Following the answers I got at this other question, where you guys showed me that 5 stars ratings are somewhat complicated for the users to chose an option from, I decided to implement a 3-options system with Like/Dislike/Regular.

Now... it's pretty obvious that the like/dislike buttons should be thumbs up and down... but it's not clear how would I fit the Regular here... what would make a good icon that users understand right away? I'm trying to make the site as natural to use as possible so users don't have to think what the button does and just understand right away.

  • 1
    As @Roland said, why do you need the regular button? Why would your users press the button? What will you do with the data? How is it visualizable in an interesting way? Views (like on the right of this question) is probably more interesting.
    – Lode
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 11:19

5 Answers 5


Have you considered using emoticons?

Most people understand the difference between a face that is smiling, frowning, or indifferent. It's fairly easy to create graphics to show this just by changing the mouth shape.

Ex: :-) :-| :-(

I'd also consider color coding them green, yellow, red.

You may have problems globally but for most countries I feel this pattern should hold.

  • I think that should do in my country. I like that option :)
    – PedroC88
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 18:24
  • @PedroC88 This one could work for you, if you really want 3 options. @Jared it's a great idea! +1 up vote :) Commented Apr 12, 2011 at 6:51

I think there's really no need of a regular button. Those users, who think a given content is regular won't give any like/dislike... they won't interact with you.

Like/Dislike is definitely enough. Read this article about why youtube switched to like/dislike: youtube comes to a 5 star realization its ratings are useless and I'm sure you will realize there is no need for regular option

  • If the graph doesn't show on the TechCrunch page, try the YouTube blog entry on the topic: youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/… Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 8:13
  • I read that link on the previous question and I understand your point but that is precisely what I wanna avoid. I wanna know that users know some real-life object and think is regular. Not having the data could either mean that he thinks it's regular or that he just doesn't know the object. Like/Dislike just quite doesn't cut it for this scenario.
    – PedroC88
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 12:28

If you're tracking your users somehow fairly reliably or if voting happens after login*, you could, instead of a "regular button", track the unique visits by user to the page. That is: a user has visited the page and has not voted and only one visit is counted.

You could also use this data to encourage the users to vote up/down, e.g. with a message "69 users feel indifferent with this page and that includes you! Vote to make a difference."

*) Not saying if this is ideal or not


While I completely agree with Roland that in many cases there is no need for a third option, there might be exceptions to this general rule and your application might be one of them.

The neutral option is between thumbs up and thumbs down, so a logical choice would be a horizontal thumb. For color you might want to follow traffic light conventions: red for thumbs down, green for thumbs up, and yellow/orange for neutral. An example with picture of the icons used is in this blog post by Chris Harte. He uses it in the learning domain.


As a suggestion for the "regular" option, what about a palms out shrug icon? It might be a bit close to "I don't know" but it conveys ambivalence.

As a note, I am definitely in favor a the third "regular" option. Being a Pandora user, I hate having just like and dislike. Often I like a song but if I "like" it my station gets lead astray, but if I change it to "dislike" then it will never play again. A third neutral option seems a great idea to me.

Here's an example icon:

enter image description here

Also, I would be careful about the Thumbs up / down / sideways thing. According to Wikipedia, a thumbs up is even more offensive than the middle finger to people in the Middle East and South America. Additionally, a sideways thumb was actually the symbol to kill a downed gladiator back in the Roman days (not thumbs down), so I don't know how that's been culturally passed down (or not).

  • Thank you on this. I'm actually going for faces which represent feelings better and, now that u mention it, should help me stay cool to those middle east and south american folks :).
    – PedroC88
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 20:12

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