November 8, 2017 |

What Are The Core Elements Of A Quality Rating System?

Recently, we’ve talked about the importance of rating systems on sharing platforms, and in particular, the advantages of pulling reviews from multiple platform’s rating systems.

But what actually makes for a good rating system? Why might one be better than another?

If you’re a platform designer, think about the effect your review system will have on your community. What information do you want your users to learn about each other? How do you incentivize users to leave feedback? Are there rules about what kinds of things you can write in reviews?

There’s plenty to consider, so here are a few helpful guidelines for designers building their review system.

Qualitative > Quantitative

While 1-5 star reviews provide at least some information, they don’t tell users much about each other. They also aren’t very consistent. For example, is a 3-star review indicative of an average experience, or a negative one? It’s technically a ‘middle review’, but I would be inclined to read it as below-average.

Qualitative reviews provide some information, but not much. It’s much more helpful to leave descriptive information about your experience in order to strengthen a given community

Ensure User Safety

Criticism cannot interfere with user safety. Platform designers be sure to include mechanisms that allow users to submit potentially harmful reviews to the platform. Reviews that include personal information, include hateful speech, or are plainly false should be subject to inquiry and possible removal. Yelp has a system that includes such guidelines for reporting reviews. To implement this kind of system for your platform, you might need to designate a team member to monitor these reports until an automated system can be installed.

Be sure to include some form of punishment for users who leave reviews that violate your community standards.

Improving Quantitative Reviews

If you want to improve your quantitative system, try adding multiple categories for users to rate. Instead of a single, holistic 5-star system, ask users to rate each other based on a few separate categories.

This way, at least there will be more specific information about a given transaction.

Design Is Key

Accessible design is key for incentivizing review-giving. If reviews only take a few seconds to complete, then your platform will receive more reviews as a whole. After every transaction users could receive a notification on their device to leave a review.


Finally, reviews of users should be easily viewable on the platform. That way, users can make an informed decision about the people they interact with. If your platforms have lots of reviews but they aren’t easily viewable, they won’t be of any use to your community.

That’s the whole point of gathering reviews, right? Making your community safer for everyone.