Monthly Archives: January 2013

User Reviews & Comments: A Battle Between Engagement & Trust

Let’s have a look at best design practices for integrating user reviews and comments into your website.

There are many online services that seek users’ opinions to help other visitors make decisions. Sometimes this is a simple quantitative rating, as seen on Rotten Tomatoes with their average audience scores, or on Open Rice here in Hong Kong. It could be as simple as the ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ on YouTube or the ‘like’ button on Facebook. Other times user prose is solicited in the form of comment, forum replies, or reviews. Sometimes the user opinion extends to the judgement of other people’s comments. Witness YouTube comments being hidden for having too many negative marks, or the ordering of answers on Yahoo Answers or Quora by ‘most upvoted’. 

There is undoubtedly a value to user interaction. TripAdvisor is built on the concept, and a quick look at YouTube ‘likes’ is a great indicator of video quality or relevance. But cheating the system is often possible, and a discerning interweb-surfer will remember to proceed with caution and truckloads of salt.

How do we create trust in the user-generated content on our websites?

Good question.

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