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I was approached by a site owner to expand a couple of feature on his existing site. The said site is a business directory and users get to vote like / dislike if the businesses are restaurants.

The owner would like to include an in-depth rating feature where users can rate the service, ambience, etc on a scale of 1 to 5 when they submit a review. At the same time, the owner wants to retain the like / dislike vote feature on the note that users can just vote like or dislike if they are 'lazy' to write a review and give ratings.

In the context of user experience, does having either one feature makes the other somewhat redundant?

  • I'd recommend you read this quora answer by a guy from Netflix - quora.com/Rating-Scales/…. Ratings are only a feature if you use them properly. Incidentally, users only give you valuable data if you use them properly, too. – Josh Anderson Jun 17 '14 at 20:24
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I would say a yea/nay vote feature is confusing when presented alongside a star rating. The star rating handles laziness - what could be easier than tapping/clicking on a star...

Back to the main point, if you present two systems for a quick view (stars and likes), people will be confused about which has value and may abstain from using either. If the typed review is optional, allowing people to tap a star and leave, this should handle all user types.

Remember that the other side of the ratings coin is data - all your aggregate star ratings (more than reviews) are valuable from a data standpoint because they are easily quantifiable. If you present two data-collection systems, you undermine the breadth of both pools of data.

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The situation you describe makes me think of gamification.

Gamification is a powerful tool, but when it's used unwisely, it can ruin a business.

In this case, having multiple ways of rating could lead to confusion. If it had been an attempt to gamify your website, the complex rating would have probably been determined by the internal logic of the system, not by the desire to indulge both lazy users and those willing to make an extra effort.

For you and that site owner might make sense. Now that you've explained the idea behind it, it makes sense even to me, but think of a user who sees for the first time your rating system. All sorts of question will pop out in his/her mind, like:

"Which system of ranting between these two is more important? Should I use both? Is it possible to like an item while giving it only one star?" and so on.

So, instead of making it a matter of alternatives, gamify it:

  • At first, make it all about the like/dislike rating, which should be the minimal feedback quota the system requires.

  • Afterwards, you can go in depth by asking the user: How much do you actually dislike this item? And then you can come up with more complex options, while offering the user a badge or some extra points on the website for his active participation in scrupulously evaluating things.

If you are looking for some alternatives, here's a collection of nice inputs:

Is there a better alternative to the 5-star rating system?

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