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View Poll Results: Which do you prefer

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  • Stars

    3 50.00%
  • Thumbs up, thumbs down

    2 33.33%
  • Range of sad to happy faces

    0 0%
  • Letter grade (A-F)

    0 0%
  • Scale of 1 to 10

    1 16.67%
Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
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    Rating System: Stars, thumbs up/down, happy/sad face, letter grade (A-F), scale 1-10?

    I need to implement a rating system but I'm torn between which to choose.

    This is one of those things that you have to choose right at the beginning, because switching later on could be next to impossible considering how the ratings are stored. It's like having an email/password login system and later deciding that you should have chosen a username/password method instead.

    From your perspective as a web site owner and visitor, which would you implement?

    1) 5-star system

    The 5-star system seems too arbritrary.

    I suppose I could tag each star with a description, such as...
    1 - poor
    2 - fair
    3 - good
    4 - very good
    5 - excellent
    ...but it still seems arbritrary considering how 2-4 can be so blurred from person to person.

    2) Thumbs up, thumbs down

    I like this approach, as it seems to be the simplest and most intuitive, but it's strict. It's either a love it or hate it vote. I could fit in a "neutral" thumb, but that seems pointless. It's the equivalent of a no vote. I'm also concerned with how the ratings could skew to the positive side for most cases, which would diminish the relevance of the rating system as a whole.

    3) Range of sad to happy faces

    Ebay does this, but it's really just the 5-star system in disguise. The disadvantage is that your visitors have to be fairly familiar with your ratings legend in order to even know what it means.

    4) Letter grade (A-F)

    Once again, it's arbritrary, because it can mean something very different from person to person. This just feels like a blurry 6-star system.

    5) Scale of 1-10

    I'm just throwing this in for completeness, but it seems to be too broad an option to consider.

    Some final questions:
    1) How would you rank the above options from best to worst? Please include your own variations to broaden the options.

    2) Do you find that your ratings tend to skew positive, negative, or in between?

    3) Have you ever switched rating systems?

  2. #2
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    My favorites are Stars are 1-10. They both can be calculated to decimal places, and are used frequently by many sites.

  3. #3
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Stars, but with the rating being between 1-4 stars. That way you force people to make a decision by taking away the "3 Star" comfort zone.

    Jeffrey Zeldman wrote an interesting piece on the subject on his blog at www.zeldman.com a while back.

  4. #4
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    Dan thanks for mentioning that article
    ...here if anyone needs it:
    http://www.zeldman.com/2007/06/20/re...ation-systems/

    The end of the article make an interesting point:
    What is the solution? Use web services that offer a binary choice: “I’m coming” or “I’m not coming.” If you can’t find such a service, build one. If you run a web service that includes “maybe,” offer an optional two-choice (”no-maybe”) version.
    A number of folks countered the thinking of 4 stars.
    For example: http://www.zeldman.com/2007/06/20/re...#comment-15796
    In my experience with questionnaires, primarily in usability testing, when presented with a four star system, three of four becomes the new three of five. When people are genuinely apathetic about something, they’ll pick 3/4 basically to be polite
    If 5 stars results in waffling, and 4 stars is somewhat better, wouldn't a straight yes/no, good/bad method be even better?

  5. #5
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    If that's what you want (an absolute answer) then yes, it would. If you want to gauge a range of responses, then a more flexible rating system would be more appropriate.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    I like the thumbs up / thumbs down idea. If people are neutral, they won't vote. I find that stars (especially 10 stars) can just present too many options, and requires the user to 'over judge' it almost in an attempt to pick a precise value. A simple 'I like it' or 'I don't like it' option seems the best to me. Whether one adds to a score and one takes away, or you store how many there are of each and calculate your own score based on those is up to you, but from an interface point of view, I like that the best.

  7. #7
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    10 star rating system doesnt work good at all..

  8. #8
    The Mind's I ® silver trophy Dark Tranquility's Avatar
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    it depends... I picked up stars but what star system is the best? it really depends on what kind of stuff you're rating? and decimals are not usually a good idea! because is it really wise to say that something rated 5.5 is better than something rated 5.4?... not really useful IMO... especially if you are comparing some items you're gonna buy! this can be more confusing than helpful!
    I would suggest a 6 stars system! it is something that is not usually used and it will catch the user's attention and it will push him to thinks more about his decision!

