Tucows Rating Calculator

Background

This calculator allows you to rate your own software according to the Tucows Rating Guide. The aim of the calculator is to make it easy for you to estimate your rating, see where your software is lacking, and plan improvements to your product to maximize your rating before submitting it to Tucows.

In my opinion the Tucows Rating Guide is a good indicator of the quality of an application. In modifying your application with the aim to improve your Tucows rating you are also improving its quality, and hence increasing the likelihood that people will use or purchase it.

Disclaimer

This calculator is not endorsed by Tucows. You should check the Tucows Rating Guide in the Tucows Author Resource Centre for the most up to date information. A significant portion of the ratings are subjective and your self assessed rating is likely to vary from any official rating given by Tucows. The wording and choices provided in the calculator are based on my interpretation of the Tucows Rating Guide - your interpretation may differ.

If you find any errors or omissions in this calculator then please contact me.

The Ratings

The ratings are broken down into four categories: Usability, Help Documentation and Support, Program Enhancements, and Overall Evaluation.

Tucows states: "To be listed within the Tucows software library, you must meet 50% of the total score. To achieve our highest award, you must obtain 67% of the total points. Although you can achieve the highest award without stellar help and documentation, or additional program enhancements, you cannot score enough points if your application lacks usability."

Michael E. Callahan at Tucows says in his Tell Me About Tucows Ratings article that 70% of programs submitted to Tucows are rejected, that is they don't meet 50% of the total score or severely lack usability.

Tucows Rating Calculator

Currently this calculator is only for Windows programs. Tucows has separate rating guides for add-on programs, games, Macintosh programs and online services.

Last updated: October 10, 2005

To use the calculator select the most appropriate option in each section and click the Calculate Rating button.

Try to be as objective as possible or get someone else to calculate your rating for you.

Tucows Cow Ratings  
29 to 33 points 3 Cows
34 to 38 points 4 Cows
39 or more points 5 Cows
Total 57 Possible Points  

Usability - 21 Points (37%)

Installation

Program group, shortcuts, multimedia install.

Application creates a start menu program group
Program group contains shortcut to application
Program group contains shortcut to help/documentation
Application features a multimedia installation (some form of multimedia presentation or enhancement)

Program Interface

User interface quality, resizing, icons, design flaws, quick repaint, expandable toolbars, view options, accessibility of features.

Major problems
Several minor problems or lacks essential functionality
Good in most areas
Very good in all areas

Unique Features

Features that go over and above the intended use of the application.

No unique features
Very few or minor unique features
A few unique features
Several or major unique features

Learning Curve and Accessibility

Easy to learn and remember, efficient, accessible features, quick launch and desktop shortcuts, visually pleasing, fun to use, quick to recover from errors.

Difficult to run and use
Difficult to run or difficult to use
Easy to run, moderately easy to use
Easy to run, easy and intuitive to use

Functionality

Functionality, speed, and use of resources.

Limited functionality or resource hungry
Moderate functionality or resource hungry at times
Good functionality, no speed or resource problems
Extensive functionality, no speed or resource problems

Direct Comparison

Comparison of functionality, usability and features of your product with competing products in the Tucows archive, comments in past reviews, and related features and applications.

Application is the only program in its class
Compares poorly with competing products or has poor reviews
Similar functionality, possibly better usability, possibly mixed reviews
Better functionality, possibly some good reviews
A lot more functionality and improved usability, possibly glowing reviews

Uninstall Process

Uninstall Mechanism

No uninstall mechanism
Uninstall leaves some traces of installation (excluding trial/registration registry keys or data explicitly selected by the user during the uninstallation to be kept)
Uninstall removes all traces of installation (excluding trial/registration registry keys or data explicitly selected by the user during the uninstallation to be kept)

Repair Mechanism

Repair mechanism provided on install or uninstall

Help, Documentation & Support - 15 Points (26%)

Basic Help and Documentation

Basic presentation, accessibility.

No help or documentation
Help or documentation provided locally or online, not accessible from the application
Help or documentation provided locally or online, directly accessible from the application

Tutorials

Step-by-step help and documentation over and above general "how to use" text.

No specific tutorials
Tutorials provided locally or online (local and linked from the application are better)
Flash or visually intensive tutorials provided for rapid learning

Content

Useful, accessible and descriptive. Embedded and context sensitive help, tooltip hints, readme's and tutorials. Content describing what the application is all about, what it does, and how to use it.

No help or documentation
Very basic, short and not very useful
Good content, useful and covers main functionality, some hints or context sensitive help
Descriptive and comprehensive, hints and/or context sensitive help

Tips on Startup

"Tip of the day" style functionality.

No need for tips of the day
No tips provided
A few tips are provided, possibly not very useful
Many tips are provided and are quite useful

Customer Support

Online or offline free support. Select the following items only if the support provided is free and linked from within the application.

Direct e-mail address
Form based e-mail
Telephone or fax number (excluding corporate sales number)
Forum (must be useful with good existing content)
Live chat (minimum availability 4 business hours per business day)
Other linked support provided

Program Enhancements - 9 Points (16%)

File Size

Comparison of file size and quality, quantity, and popularity of your application to related and semi-related applications. Note: If your application requires the Java Runtime Environment or .NET framework the size of that library is added when evaluating your applications file size.

Huge file size, files scattered all over the place
Large executable or files
Small executable and files
Very compact for the features provided

Author Home Page

The web site used to promote your application. Note: The home page must contain brief information about the application.

Web site contains contact information.
Web site contains help and documentation (detailed, not just generic FAQs)
Web site is well designed with clear navigation and information

Keyboard Shortcuts

The application has extensive keyboard shortcuts (not just for menu items and key features but also for selecting controls and buttons)

Step By Step Configuration Wizards

Setup wizard displayed when your application is first run. This has nothing to do with the installation wizard.

A configuration wizard is not applicable for this application
No configuration wizard provided
Configuration wizard is provided

Microsoft Designed for XP Logo Certification

Application has official Designed for XP certification

Overall Evaluation - 12 Points (21%)

Cost vs. Value

If your application is Shareware (or trialware or commercial, not Freeware): Would many people in your target market buy your application?

No (expensive, little value)
Yes (good value)

If your application is Freeware: Would people use it over similar Shareware applications?

No (poorer quality, much less features and benefits)
Yes (better quality, similar or more features and benefits)

Reviewer's Recommendation

Would people recommend your application to others?

Few, if any, would
Many would

Reviewer's Overall Impression

What would be people's overall experience with the application?

0/10 How do I install it? What is an Access Violation?
1/10 This has more bugs than features
2/10 Poor quality, difficult to use
3/10 Very basic, lacks essential features, uninstalling now
4/10 I found a much better competing product
5/10 When is version 2 being released?
6/10 It's OK but I wouldn't use it much
7/10 Suits most of my needs, can you add feature XYZ?
8/10 Good, solid, memorable product
9/10 Great product, I wish I knew about it a long time ago
10/10 Fantastic, great feature set, works well, looks great, here's my credit card

 

If you find any errors or omissions, interpret the Tucows rating guide very differently, or would like to comment or provide suggestions then please contact me.