previously unknown user groups, especially with early releases of a product. One highly successful product that has managed to overcome this challenge is the Android Operating System (OS). While the requirements of early versions of the Android OS likely benefited from market research, new features in subsequent releases appear to have benefitted extensively from user reviews. Thus, lessons learned about how Android developers have managed to satisfy the user community over time could usefully inform other software products. We have used data mining and natural language processing (NLP) techniques to investigate the issues that were logged by the Android community, and how Google's remedial efforts correlated with users' requests. We found very strong alignment between end-users' top feature requests and Android developers' responses, particularly for the more recent Android releases. Our findings suggest that effort spent responding to end-users' loudest calls may be integral to software systems' survival, and a product's overall success.



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