Working on Customers reviews in mobile app. Does anybody know how to determine the best amount of text to show before truncating? or whether to not truncate at all?
Here are some statistics from "big brothers"

Number of characters with spaces before truncation:

  • Amazon - 300
  • Walmart - 800
  • Target - looks like target doesn’t have any character limit
  • HomeDepot - 200
  • enter image description here

    • There is no 'best' amount. Use what works for your particular needs (as apparently the other major players do).
      – DA01
      Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 0:59
    • 1
      Slightly related: YouTube's commenting system has an irritating flaw that you should avoid by adding some "flex" to the limit. For instance, if the total comment is 420 characters long and only the first 400 characters are displayed, then there are only a measly 20 characters hidden behind the "More" button. This drives me nuts. The additional 20 characters should have just been displayed to start with. Now, if there were an additional 200 characters, then yes, go ahead and hide it.
      – user69458
      Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 17:54

    3 Answers 3


    I think the best option to figure it out is to study:

    • How reviews are written in your particular site (e.g.:how long they are)
    • How the people read those reviews (how many reviews they read, how many characters from each review they need to decide its usefulness, etc)

    Basically: do some user testing.

    My thoughts are that people caring enough to read a review are seeking for good information so they don't want to skip details unless the start of the reviews sounds like the reviewer had a bad criteria for making it, so to start with I would avoid "short" ones for sure.

    • For example, the average comments length on Stack Overflow is 146 characters. The truncation rule for those comments would be different than the truncation rule for a product review on an ecommerce site - assuming the reviewers are more verbose. Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 17:48

    I personally think Amazon's approach is better.

    For the following reasons:

    1. 300 Characters contain the overall impression of the user of the product and generally summarizes the entire review. It's not too long, not too short.
    2. Anything above 300-500 characters is a lot of information and also generally showcases the cons that might lead to the user not buying the product.
    3. Showing the entire review needs the user to scroll 2X times than the truncated review and exposes him to frustration and even the cons in the review.
    4. Anything lesser than 300 characters generally means it's too short to decide and it will mostly end in an incomplete sentence with the truncation. This will mostly lead to the user clicking on Read more, which is a click wasted.
    • I think most of these points are entirely dependent on the review itself.
      – DA01
      Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 1:00
    • I disagree. Even though it's dependent on the review, it's essential to limit the characters to get to know just the bare minimum unless the User feels like he wants to continue reading that particular review. 80% of the reviews follow the format: 1. Overall Summary and Rating out of 5 or 10. 2. Pros and Cons. 3. Detailed Description. 4. Other issues. Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 5:41
    • So, while the approach is dependent, as for the marketing strategy one needs to adopt while promoting a product, the web service needs to be clever to showcase the summary of the review before anything else. If we were to showcase the entire review of a good product, most people would even get the negatives and would reconsider. Hence, limiting the characters for a good product ensures that the user gets an overall clue of what he's in for without the need to read it entirely. Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 5:43
    • Where are you getting the data that 80% of reviews follow that particular format? I do agree that a summary is important, but hardly something that can be automated. Ether you need to explicitly ask the user for a summary, or you have to cut them off at a certain point. And that certain point is ultimately going to be somewhat arbitrary.
      – DA01
      Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 6:50

    I would do it based on screen size. You don't want to set it to 300 characters when the user had a Galaxy Pocket Neo or any other smartphone. Is there a specific reason you're not using percentage based calculations?

    I would use either:

    1. Total lines * 30%
    2. patent view size *20%

    and then work out how many lines or just lock the heat at that and let it ellipse naturally

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