I have a FAQ/Knowledgebase for a product where I wish to collect simple visitor feedback about each entry if they found it useful or not. It would primarily for me, so I can improve the answers and or order them by most heplful first. But what to display once they've casted their vote? Maybe the results don't need to be public.

helpful yes/no

I'd imagine something among these:

  • "Thank you for voting" and show no results whatsoever.
  • Change "Yes" and "No" to the number of votes received.
  • Change it to "You've found this helpful/useless." permanently.
  • Show a tailored message like "before you, 123 people have found this useful" according to which one they chose. So they can feel alone like "You're the first to find this useless." or similar :) This would include the count (for the relevant choice) and a personal touch.
  • Something else?

3 Answers 3


Design for the workflow

Some considerations:

  • If you think the votes are helpful to users (i.e. an indication of quality is helpful as the user reads the answer), then display the count....don't make the user to vote in order to see it.

  • If the votes are not useful (or even misleading) to users, then don't show the results just for the sake of thanking users. You're just using bad information to satisfy a feedback requirement. Instead, just thank the user.

  • Keep in mind that displaying the count may bias the vote. Articles with lots of positive votes will tend to attract more positive votes (Bandwagon effect).

Here's an example of a workflow-based design

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  • The vote count is placed near the title, to provide users helpful context around how useful the answer is likely to be.

  • The vote widget is placed at the bottom. This (1) helps ensure that users have read the answer before voting (to improve the quality of the vote); and (2) provides some separation between the vote results and the vote widget, to help reduce bandwagon bias.

  • Provides positive, colorful feedback to the user to thank him for his feedback.

The right design for your knowledge base will depend on your particular user workflow, but this example should illustrate some of the key factors.

  • 2
    This is pretty good. I especially like the % results implementation. The actual number may only be useful to me, to judge the popularity of each entry. As entries may appear as several items per page, I may not have other kind of analytics to see which one is more popular. I have to agree with your other points! Commented May 16, 2015 at 10:20

If you are thinking about offering a way to change the vote then presenting a "Yes" and "No" count along with the original button may be ideal. In this case, both "Thank you for voting" and "You've found this helpful/useless" don't allow further user edit. (unless you present an "edit" "change vote" link on hover or permanently next to the count)

If edit option is out of the question then going with the "123 people have found this useful" approach makes it easier to interpret than just "Helpful? Yes 123, No 32".

  • 1
    Good point about the editability of voting, which I like. I believe I'll just store the "voted" value in a localStorage (cookie?) and make it so that they can revoke if already voted, or vote differently if they want to. So I'll just color/highlight the voted icon differently indicating which one they chose. And thank separately. Commented May 16, 2015 at 10:25

Since knowledge-bases and FAQs are for support, people arrive there to get questions answered. The value comes from the clarity and helpfulness of the answers given. That's why systems like Uservoice or even Amazon do a number of things, including:

  • asking "was this helpful?" and possibly...
  • displaying how helpful it was as a number (ie. 20 out of 27 people found this helpful)
  • having a question at the end that asks if your questions isn't on the list, followed by an ability to ask it

There's little reason to show anything else. The value comes from the answers given, and you use the scoring to determine how valuable those answers are. You can show the score, but they aren't points. No one reading will care...in fact they might feel stupid if the answer given for their question doesn't work for them, but it's rated highly!

  • 1
    I think I won't show the actual number of voters, but rather a percentage. The question at the end is nice, but I'll also direct them to my contact area as questions tend to be after-purchase questions which need purchase validation. Commented May 16, 2015 at 10:23

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