Star rating with commenting

19 Dec 2012 - 3:11pm
3 years ago
2 replies
2306 reads

I am working on developing a 3-5 star configurable rating system to rate the main content within web-based software. The main content can also be commented on, and users can use thumbs up/ thumbs down voting to rate the comments. I was thinking that liking would be better for comments, but am wondering if anyone can point me in the direction of some good usability studies. Non-UX people are requesting that comments should be rated by stars as well, or use five thumbs up instead of stars in the name of consistancy; both feel wrong to me and I need data to prove my point.

I came across this video yesterday (…) which is making me open to completely rethinking how this is done, however I do not have any user data to analyze to assist in making the best decision.

Another request is to make the star shape configurable, so if they want a happy face, boot, lady bug, block of cheese, etc. you can set your own system. Something about that doesn't feel as usable, because stars are so clear in their meaning.

I would love to hear thoughts on this topic. And please share any good books, studies and discussions on this topic.

Many thanks!



19 Dec 2012 - 4:16pm

If you're looking for both good advice and a credible "referee" you might look at "Building Web Reputation Systems" by Bryce Glass and Randy Farmer:

Very well researched and reasoned.

19 Dec 2012 - 5:48pm
Patrick Barrett

To build on Dennis' post there is a blog post on the Building Reputation Systems Blog that goes into when different rating inputs are appropriate:

This should give you some points to back up your preference for thumbs over stars for comments.

As far as customizing rating icons, you are better off using stars. They are easy to parse, instantly conveying to a user that they are looking at a rating. My source on this is that I've conducted or taken part in user testing of reviews systems since 2006. People like and understand stars. You can use another icon, but it needs to be one that pretty unambiguosly states "look at me, I'm conveying rating information." Stars already do that job very nicely.



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