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On my website, users can vote on whether they like or dislike various things, and then they can write either positive or negative opinions. Historically, has positivity been associated with the right-hand or left-hand side of the UI?

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    Have you thought about using top and bottom instead? For example, we upvote and downvote on this site. – bphilipnyc Oct 27 '15 at 14:26
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There are several things to consider here.

Do you want to fill your website with negative votes ?

Most of the pages and languages are read from left to right. Just like placing an OK button on the left of a cancel button to get more attention , a positive vote can be placed on the left of a negative vote.

Examples and differences.

Is your website function dependent on the positive votes?

Say you have a feed that populates items based in positive votes alone , in that case you should give more attention to positive vote option ( may be with bold text , a different colour or just breaking the pattern )

Eg: https://www.quora.com/

Is it a place where both positive and negative votes are important?

In that case you can place positive vote to the left of negative vote with equal importance (may be with a colour change to depict the difference in purpose ).

Eg: helpful and not helpful votes in a review website.

  • Interesting. Similarly, do you think if I were to put positive on the top and negative on the bottom, positive would still get more attention? – Jeff Caros Oct 27 '15 at 7:44
  • Putting the positive on top of negative will obviously give more attention to the positive , but whether it is a good design or bad design depends upon the other elements on your page. Taking the example of Quora itself , if the voting options are present beneath the post , It will better if both of the option are in same line , because unnecessarily breaking the flow is not a good practice. On the other hand if you have a post/image and you have a side bar where you have all the option including voting keeping the positive at top will be a good option. – Sooraj Chandran Oct 27 '15 at 7:48
  • What Sooraj is saying is a fair point, anyhow I would also reconsider the "reading direction" aspect: You read the first one first, the last one second, but the last one is the last thing you will mention best - IF there is nothing else to follow that very item. Combined with mobile device thumb radius, it often can be a good solution to put the prominent button to the end. Again: Depends on usecase. Concerning your votes: I would put the positive one first: Because a lot of other items will follow, and this way you can get the positive one first. – Jan Oct 27 '15 at 11:04
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Smartphone context would make the matter easier because you would think distance to the thumb.

For desktop sized web, key would be making the two voting options dramatically different visually. Size, color, shape, iconography, font all need to communicate the difference between positive and negative answers.

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If you look at it this way. Think of a number line, using negative and positive numbers like this for example: -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, So 5.

So it already suggests what you're thinking but negative on the left and positive on the right.

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For a grand example, compare Windows and Mac systems.

Windows generally place positive buttons on the left and negative, right. And Mac systems (including iOS) does it the opposite. In fact, Android dialogs also tend to have the positive or confirm buttons on the right.

Look at whatever data you have and see if your primary audience is using either of the said systems. What is intuitive is very subjective as it's born out of habit. So, capitalize on whatever habit your primary audience has acquired in using other systems.

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I think that there is a problem with this question:

Indeed, a positive vote is the opposite of a negative vote. Thus, If I see two buttons (or links), one on the left and one one the right, this suggests that I can clic on both, so I can vote positively and negatively for the same stuff.

If you want two buttons, they must be more than opposites and some different rewards should appear for each choice.

In your simple case, I suggest you to only show a positive button (eg. a like).

  • I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say. Could you expand a little on what you mean by rewards? – Jeff Caros Oct 28 '15 at 1:13
  • reward = a reaction after a clic – Benjamin J. Benoudis Oct 28 '15 at 1:18

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