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I'm putting together an app where users can upload photos of dishes from the restaurants they visit. Right now I'm debating on whether or not to include the ability to comment. What I'm trying to determine is if this feature is introduced would it add to the value of the photo itself and/or the overall user-experience.

Often times for photo-centric sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr I've observed that comments left by friends and strangers most notably come in the form of identical compliments (Awesome photo!, Nice, etc.) or questions that receive little to no replies from their uploader.

One of the main goals of the app is to help users find top rated dishes. Images that represent these dishes take this one step further. Would implementing a comment feature help aid these users that much more or only add redundancy?

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    Seems like this would best be determined through some user testing. Give half of your test base the ability to comment and disable the feature for the other half. – JonBee Aug 17 '15 at 20:46
  • What would I be testing? – Carl Edwards Aug 17 '15 at 21:08
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Not only do comments help, but they are of the foremost importance. I won't expand on this much, but will give you a direct example, with restaurants and dishes as we're at it:

enter image description here

The research factor

This is eye tracking testing from Jakob Nielsen. As you may see, pictures are absolutely secondary, even when it relates to hyped chefs, people concentrated on the text content and ignored the pictures.

With comments, you can have a lot of fluffy comments, that's for sure, but you'll also have a lot of helpful comments. Remember that you can disguise a photo in any way you want, but most people attends to other user's feedback. A "nice!" is worth a lot more than no good comments at all. You can read a more detailed explanation on this Like Pattern

The Web accessibility factor

Now consider the web accessibility factor: it is possible people can't see your image. However, there's no doubt the comments will increase usability and accessibility for disabled people, specially the visually impaired ones. While THIS IS NOT the only thing you need to do in order to improve web accessibility, it certainly is something that will help both your app and your users

Social Proof

While very related to the first item, this pattern has some differences, and it may be the difference between an app "nobody uses" or a tool perceived as something you and your peers use on a regular basis, providing both trust and authority. Read more about the Social Proof Pattern

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