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Tucows Scorecard

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Here's a useful way to assess the quality of your software:

Tucows reviewers rate software submitted to their archive according to a clear and well-conceived scoring system. The questionnaire below is based on the Tucows scorecard and uses the same scoring allocation to rate your own software, helping you identify areas for improvement and taking some of the guesswork out of what rating your software will receive on Tucows.

Take a critical eye to your software or get someone else to assess it for you. Reviewers don't have your inside knowledge of the software, and they're rarely as forgiving of flaws and quirks as you might be!

The rating system has been updated to the Tucows guidelines of 10 October 2005.



Is there an installer? Does it guide the user clearly through the installation? Does it automatically configure the software appropriately? Does it create shortcuts to the program, help and uninstaller? Does it offer to place them where the user chooses?

Tucows scoring: Start Menu program group is created with a program shortuct (1 point), plus a help shortcut (2 points), plus multimedia enhancement (3 points).


Is the interface easy to understand and use? Are features easy to find and access? Are windows resizable? Menus clearly layed out? Icons appropriate and clear? Customizable?

Unique features

How significantly different is your product from the competition? Extra functionality? Better integration?

Learning curve and accessibility

How easy is it for a new user to use your software? Is it clear what the software does? Is it straightforward to achieve any of the main tasks the software is designed for? Is it readily accessible (e.g. with desktop or QuickLaunch shortcuts)?

Overall functionality
How useful are the features? Do they work well? Are they fast? Do they use minimal resources?

Competitive comparison

Overall how does your software compare with the competition?


Is there an uninstaller? Does it remove all program files? Does it delete program configuration settings from the Registry? Does it delete user configuration settings from the Registry? Does it offer to leave configuration settings alone (e.g. for an upgrade)?

Tucows scoring: Uninstallation is deemed 'incomplete' if it leaves any program files behind.


Is the software 'self-healing' or does it provide a 'repair' option with the installer/uninstaller?

Help, Documentation and Support

Basic help and documentation

Do you include a help file? Is it included with the application, or is it only available online? Is it linked into the application with context-sensitive links?

Tucows scoring: Help is not linked into the program (1 point); there are links to basic help throughout the application (2 points).


Are there context-relevant tutorials available from within the program? Do you offer multimedia (e.g. Flash) tutorials?

Help content

Does the documentation (user guide, help system, tips, hints, tutorials) cover everything the user needs to know about the software? Does it tell the user how to achieve tasks? Is it illustrated and clearly presented? Are references to the program (e.g. menu text, location of buttons) accurate? Is it technically accurate (links, grammar, spelling, etc)? Are their tool tips or status line messages?

Tips on startup

Does the program offer tips to the user, for instance as a 'Tip of the Day' feature? Are the tips really helpful to the user?

Customer support

Can the user easily find how to get support?

Tucows scoring: Contact details are accessible from the program (1 point): e-mail address (1 point), web enquiry form (1 point), telephone/fax support (1 point), active forum (1 point), online chat at least 4 hours per working day (1 point).

Program Enhancements

File size

How does the download and install size compare with similar products?

Web site

Does the web site contain adequate information about the program? Does it carry contact details and/or a contact form? Is the navigation clear? Is the design clear and appealing? Is it literate? No broken links?

Tucows scoring: Web site contains brief program information and contact details (1 point); plus online help/documentation (2 points); plus good design, navigation and quality content (3 points).

Keyboard shortcuts

Does the program provide keyboard shorcuts for all commonly-used functions? Does it implement 'accelerator' keys for menus and dialogs?

Configuration wizard

If appropriate, is the user guided through configuring the software? (Essential if the software requires user configuration before it is usable.)

Microsoft XP logo certification

Is the software Microsoft certified?

Overall Evaluation


Compared with the competition, is your program good value, given its features, usability and price. Don't forget to consider free alternatives which can seriously undermine the value of your software.


Would you recommend this program to a friend? Do your users recommend it to others?

Overall impression

How good is the software really?



Notional Tucows rating


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