How do we Test the Apps Submitted to us?
Apps only appear in the Good App Guide if they receive more than 9 stars across our Fun, Skill Development and Ease of Use ratings following our evaluations. Apps that achieve more than 12 stars are flagged as ‘Recommended Apps’.
We are unique in the way that we review apps and other products:
- We gather feedback for each product from at least 4 children
- Each app is also reviewed by an expert (we have experts in child psychology, user experience, teaching/education, play, toys and apps).
This ensures our reviews are expert, independent and based on real feedback from the target users, making them reviews both consumers and your internal team can trust.
In addition, we offer a range of more detailed review services, user research and (if the product is approved) a range of endorsement services – please contact us for more details firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based on feedback from users and their expert review, our experts write the review and rate the product using our 5-star system. This takes into account fun, skills developed and ease of use. The details of our rating process are shown below:
Qualifying App Criteria
When an app receives 9 or more stars across all criteria (without meeting the criteria for ‘recommended’ status) it will be approved and certified with our stamp of approval ‘Approved’ by the Good App Guide.
As of 16/07/15, we have updated our testing process so that Apps that receive 12 stars or more across Ease of Use, Fun Rating & Skill Development immediately qualify for Recommended status.
Apps that were tested and achieved Recommended status prior to this update will not change and shall remain at their current status.
Re-Test: If for some reason we are unhappy with the data gathered, we may choose to re-test your product using more children, ensuring we are confident with our final review and rating.
Fail: Receiving less than 9 stars across all criteria and/or a star rating of 1 for ease of use (Updated as of 1/9/16)
The criteria for achieving ‘fun’ rated stars is:
This is awarded to the real favourites. Children engaged well with the app and are keen to continue playing regularly after the initial testing.
This is awarded to apps that are more fun than most. At least some of our child testers will have remained keen to play this app regularly over at least a week with all testers in the core age range enjoying playing the app beyond a brief initial play session, engaging with the app for 5+ minutes on multiple play sessions and expressing enjoyment in playing the app.
Most apps receive a 3 star fun rating unless they qualify to be upgraded or downgraded based on the statements for the other fun ratings. A 3 star rating indicates that most of the children enjoyed playing with the app and some for prolonged periods
If some children in the core target age range were only keen to play the app briefly and this app did not become a favourite for any of the children, or if the app stopped being played by most children within a day or so then the app will be awarded a 2 star fun rating.
Star ratings are awarded for ease of use based on the following criteria:
This is only awarded for apps for which we find no ease of use problems what so ever. Children can work out how to play the app (and difficulties are intended challenges of the app) and the app can be navigated easily. No features are missed or misunderstood, the app is considered very intuitive and there are no aspects (such as in-app purchasing, the lack of a parent gate, third party adverts) that adversely affect the user experience.
This is awarded to apps that are more easy to use than most where there are 1 to 3 identified minor ease of use issues such as: a minor issue initially in understanding how to play, a minor navigation issues, a non-critical feature that is missed or misunderstood, or one of the following adversely affects user experience to a minor extent – third party adverts, in-app purchasing, no parent gate.
Most apps receive a 3 star ease of use rating unless they qualify to be upgraded or downgraded based on the statements for the other skills development ratings, such as if 6 or more minor ease of use issues or any major ease of use issues are identified.
If one or more ease of use issues are identified that represent a significant barrier in playing the game but that are overcome before most children give up playing the then the app will be awarded a 2 star ease of use rating. The app may also be awarded 2 star for ease of use if there are high number of more minor issues or if there are one or more unrestricted links to paid content (whether they are for upgrading to a full version, in-app purchases, adverts or more apps from the same provider).
If more than one child tester of the target age failed to understand how to play the app without significant third party help (for apps appropriate for use by an unaccompanied child), any core features were never found, or where there are multiple significant issues that affect user experience and would either discourage a child to play the game or a parent to want their child to play the game (such as regular unrestricted adverts or in-app purchases) then a 1 star ease of use rating will be awarded.
Apps that actively help children to develop skills across 3 or more skill development areas (e.g. cognitive, creative and language skills) or are truly exceptional at helping to develop a fewer number of core skills such as literacy and numeracy across a wide range of abilities (e.g. an app that very clearly supports children from pre-reading through to reading full books) are given 5 stars for skills development. A 5 star rating is hard to achieve and only available for apps that we consider exceptionally good for learning and development.
Apps that help children to develop skills across 2 skill development areas successfully or are particularly supportive in one area that is a key target within Early Years Foundation Stage or Key Stage tracking (depending on the age range). We are confident that parents and teachers/childcare professionals would consider this to be an ‘educational app’.
Most apps receive a 3 star skills development rating unless they qualify to be upgraded or downgraded based on the statements for the other skills development ratings. A three star rating for skill development indicates that an app has substantial benefit to children’s development in at least one area.
Apps with a 2 star skills development rating do have some potential to develop skills but they are primarily fun. The skills they develop are typically less core or may be skills children have already mastered so test and refine skills rather than developing them or require an adult to use the app in a way not obviously intended to use this as a developmental tool. We suspect most parents and teachers/childcare professionals would not perceive this to be an ‘educational’ app.
Apps with a 1 star skills development rating are clearly focused on being fun games rather than educational. They may require some skills to be used but these are typically ones a child has already mastered (e.g. you need to colour in but it doesn’t stretch art & design skills or you need to use fine motor skills already developed) and certainly not core skills for EYFS/National Curriculum. We are confident that parents and teachers/childcare professionals would not perceive this as an educational app.
We tag all reviewed apps with the skills they help to develop including both skills developed in academic subjects and wider skill development across the following skill development areas:
Personal, social and emotional skills
Speech, language and communication skills
Physical and motor skills
Understanding the world (including Geography, History, Science etc).
We particularly look for apps that are well pitched for an age group for which a skill is particularly being developed.