I have a UI in which I collect user feedback using simple two simple thumbs up/thumbs down icons that appear below the thing being rated. (US users only so no concern about thumbs up being offensive in some countries.)


  • At launch, both thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons are unselected and are gray.
  • When a user selects thumbs-up, the icon turns green.
  • When a user selects thumbs-down, the icon turns red.
  • Feedback is not required (i.e., the user can advance to next screen without rating at all).

My question is: What is best practice for clearing mutually-exclusive selected content? Should I allow the user to clear selected content by:

  • Re-clicking on a selected icon, thus clearing the color?
  • Surfacing a dedicated "Clear" button?
  • Both?
  • Something else?

Also looking to provide accessibility here, which I am not an expert in. Thanks in advance.

  • You don't explicitly state so, but it seems to be implied: The up button should be cleared when the down button is clicked. Similarly, the down button should be cleared when the up button is clicked.
    – 習約塔
    May 14, 2019 at 3:42

2 Answers 2


Firstly, welcome to the community.

Coming to the point, most of the feed-backs collected (take YouTube for instance) these days are based on the re-click of selected icon, or pressing of alternative icon, such as you press the thumbs up after pressing thumbs down and thumbs up gets selected instead.

Secondly, you might like to make sure that the icon changes its colour as soon as the user presses the icon so that the user does not wind up pressing it again.

Thirdly, you might want to rethink about the colour scheme as it might not to feasible for those who are colour-blind to be able to see the change in colour. Blue might do better.

Hope this helps.


It's common to clear votes when the button is reclicked. That is how this site currently behaves. However, I don't know how usable it is. For those who know about it, it works fine. For those who don't, probably not so well.

You can consider designing an experiment to compare reclick to clear and separate clear button. Randomize participants to the A/B interfaces. Make sure you have enough participants for sufficient statistical power, otherwise your efforts will have been wasted.

I doubt reclick to clear would do better than having an explicit clear button. But it may do just as well (no statistical difference). It may also be a usability point that you just don't care that much about. For instance, on this site, votes are locked in after a certain amount of time has passed. So having vote-clearing buttons, most of the time, would be useless and potentially cause confusion or frustration.

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