I need to make a voting field for my feedback form.

I make an assumption then when you use stars images user easily will use lower ratings, and when you use smiles(faces) with :) for good vote(5) and :( for bad vote(1) user will use lower rating less that with the stars.

Can you tell something about my suggestion, is there some best-practices, A/B tests or researches?

EDIT: I read this topic Rate vs Like/Dislike and I think there is no difference between what system to use - users will vote 1 or 5 in most cases anyway

  • Welcome to UX, llamerr! Are you saying that you'll show a happy or sad smiley face depending on whether something has a good or bad rating?
    – Rahul
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 10:51
  • I need to make 1-5 rating system, and push users to vote higher, so will they vote lower more often if they see stars(neutral objects) instead of smiles(do you want to use green unhappy smile instead of yellow happy?) e.g: user votes lower vote - yes I was unhappy with service but not so unhappy as green frowning face, so I will vote 2 or 3 instead of 1
    – llamerr
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 10:56
  • 8
    Why do you want to make people vote higher? Isn't the point of a voting system to find out what users think, not influence them to vote a certain way?
    – Rahul
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 11:33
  • yeah, I think you right
    – llamerr
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 12:52
  • @Rahul: (Old, I know) Nope, voting systems tend to be to compare different objects on which the same voting mechanism is applied. A voting system where users are pushed to higher answers could be used if you for example want to manipulate them to be positive about your products, whilst not losing your ability to compare items at the cost of some resolution (you practically limit your 5 tier system to a 2 or 3 tier system) Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 16:06

2 Answers 2


I think in order to get a fair response from the users, it's important not to sway the question or voting system in any way, in particular any that may evoke an emotional response from the way the question is presented.

Not only does this potentially sway results in a way that cannot be measured, but it also affects responses in an unequal way depending on the question, and indeed the current mood of the user. For example a user who is particularly unhappy is going to pick the crossest smiley as it most closely represents their mood, and a happy customer will pick the happiest looking option. And so maybe you're actually likely to even further promote the 'extreme response'. Similarly for those who prefer to pick a neutral response you're even further nudging them towards the central option because that has an ambivalent face on it.

When gathering statistics, it's totally pointless to try and sway results. It becomes a lie. You'll never know what the response would have been if you'd presented it fairly. It's no use to anyone. It's one thing to misuse/abuse statistics after gathering but to abuse the gathering in the first place...

Stick to stars - it carries no baggage and directly maps to the rating level itself.

  • I think you and Rahul both right, also thanks for pointing on the other side - "users in the bad mood"
    – llamerr
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 12:53
  • Please note that swaying all users in the same way still gives valid data. Swaying the users to give lower ratings in the middle range for example rather than only 4, 5 and 0 stars will thus greatly improve the data. This can for example be achieved by making the '2 star' and '3 star' option happy. (not a fan of smileys, but I think your answer is quite poor) Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 16:03
  • @DavidMulder I don't think that makes sense! Who's to say that all users will be swayed in the same way and by the same amount. The point is to remove the number of factors which can affect results, not deliberately add to them! Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 17:21
  • @RogerAttrill: The beauty of averages, not everyone will be swayed the exact same way, just like not everyone is giving the same answer in the first place. The point is that by for example using smileys you actually differentiate the data points more clearly and are able to shift the distribution curve to one giving the highest possible resolution allowing maximal differentiation between objects. Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 17:32

Regarding your question on stars vs smiles for product reviews, stars are much better as more people are familiar with them. Refrain from smiles as they may make you seem silly, unprofessional and make you lose sales.

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