Which Rating System Is Best for Your Users?

Sofia Quintero
Apr 4 · 6 min read

How Rating Systems Drive User Engagement

When designing a rating system, it’s all too easy for user-experience designers to overlook the many purposes of rating systems. Before you can decide on the right rating system for your users, it’s important to understand exactly what rating systems can help you do:

  • Aggregation of decision-making: Aggregate rating systems are useful in helping users make decisions. This works particularly effectively for products that have either high or low degrees of personalization; a brand-new Amazon user, for example, will still benefit from aggregated ratings, even if they don’t receive personalized offers as a result. This type of rating system becomes even more useful for products with longer decision times.
  • Identifying value: Rating systems can empower users to highlight the value or benefit of certain content and improve the quality of content over time in a continual feedback loop. This quality can apply to products with and without sophisticated personalization features.

Star Rating Systems Can Help Users Make Complex Decisions

While most companies want to reduce the time it takes for a prospective customer to evaluate a product and make a purchasing decision, some types of goods and services have inherently longer evaluation times. In these situations, a star rating system might be more effective.

Qualitative Reviews with Stars Increase Engagement but Delay Action

If time per session is a valuable metric for your product, increasing complexity with qualitative review information and a star rating system can be an effective combination.

Personalizing Content with Thumbs-Up Ratings

Netflix’s transition to its simplified thumbs-up/down system was deeply unpopular with many users, but it made a lot of sense for the platform. From the outset, Netflix had used its star rating system differently than many comparable systems used by other sites, and, by its own admission, Netflix did a poor job of explaining how the system really worked.

Rating Systems Don’t Have to Be Binary

So far, we’ve focused primarily on the pros and cons of binary rating systems and star rating systems, but these are far from the only options available to UX practitioners seeking to incorporate user feedback into their product experiences.


Hungry for Insight

A community for product people leading change

Sofia Quintero

Written by

Founder and CEO at https://getenjoyhq.com/

Hungry for Insight

A community for product people leading change