I am try to learn good UI design and have been looking through examples like YouTube to see how and why they do things.

The design behind the voting buttons is confusing me. When the up vote button is selected, it is very clear, but it is hard to see the difference before and after the down vote button has been selected.

This is an example of what I see:

Youtube rating buttons

The only reason I can see this making sense is if Google wanted people to vote up more. What other reasons could there be to making one option clearly selected and the other not?

  • "The only reason I can see this making sense is if Google wanted people to vote up more". Yes, but by making the Like button 3 times bigger (thanks to the label).
    – jgthms
    Mar 23, 2014 at 22:38
  • According to ux.stackexchange.com/questions/8646/… down voting is needed. Isn't this making voting less useful? Mar 23, 2014 at 22:40
  • Are you asking if the ability to downvote makes the whole concept of voting less useful?
    – jgthms
    Mar 23, 2014 at 22:42
  • No, I think the question I linked to in the previous comment answers that. I am asking more why it would be intentionally designed this way, with the blue up vote being clear and the dark grey down vote not as clear? Mar 23, 2014 at 22:45

2 Answers 2


Considering social patterns, people are much more inclined to up-vote or like things that down-voting or disliking. Which is the opposite of the normal behaviour that we expose on a day to day basis where people complain more than acknowledge good things.

In social media, or sites that use social behaviours, the fact that people tend to feel bad about criticising is used to their advantage, plus the main interest of those sites/groups is to get exposure; it's much more probable to get exposure because you liked something and showed it to some body, not to mention the obvious that they want good publicity, not bad.

Also, remember that we, as humans, are biased by what other people do, if we can see that other people are voting things up, there a re more chances that we will do the same. That also applies to down-voting. So if you combine the intention of exposure and the copying/biasing behaviour, you have an interface that has to be designed with nice evident colours for voting up and not so bright colours for voting down.

All of this, of course, applies as a general rule, specialized sites with specific rules, prices or recognition systems work a bit different.


In my opinion, this is bad user experience. Everytime the product explicitly confuses you or make you not do something that is a legitimate action, it is a bad designed UX. I got frustrated when I first saw this behavior in Youtube. It made me want to further flag the video because I wanted to express how awful the video was and I couldn't find out if my down vote worked.

Stackexchange uses this very well. You can clearly see if you voted up or down and that feels like a good experience in the site.

  • I agree with @PatomaS , what you said is true...that's how humans are. But I don't think it justifies. It is still a bad experience Mar 24, 2014 at 4:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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