I have a big dilemma. I'm creating an application in which users can do almost the same thing that on Instagram (in 'Photo view' terms, they can just Comment a photo or add it to favourites using a heart button). The only difference is that my app is focused on food and i'm not going to use any photo filters. I know that there are such apps already available but i've just said a basic info about mine, it's bit more complex but it's not important right now.

So, in my app, because those photos are focused on food I need to take a step further and make users able to vote on those photos. It needs to be an up vote/down vote voting system (like on reddit) with a score, which is a sum of up and down votes. Unfortunately, 3/5/10 stars voting system is not an option for me.

And now, here is my problem. I'm really worried that users, instead of voting up or down, will be just adding photos to their favourites because they'll be a bit confused if they should use up vote or favourite button. Basically, from their perspective, Add to favourites button seems to be a lot more practical than voting. In cause of that, i'm not sure if i should drop a add to favourites functionality and treat vote-up as a favourite. I don't want to take away such a practical functionality from users but i really need them to vote on those photos.

Do you have any ideas or advice, or know of any studies of how best to handle this situation?

What is this voting system implemented for?

I can see a few questions about that so here is my explanation. As i've mentioned before, this is some kind of food-related website/app. Peaople are uploading photos of food and others can browse those photos. I need some solution to make them able to rate those photos (it's a food, when you're browsing it, you want to know if other people like it or not (important: it's a food from restaurants, not user's home kitchens) - i think so but i'm not an expert ;) )

About completely removing voting and leaving a like/star button - i think sometimes user just want to save such photo for later, no matter if he likes it or not so making just an upvote (as 'like it') can be quite bothersome

Down-vote is, in my opinion, good for moderation purposes. When there is such thing as down vote, i can implement a functionality which disables those photos with score i.e. -10 or hide them on frontend. But it can be overwritten with 'flag it' for sure

  • 1
    Please make this a more generic question that can help other people with similar problems.
    – JohnGB
    Mar 9, 2013 at 12:47
  • Or perhaps, look at Stackexchange, there is a vote up, a vote down, and a clear favorites button underneath. UX here is pretty simple, and you could consider using @Ashish's answer with it.
    – Josiah
    Mar 9, 2013 at 14:05
  • add to favorite to find it later when I answer the question up vote and unfavorite when my answer is posted Mar 9, 2013 at 17:48
  • 1
    What are the votes used for? I can understand why a favourites option is useful - so the user can return and see a list of posts they appreciated, but as for voting - why are you implementing this? You probably have a good reason (such as for creating a weekly 'top 5' or something), but if you can explain what the voting is actually used for that should help get some useful answers.
    – JonW
    Mar 11, 2013 at 9:12
  • i have editet my original post @JonW, please take a look
    – mbajur
    Mar 11, 2013 at 13:45

4 Answers 4


First of all, you could get rid of the upvote/downvote buttons altogether and use the favorite (or "like") button to get popularity data.

A lot of sites actually implement voting systems without any downvote button to prevent fostering negativity (Hacker News is such an example).

Second, you could go the other way and get rid of the favorite button, instead providing a way to review all upvoted items.

But if you decide to keep both, I would suggest making the difference very clear. For example, you could group upvote/downvote together on one side, and have "favorite" alone on the opposite side of the screen.

It all boils down to your goals, as well as the user's goals. If the buttons are only there to provide you ranking data but don't help improve the user's experience, then I would suggest getting rid of them and finding another way to build your popularity rankings.

  • i have editet my origial post, please take look. And thanks for helpfull answer :)
    – mbajur
    Mar 11, 2013 at 13:45
  • Hacker News allows downvoting once you get a certain amount of rep, like StackExchange.
    – Dan
    Mar 19, 2014 at 18:38

What about renaming "Favorite" to "Save"? Especially if users might want to come back to a page later for other reasons, such as wanting to visit the restaurant before voting. If the saved posts list confers no value judgement, there's less confusion.


Just out of curiosity, are you planning on require users to be logged in before they down-vote a picture? I ask because this is a common, albeit overly simplistic, method to try and prevent random people from "bombing" the rating of a person/place/thing.

I second the comments about favoriting, but let's kick it up a notch and make it something more akin to "Liking" or "+1" on Facebook & Google+. Instead of offering people a chance to be negative, simply offer them a chance to be positive or simply not vote at all.

That way, potential users or clients in the future won't feel like they're being unjustifiably attacked because one person had a bad experience or "ugly dish" when the main chef was out that night.

  • yes i absolutely agree, after few comments here, i'm really into allowing just to up-vote :) and i'm not planning to make it able to down-vote a photo by not logged in users.
    – mbajur
    Mar 11, 2013 at 20:19

One thing you can do is:

  • When the user presses 'Favourite' it should automatically Vote Up. But be careful not to do vice-versa.

Otherwise, remove voting and add an opposite of 'Favourite' ...if you know what it is called.

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