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Reviews - Design Pattern

What is the optimal design pattern for displaying ratings and review

     
8:53 pm on Feb 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am working on a new site and big part of the content is going to be user generated reviews and ratings.

Up to this point my intention was not to display the individual user ratings but instead to aggregate the ratings and display only the aggregated result. Then in a different section on the page I was planning on displaying the individual user reviews for the specific event.

Another important feature of my design is that the rating isn't a simple five star rating eg.: it sucks or it rocks. Instead I am asking users to rate the event based on 7 different metrics. These metrics are neither good nor bad, it all depends on the users outlook. For example something that is loud or quite, some people may prefer louder events whereas other may prefer quieter ones. All seven metrics are distinct and cannot be summed together.

User can rate an event without reviewing but the users cannot review the event without rating it. So every review will have one rating associated with it.

Now I am questioning whether or not it would be worth while to display the rating with the review. The rating may provide some more insight into the user sentiment. Or, will adding more rating information become too confusing. It is also worth noting that in addition to the user rating I plan on providing and algorithmic rating based on data from the event.

What would be the optimal design? Typically user reviews have a review and a five star rating, is my breaking with that widely accepted design pattern going to cause problems, one in terms of user adoption or experience and two in terms of SEO benefit?
2:23 pm on Feb 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I was really hoping for so feedback on this. Thanks!
4:18 pm on Feb 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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An interesting concept on the ratings.
Firstly, user generated reviews have been trashed by so many spammers and paid reviews. In addition, the other problem is that many people don't know how to review something and just rant about how bad things were. Objectivity goes out the window.

I prefer to see a review, and to read it, and to understand the reviewers' angle. In addition, I often look at other reviews by the reviewer to see whether they are simply complainers with no objectivity. I can then discount their review.

The SEO benefit will primarily come from what's written, assuming it can be crawled and then indexed.
10:20 pm on Feb 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It depends on the product or service but as a user I often find it helpful if ratings are specific, e.g. for a web service you might have separate ratings for price, support, performance, etc. that also combine into one aggregate rating. However, 7 seems a bit much, from both a reader and reviewer perspective. You don't want to raise the bar too much, though again it might make sense for some products or services, so think about the level of granularity your users would likely appreciate.

A rating is often also a visual clue, it's basically a summary of the review. If I'm looking at a product and I want to know if there are any downsides to it, I'll often look for some lower ratings and then read those reviews.

Maybe create a few different approaches, visually, and then get some people to provide feedback on them to find out what makes most sense.
1:26 am on Feb 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@engine
reviews have been trashed by so many spammers

I am very aware of this point, I hope that I will be able to control this to some extent by careful moderation. My original intention was not to allow user reviews or ratings and only provide an algorithmic rating. But I was afraid that this would be too dry and be perceived as untrustworthy. So I decided to add the user reviews and ratings and I am hoping that the users will corroborate the algorithmic data. At the same time users that see the poor reviews will also see the algorithmic ratings so that should provide good value to offset the poor review.

I prefer to see a review, and to read it, and to understand the reviewers' angle.

I assume you meant "I prefer to see a rating". Seeing a rating paired with the review I think provides some of that perspective. I had thought of but I not sure if I will make public user page, like here on WW when you click on the user name you can see the most recent posts from that user. But your comments are making me think that this is a desired feature.

@robzilla
However, 7 seems a bit much,

I think that my 7 factors should be good for my niche. I know my niche very well, as I have been participating in it for decades in some form or another. But I hear what you are saying, so I may take your advice about getting feedback on that.

A rating is often also a visual clue, it's basically a summary of the review.

That is what I was thinking.

So I need to show the rating, with the review. Here is were the 7 factors bite me in the behind. I am going to have to find a way to succinctly show these ratings...

Thank you very much for the feedback
2:12 am on Feb 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Many of the places I shop at online feature an aggregate review that can be clicked to see more. Sometimes the click is to a location lower down the page, sometimes it's to content hidden within a tab. Personally I like it because it gives me the power to make a quick thumbnail judgment, especially when I can see how many reviews the aggregate is comprised of.

Perhaps that assistance it gives in speeding up my decision making process without necessarily compromising the accuracy of that decision is what I appreciate the most.

Reviews are important to me. I even find them helpful on recipe sites where users will contribute feedback on their experience, sometimes correcting the original recipe and suggesting improvements.

Summarizing, an aggregated value followed by actual reviews seems to be a popular and useful approach.

To take this further, anything that helps users make comparisons is helpful to them and I believe to SEO. I'm big into responsive tables right now.
2:55 am on Feb 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@martinibuster
My current layout shows the aggregate ratings in a table format (not actually an html table). Below the table I show a featured review, in the beginning it will be the most recent review, and if there are no reviews a call to action to leave a review. Next to the review a link to read more reviews that pushes the user further down the page to the reviews section.

This again, is why I should add the user ratings to the reviews, as most reviews will further down the page from the aggregate ratings, as in a different fold.

I'm big into responsive tables right now.

Do you mean html table in a responsive page layout. I'm using bootstrap (V4), but I am not using html tables. I'm doing it with rows and columns to look like a table. So when the table collapses on mobile the columns stack into sub rows and each actual row nests the stacked rows. This provide a nice vertical layout without the typical table squeeze.
3:17 am on Feb 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Do you mean html table in a responsive page layout.


I mean a table that looks fine regardless of device used to access the content.
5:18 am on Mar 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm a bit late here, but it sounds like you should probably have a sucks/rocks rating in addition to the specifics. Ie. How good is the event for what it is? And that would be the one that's shown at a quick glance, with thumbnails etc. And then you can have the other metrics when people want more detail. Also, you can then do really cool subcategories like "Highest rated QUIET events", or just "Quietest events". Basically, you can organize content in really neat ways, based on what people are interested in most. But I suspect a general quality rating would still be useful to visitors, and the specifics would be too.