We want to restrict users from reviewing items they haven't purchased. At the moment they can review anything, so we're wondering how to implement the UI so that the feature is clearly disabled until after purchase. We are not sure whether it's better to grey it out or just remove it entirely. Below is how it looks currently.

enter image description here

  • One easy way is to distinguish the review by labeling it as 'Customer Reviews'. And I guess you can't be a customer unless you have purchased something? – Michael Lai May 19 '15 at 22:35
  • Is it possible to purchase a product available on your side from another vendor? If so, what happens with users who've bought a gizmo from Walmart and want to review it on your site? Can they provide some proof they've purchased the product elseware? – mouseas May 19 '15 at 23:13
  • @mouseas The products we sell are exclusive to our site. – Tom Chambers May 20 '15 at 8:27

Don't show the review widget

The user cannot review the item, so it's not a good idea to waste space and create frustration for users (with disabled controls, etc) when you already know that they cannot review the product.

Instead, you can provide a link to explain why users can't review:

(click image to expand) enter image description here

  • If a user wants to leave a review, you are providing information to help the user understand how the system works.
  • For most users who aren't interested in leaving reviews, you are not occupying unnecessary space or providing a complex review widget that the user then has to process (which is a waste of time since the user can't leave the review anyway).
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Option 1

The direct answer would be to enable reviews based in product purchase and nothing else. We did this for a site (they don't review products, but the seller/buyer, however the same principle applies) and here's the gist of it: Since we want to encourage people to review, when people enters their profile's dashboard, the first thing they see is a small dialog box with operations to review. We have 3 options (buyer, seller, counterpart review), but in your case only one is enough. I've included the 2 possible options in a single element as a quick mock up, but you'll obviously need one or the other.

enter image description here

And obviously, when you click to review, you'll have a list of products to review.

Again, keep in mind you might not require this, while for us, it's of upmost importance. The point is: you only allow reviews if the product has been purchased, and that's what this system is aimed to.

Option 2

As an additional option, Envato does this: they allow everybody to review something since they have online digital previews. However, it's clearly stated if the reviewer has purchased the product or not. I don't like this approach since it's prone to abuse and requires heavy moderation, but in case you can't change your backend code, it's a reasonable option.

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You know, the review doesn't make sense unless you buy the item.
You can't review something you didn't have the hands on. With this being said, the most natural scenario would be to be able to review items you purchased in your dashboard (where you list the items a user bought.)

If you won't opt for this solution, you can test if a user already purchased the item. if yes, display the review input, if not, don't.


Edit :

Please always provide a link for a review (In confirmation purchase email or something ..)

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  • "Hey, so many people reviewed the items, I'd like to review too, but I can't, why not? This site sucks!" - the OP would like to avoid this – Voitcus May 19 '15 at 21:23
  • Would you like to review something you didn't even use ? You suck :D – Aymane Shuichi May 20 '15 at 23:26
  • Even if a user sucks, it's not a good UX-practice to inform him about it :-) – Voitcus May 21 '15 at 7:47

This is what I will do in case.


The reason I just grayed out the form is for the users to know where it is when they finally decided to buy and review the product. Corrections are very much welcome.

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  • I disagree. Your message suggests that one should buy a product only to write a review. Maybe "Only users who have bought the product are encouraged (free?) to write a review and share their opinions" – Voitcus May 21 '15 at 7:51
  • You're totally right but isn't that too much words or is it for the sub text? – Mark Vizcarra May 21 '15 at 13:23
  • My intention here is to make the main text short and for the users to be able to get the message asap. – Mark Vizcarra May 21 '15 at 13:27
  • I only think "does not allow" is slightly aggressive, but I might be wrong – Voitcus May 21 '15 at 17:45

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