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I'm making a details page of a rating system, where one rates from 1 to 5 in multiple metrics and the global rating is the average. However, not all metrics are mandatory, be N/A or not wanting to force user to review all.

I'm trying to represent the "First time" scenario where ratings aren't available yet. For global rating, 0 "reviews" seems fine, but I don't know what to do for each metric.

The picture below is the display of the rating averages of users' input, by each metric, which is displayed in the bottom of the page. But after making it, I think this can be interpreted as "no value available" or the ratings being 0 (which is not allowed).

Current rating

I though the following ways to represent 0 rating:

  • N/A - But doesn't a list of N/A seems negative?
  • Don't display it?
  • Small label above reaffirming that no rating is available yet?
  • A transparent div hovering it to reaffirm that no rating is available yet?

Are any of the previous easy to interpret? What is your suggestion?

Edit Each rating has a tooltip informing in how many reviews it has been classified. Like "4/10 reviews".

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    I think most people recognize grayed out stars as unreviewed. Can you leave the attribute grayed out as well? Alternately, people like to know how many reviews there are, so a line of (0 reviews) would be very clear. – John Deters Mar 17 '14 at 0:01
  • I could leave the attribute grayed, but in this case wouldn't it be interpreted as the default color as all would be grayed? Regarding the number of reviews, each metric would have a tooltip displaying it. Should be changed? – jaimetotal Mar 17 '14 at 0:16
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If you provide reference dates for the product, the effect of not having a review is minimized. For instance, if the product came to your page yesterday, or last week, nobody expects it to have a review; if it has one, is OK, but if it doesn't, is normal.

Of course the time frame before having the first review depends on the kind of product, how often do you sell them and the public that visit your site, some are more prone to write reviews, and some just won't.

After considering time of product.

Not showing the category or the icon because it doesn't have a review is bad, all the information should be present, even if the value is zero.

If you can add a little text that states that there are no reviews yet, it's good indication for the user that checks the product, and if you complement that with a call to action for a new review, it's even better. Just give a button or link close to the text that states that there are no reviews, even if that means repeating the button because you already have one below the categories.

Another thing, not related to your question but important non the less, do the users know what those icons mean? If they are not explained anywhere, consider adding a legend, or at least information on a tooltip over the icon.

  • Regarding the meaning of the icons, not yet. I'm thinking either put in in the tooltip or expanding the area of a metric when it's clicked, with given explanation. The line though is that the metrics will always be same and when a user is regular, there wouldn't be any need to be explicit. But that part it's still work in progress. – jaimetotal Mar 17 '14 at 10:21
  • For the answer, time wouldn't be an option since rarely something will be introduced to review, the available objects are always the same. And only after trying it someone can review it, so that leaves the disclaimer for no reviews, which seems OK. – jaimetotal Mar 17 '14 at 10:24
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Why not just use binary representation like YouTube does? They used 5 stars a few years back but research showed that the results were quite polarized - a lot of 5's and a small number of 1's. 2-4 had an insignificant amount of ratings.

That said, if there isn't any rating yet available then the text should invite people to rate - it certainly should not say "0 ratings" as it may discourage people to buy a product. Have a look at how removing a 0 like's button ended up increasing conversion rate.

I simple "give feedback" would be better than showing 0 ratings. Why should I buy something if you tell me that you know nothing about it yourself?

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