    0 stars >> Very bad.
    1 star >> bad
    2 stars >> quite bad
    3 stars >> neutral/ nothing special
    4 stars >> average
    5 stars >> good
    6 stars >> excellent

    and the "3 stars issue" is less important with such a system...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Tranquility View Post
    it depends... I picked up stars but what star system is the best?
    If you had to choose between 4 and 5 stars, which would you implement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Tranquility View Post
    it really depends on what kind of stuff you're rating? and decimals are not usually a good idea! because is it really wise to say that something rated 5.5 is better than something rated 5.4?... not really useful IMO... especially if you are comparing some items you're gonna buy! this can be more confusing than helpful!
    I'm not sure if you're referring to the decimal average of your proposed 6 star system, below, or a scale of 1-10.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Tranquility View Post
    I would suggest a 6 stars system! it is something that is not usually used and it will catch the user's attention and it will push him to thinks more about his decision!

    0 stars >> Very bad.
    1 star >> bad
    2 stars >> quite bad
    3 stars >> neutral/ nothing special
    4 stars >> average
    5 stars >> good
    6 stars >> excellent

    and the "3 stars issue" is less important with such a system...
    Would your system actually allow a 0 stars vote? If so, that's more like a 7 star system, which can be compacted back down to 5 stars.

    On another note...

    Let's take Stars vs. Thumbs Up/Down.

    As I think about it further it doesn't seem as though they can both be used for the same purpose.

    For example, I'm sure you've seen variants of thumbs up/down for rating user comments (ie, Amazon reviews, Yahoo Answers, **** Comments), but I've rarely seen a star, or numeric, rating for comments.

    Also, stars have a presentation advantage. You can display an average rating using stars that's intuitive. I see no such visual capabilities for thumb up/down.

    I'm too leaning towards a star system, but I'm not sure about Dan Schulz suggestion of a 4 star system. I not wholly convinced that folks will see 2 out of 4 stars as less than average. A good percentage may think of 2 out of 4 as they think of 3 out of 5.

    Can anyone reference a website that employs a 4-star rating system?

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    Why can't you display the thumbs up / down results as stars as well? Or at least a meter/guage of some sort.

  11. #11
    The Mind's I ® silver trophy Dark Tranquility's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by champ View Post
    If you had to choose between 4 and 5 stars, which would you implement?



    I'm not sure if you're referring to the decimal average of your proposed 6 star system, below, or a scale of 1-10.



    Would your system actually allow a 0 stars vote? If so, that's more like a 7 star system, which can be compacted back down to 5 stars.

    On another note...

    Let's take Stars vs. Thumbs Up/Down.

    As I think about it further it doesn't seem as though they can both be used for the same purpose.

    For example, I'm sure you've seen variants of thumbs up/down for rating user comments (ie, Amazon reviews, Yahoo Answers, **** Comments), but I've rarely seen a star, or numeric, rating for comments.

    Also, stars have a presentation advantage. You can display an average rating using stars that's intuitive. I see no such visual capabilities for thumb up/down.

    I'm too leaning towards a star system, but I'm not sure about Dan Schulz suggestion of a 4 star system. I not wholly convinced that folks will see 2 out of 4 stars as less than average. A good percentage may think of 2 out of 4 as they think of 3 out of 5.

    Can anyone reference a website that employs a 4-star rating system?
    - I would rather pick up 4 stars!
    - For the decimal I meant the case where the ratings are calculated and displayed as X.X especially with the 1-10 system!
    - That's the point you shouldn't compact it back to 5 stars! it is a 6 stars systems as for 0 stars no stars will show up! but yes it is a 7-levels system!
    and I found this really helpful to avoid the 3/5 or 3/4 "polite" vote!

  12. #12
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Thumbs up/down, definitely. Less mental effort than a star rating system (yes even the 4-star), and probably a more accurate indicator overall. Lots of people will choose a middle of the road option (i.e. 3 stars) if available, regardless of their true feelings on what they're rating, so don't give them the option. It's also pretty easy to judge something rated 50+/30-.


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