Tag Archives: recommender systems

Rating, Voting & Ranking: Designing for Collaboration & Consensus

Rating, Voting & Ranking: Designing for Collaboration & Consensus


Don Turnbull


The OpenChoice system, currently in development, is an open source, open access community rating and filtering service that would improve upon the utility of currently available Web content filters. The goal of OpenChoice is to encourage community involvement in making filtering classification more accurate and to increase awareness in the current approaches to content filtering. The design challenge for OpenChoice is to find the best interfaces for encouraging easy participation amongst a community of users, be it for voting, rating or discussing Web page content. This work in progress reviews some initial designs while reviewing best practices and designs from popular Web portals and community sites.


…Tim O’Reilly proposed the phrase “architecture of participation” to describe participatory Web sites and applications that encourage user-driven content, open source contribution models and simple access via APIs. So why are so many of these sites and applications under-designed at the interface and interaction level, not to mention having vaguely architected overall structure? Many of these sites are relying on the (initial) enthusiasm of users or their compelling features to keep and encourage participation. However more attractive and functional interfaces with clear labels, (usability) tested interfaces, finely crafted workflows and consistent interaction models would both keep early adopters involved and allow for easy bootstrapping for late-comers. When designing participatory, community-oriented sites, designers shouldn’t have to re-invent everything from scratch.

…popular community sites feature common interface elements and functionality:

  • Overall voting and rank status easy to read
  • Dynamically updated interaction
  • Thumbnail, abstract or actual content of item on same page as voting interface
  • Rating information for community at large for the item
  • Suggestions or lists for additional items to rate
  • Textual description of (proposed) item category with link to category
  • Links to related and relevant discussions about item (or item category)
  • Standard interface objects (where appropriate) to leverage existing Web interaction (e.g. purple & blue links colors, tabbed navigation metaphor, drop-down lists)
  • Show history of ratings or queue of items to vote on
  • Aggregate main page or display element that shows overall community ratings (to encourage virtuous competition for most ratings)
  • Task flow for voting or rating clear with additional interactions not required (e.g. following links)

…In addition to dynamic voting status, there is some consideration of simplifying the voting to include “allow” vs. “block” ratings only. Design issues such as the colors of the buttons may also overly influence certain votes.

Basic Voting Interface and Voting History
As part of each user’s own customized portal page, a history of recent votes is prototyped to give users the ability to remember their past votes and see the status of pending items in consideration.


information interfaces: Graphical User Interfaces, user interfaces, reputation systems, social computing

Cite As

Turnbull, D. (2007). Rating, Voting & Ranking: Designing for Collaboration & Consensus. Paper presented at the Association of Computing Machinery Computer Human Interface Conference (SIGCHI), San Jose, CA.

References in this publication

Publications that cite this publication

  • Galway, D. (2008) Real-life Rating Algorithm [PDF].

Related Articles

Recommended Reading

Building Web Reputation Systems by Randy Farmer and Bryce Glass at Building Web Reputation Systems: The Blog.