# How to show Count vs Percentage?

My website allows members to rate Comments on various things (e.g. Agree).

Being a math type, I think it makes sense to allow people to sort by “Number of People who Agree” as well as “Percentage of People who Agree”.

Why?

Look at these scenarios…

Comment #1 has 1,000 reviews and 875 people agree. (88% Agree)

Comment #2 has 2 reviews and 2 people agree. (100% Agree)

Comment #3 has 500 reviews and 300 people agree. (60% Agree)

Comment #4 has 10,000 reviews and 4,000 people agree. (40% Agree)

Mathematically speaking Comment #1 and Comment #3 are more impressive than Comment #2.

Then again, you could argue that Comment #4 is the most impressive, because 4,000 people “agree” on whatever was said!!!

Because “numbers can lie”, I think allowing people to sort by Agree (Count) and Agree (Percentage) would be useful.

But how do I say that in my tiny Drop-down Menu?? :-/

What I am talking about is sadly over-the-head of most Americans - read visitors to my website - and yet I still think it makes sense to offer more logical sorting.

So how can I make my drop-down simple and yet obvious enough that Mrs. Jones will get it?

Sincerely,

Debbie

You could use a Bayesian average, where you have a certain minimum number of votes before things are taken more seriously.

(Cm + Rv) / (m + v)

where:

[list][]C = mean number of votes
[
]m = minimum votes to be taken seriously
[]R = mean rating (the percentage)
[
]v = total number of votes[/list]

For example, if you have your minimum set at 20, the bayesian value for for comment 3 is:
(Cm + Rv) / (m + v)
(30020 + 0.6500) / (20+500) = 12.11

Divide that 12.11 by the minimum set of 20, and you end up 61%, which is a reasonable percentage.

``````
Comment 1. 90%
Comment 3. 61%
Comment 4. 42%
Comment 2. 10%

``````

If the minimum set is raised to 400 votes, then the comment order and bayesian percentage changes as follows:

``````
Comment 1. 63%
Comment 4. 39%
Comment 3. 33%
Comment 2. 0%

``````

How some sites explain this is to say that you sort by “Magic”, and provide a link where people can gain further info about how to do it. You can also have the numbers and percentages shown too, for when people want to delve deeper in to things.

``````
Comment Reviews Agree   Percentage  Bayesian   Magic
1        1000    875        88%      18.01      90%
3         500    300        60%      12.11      61%
4       10000   4000        40%       8.38      42%
2           2      2       100%       1.90      10%

``````

You can explore these using a simple spreadsheet, for example this Bayesian percentage spreadsheet that was used to explore your figures.

Paul,

Thanks for the reply - very interesting - but I think you missed the question…

All I was asking is how I can communicate that I am offering the ability to “Sort by those who Agree, where you are sorting on the Count of Agree” and then also “Sort by those who Agree, where you are sorting by the Percentage of those who Agree”.

Here are some different ideas for my drop-down menu…

Sort by

``````
Number who Agree
Percent who Agree

``````
``````
# who Agree
% who Agree

``````
``````
Agree (Count)
Agree (Pct)

``````
``````
Agree (by Number)
Agree (by Percent)

``````
``````
Agree (by Count)
Agree (by %)

``````
``````
Agree (Total)
Agree (Percent)

``````
``````
Other????

``````

I don’t have a lot of horizontal space, so I need something that is succinct, and easy to read when looking from a larger list of Sort Options.

Does that make sense?

Sincerely,

Debbie

Ahh yes, I was heading in a different direction from the “numbers can lie” part.

This seems to do the trick:

``````
Agree
%

``````

Sorry, that’s not gonna do…

%

Percent of what?

No user would know what that means… (Especially since the drop-down will have numerous other choices.)

Next!!

Debbie

It seems that you have far more details about this than I can help with. I’ll leave this one up to you. All the best.

Maybe to you…!

Then why bother and make more work for yourself?
Ebay dontt, Amazon don’t, TripAdvisor don’t.

Providing Mrs Jones isn’t American, I would opt for

## who Agree

% who Agree

So what would you propose?

For the reasons I mentioned…

Why offer a feature if it provides misleading results? (I’m not a politician, you know!)

Here is what I came up with last night after posting…

``````
Agree
Agree (as %)

``````

I like mine better because to goes general-to-specific.

What people care about most is knowing which field is being sorted, and then as a second factor, the specifics of the sort.

I think the example below is easier to scan and understand, of course, I am way smarter than Mrs. Jones!!

Sort by:

``````
Date (Oldest)
Agree
Agree (as %)
:
:

``````

Sincerely,

Debbie

Apples and oranges.

%= a RATIO
#= an absolute

They are two different pieces of info ( in essence I see why you’d wish to provide both)

Maybe, the best compromise solution is to give the total count as well.

for example

24/200 [or 12% of] voters agree.

hope that helps

The OP is asking about how to word the options in a drop-down menu to be used for SORTING…

I already show the “Total Reviews” and “% Agree” in the header for each Comment, but that isn’t what I’m asking about here.

Most users don’t have the math skills to understand that “Sort by Agree” would give wildly different results depending on the things mentioned in my OP.

So I just wanted some tips on how to communicate the two different SORT options in a drop-down menu.

IMO, this should be abundantly clear to even non-math users…

``````
Date (Oldest)
Agree
Agree (as %)

``````

Or possibly this one…

``````
Date (Oldest)
Agree (Count)
Agree (%)

``````

If someone has a better idea, feel free to speak up.

Sincerely,

Debbie

How about a better user interface instead - where someone can just click on the column heading to sort by that particular column?

1.) Because this is a listing of Comments below an article and not a table of data.

2.) Because I don’t have a column tallying up “Agree” and then a separate column with “Pct Agree”. (Nor would I want that.)

My UI is very well designed, thank you.

And the fact that I am allowing people two ways to sort data related to “Agree” is a bonus for those cerebral enough to tap into it.

Sincerely,

Debbie

You don’t need columns of data for that. You can just have a link that toggles between “sort by agree” and “sort by %”. When someone clicks on the link they get the new sort, and the link changes to the other type of sort that’s available.

Oh, okay, I see what you mean.

However, that idea still really wouldn’t work for this situation.

What I have looks similar to how this thread looks…

Imagine that at the top of this thread is one drop-down to “Filter by:” and a second to “Sort by:”

So I am providing a “Comment Header” where people can filter and sort if they want something different than the defaults.

If I had tabular data, your suggestion has some merits to it. (Then again, if I had tabular data, I would probably have two columns for Agree data.)

Providing a toggling link wouldn’t make sense because I have other choices for sorting as well. And so I would need all of these links somewhere and that would look strange.

Sincerely,

Debbie

In that case, I’d have thought that offering the two options would simply confuse…