Alternatives for the Five-Star Rating System

Original date of this post: Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

When researching rating alternatives for a recent project, I discovered a few effective methods. One surprising discovery was in an MIT Study stating that the 5-start rating system has flaws. Travelers and diners are accustomed to using 5-star ratings to quickly determine if they should stay at a particular hotel, or eat at a particular restaurant. But consider this: how accurate is the rating if you ate there just once and loved it? I have been to restaurants where my first visits were phenomenal, but on later visits certain dishes were not to my liking. The star rating should then be qualified.

In 2010, YouTube changed their rating system to be more of an indicator of what the community thinks. Favoriting and sharing tells the community THIS is something you love, versus a Seal of Approval. YouTube simplifies the rating to show primarily how many Views, followed by, Time Watched, Subscriptions Driven, and Shares. Honing in on the  number of Views impacts the visitor’s decision-making about whether or not to watch. The visitor can select the bar graph to see more detailed statistics.  The YouTube model can be used for most any rating system by creating meaningful categories in which to track.

5star

Reputation Ratings (positive, neutral, negative) used by eBay for the seller are great, however the sellers have to encourage their buyers to post (most want to post negative only).

The World University Rankings for higher education use a composite score for performance in different categories that include Teaching, Innovation, Research, and so forth. Users can filter the scores for particular categories.

My motivation for this research was to determine alternative methods for ratings. My client had a limited budget for design changes, so I opted to create a quick prototype of an alternative design and conducted a user study to determine preference.

When researching rating alternatives for a recent project, I discovered a few effective methods. One surprising discovery was in an MIT Study stating that the 5-start rating system has flaws. Travelers and diners are accustomed to using 5-star ratings to quickly determine if they should stay at a particular hotel, or eat at a particular restaurant. But consider this: how accurate is the rating if you ate there just once and loved it? I have been to restaurants where my first visits were phenomenal, but on later visits certain dishes were not to my liking. The star rating should then be qualified.

In 2010, YouTube changed their rating system to be more of an indicator of what the community thinks. Favoriting and sharing tells the community THIS is something you love, versus a Seal of Approval. YouTube simplifies the rating to show primarily how many Views, followed by, Time Watched, Subscriptions Driven, and Shares. Honing in on the  number of Views impacts the visitor’s decision-making about whether or not to watch. The visitor can select the bar graph to see more detailed statistics.  The YouTube model can be used for most any rating system by creating meaningful categories in which to track.

Reputation Ratings (positive, neutral, negative) used by eBay for the seller are great, however the sellers have to encourage their buyers to post (most want to post negative only).

The World University Rankings for higher education use a composite score for performance in different categories that include Teaching, Innovation, Research, and so forth. Users can filter the scores for particular categories.

My motivation for this research was to determine alternative methods for ratings. My client had a limited budget for design changes, so I opted to create a quick prototype of an alternative design and conducted a user study to determine preference.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s