User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm making an app that shows tweets and images about places as a feature to allow users do decide if it sounds like a fun place to go or not.

My problem is I don't know how to indicate this to users. I have been toying with a thumbs up down icon for users to tap on, but it seems to indicate more of a 'vote' than an 'observe'.

whats it like button

what would be a good way to indicate to users to tap on an icon to see info about a place to help them decide?

share|improve this question
The main goal of your app is for users to say if they would find it interesting or not? – Yisela Nov 21 '12 at 1:15
@yisela The main goal is to show what events are happening at venues, it's secondary goal is to help users decide if it will be fun or not – helptomout Nov 21 '12 at 2:51
Then you don't need a thumb down, you only need the thumb up or similar 'positive' icon. – Yisela Nov 21 '12 at 3:02
Are you asking for a suitable icon for this action, or are you asking how you can let users know that they can click on the venue in the first place? We can't really help with icon suggestions, but if the affordance is lacking in your current design then that is something we could probably help with. Can we see a screenshot / mockup of what you currently have as the screen, rather than just this icon out of context? – JonW Nov 21 '12 at 8:57
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I will try to state some assumptions about your app, and work from there.

  • There exists a set of physical locations (places)
  • There exists a set of events, scheduled to take place at one or more of the predefined locations.
  • There exists a list of tweets tied either to an event (via hashtag) or a place (via hashtag or geotag)
  • There exists a list of people who produced the tweets.

If I understand your question correctly, you want to use some form of emphasis to indicate the "fun factor" of a location. Let's assume that you can derive fun-factor into a single number, where a large positive number indicates lots of "happy people having fun at this location" and a large negative number indicating lots of "people were disappointed and left this location unhappy". From your example thumbs-up/down icon, I assume the thumbs-up would be displayed for a positive number, and a thumbs-down would be displayed for a negative number.

So, in my opinion, your solution would have to take into account a couple of things:

  • First, will you show the locations as some kind of list, or will they be related spatially (on a map)?
  • If there are many locations, will you automatically filter them (only show "top 10 fun locations" within a 30km radius of the current position)?
  • If they are related spatially, and displayed on a map, how will this influence your filtering? (what happens if I am at the Olympics, and there are 35 events (sports, comedy, dining) happening within a 1km radius at 20 different locations? Do you only show 10 locations with sports? Only for the top 10 sporting events?)
  • What is more important: "locations", or "events"? Do you wish to emphasise the location, or do you wish to emphasise the type of event? Or both?
  • Does it matter if the people tweeting about the events are linked (social network "friends") with the person using the app?
  • Do you take into account the preferences of the person using the app? (for example, a person who enjoys classical music may not be interested in a rock-concert, so they don't care if a lot of people are having fun at the concert venue).
  • How do people indicate that they are having fun? Do they use your app? Do they have to use Twitter for that?

So, let's imagine a scenario: a well-known comedian is in town. He is touring with some rock-musician friends of his, entertaining the concert-goers at an after-party. I like comedy, but not rock-music. Some of my friends went to the concert, and are currently attending the after-party. They (and a lot of other people) are having a good time. People (including my friends) tweet about the rock concert. Other people (including my friends) tweet about the comedian. Your app needs to filter out the noise about the rock concert, and emphasise the stand-up comedy "event" at the after-party location.

The more filters you put in place (the more specifics you have about the user's preferences), the "easier" it becomes to show things visually using icons on a map. You may even consider scaling the icon/glyph, or changing its color according to the fun factor. Example: larger size glyph for more fun, smaller for less fun. Bright red for lots of fun, dark blue for unhappy people leaving (make sure to pick colours that are "safe" for use by colour-blind people, so try to avoid red/green). You may even show small Twitter-portraits of the friends that are at the location below the map (depending on screen real-estate), along the with the photos that are being shared (by everyone at that location right now)

If you have to use a list:

  • Sort the list (fun places at the top - emphasise by position)
  • Indicate "fun factor" by size (bigger/smaller font)
  • Indicate "fun factor" by colour and luminance (blue/red, brighter/darker colour)
  • Try to use a graphic (icon) to indicate the type of event.
  • Optionally try to attach your friends (via Twitter portraits) to the event (again, depending on screen real-estate this may be difficult). The more friends, the bigger the chance that the user will "have fun"

As to the design of the actual icon, this may be culturally dependant (this also applies to colour choice). I will start with something abstract first, and then depending on constraints (map/list/screen real estate) try to develop a solution that works when scaled/coloured (or both).

If you want to break down the fun factor into many different levels (not just a single number, but "level of noise" with "number of people" with "cost of event" as examples), and you want to communicate these different aspects of fun to the user, then this becomes trickier again.

I hope I have provided a starting point at least. Good luck.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.