I am developing a web app where a prominent feature is the ability to adjust the signal/noise ratio of the app's content on the fly. The value needs to be represented along a spectrum which includes minimum, maximum, and default values. The user will have already defined what type of content is considered signal or noise by giving it a 'score'.
After using the app myself for some months, a range slider seems to be most intuitive way to display and adjust this value. As a bonus the same control works equally well with both mouse and touch input.
The idea is that sliding to the left would gradually increase the noise and lessen the signal, changing the visible content; and sliding to the right would gradually increase the signal and lessen the noise.
What are the best min, max, and default values to use?
Technically, the scale for S/N goes from 0 up to infinity, and 1 is the default (source: Wikipedia). But it's not very intuitive for the average person to see or use a scale like this:
I'd rather have it be intuitive than technically correct.
Here are some examples I've been toying with:
From -5 to +5, with 0 as the default
- Pro: By using positive and negative values, the user is clearly rating content as good or bad.
- Con: It feels odd to be looking at content with a 'score' or 'rating' of zero.
From 0 to 10, with 5 as the default
- Pro: In many ways it feels more comfortable, as a user, to work with strictly positive integers.
- Con: Is the 1-10 scale universally understood to the point that when people see '5' they immediately think 'average'?
Non-numeric values, or no values at all
- Pro: This makes it a bit cleaner, and frees the user from having to understand the numbers.
- Con: Numbers are good for comparison: "I rated that content a 6, so I should rate this content an 8 because I like it more." With no discrete values, things could feel loose and disorganized.