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Whether you are running a giant news website, a small blog, an online store, or a site to show off your portfolio, it is important to give your audience an opportunity to leave feedback.


Comment sections are a great way to give your audience a voice on your site, but they don’t work for the shyer members, and they are limited in their ability to provide a general consensus of how your users feel.


This is where a good rating widget comes in.


Rating widgets allow your users to easily and quickly provide feedback on your site, while providing others with a visual idea of how people are reacting to the site’s content.


In this post I will review the various rating widget options, showing you the pros and cons of each option.


When going through the options listed below, remember the insight from one our previous posts (Rating Systems)


With each rating system model, there is a give and take between the complexity of the rating system and its usability. While you might get better data from a 10 star rating system, your users will be more likely to actually use the simpler 5 star system. The best rating system models are simple enough to be intuitive and engaging for your users, but complex enough to provide usable data.


Rating Widgets


Thumbs up and down Model

The like or dislike, binary rating model


Pros: Simple; easy to use; gives you a very quick sense of how your users are reacting


Cons: Limited feedback: no room for an in-between “liking” and “not liking”




Where to get it:


Five Stars

Standard rating system; users are given the option to rate between 1(very bad) to 5 (very good).

Pros: Well known, easy to use, more options for users than just like and dislike.


Cons: one bad review can skew the data; most users give 5 star ratings across the board.


Where to get it:


Sliding Scale

Users are given a slider from negative to positive and asked to place themselves on the scale.

Scale by Steepster


Pros:  more exact data, allows for a wider range of responses,


Cons: A lot of “noise” in the data you collect (i.e. it arbitrarily differentiates between a 3.63 rating and a 3.68 rating).




Where to get it: There are no free or easily accessible slider scale widgets out there. You can however design your own using this site:

Emotion Rating

The Emotion Rating system does not rely on any particular scale (e.g. bad to good), but instead asks users to choose their emotional reaction.

Pros: easy to use, more insights than a simple “like” can get interesting insights to how your users react on an emotional level


Cons: not a numerical scale, so you can’t sort based on “higher” ratings




Where to get it:



Color Rating

Visually displays ratings based on a color-coded scale.


Pros: visual, displays how users feel rather than collapsing it into an average


Cons: more complicated to understand and compare ratings




Where to get it: For Wordpress users you can download the free plugin: Colored Vote Polls



Have a favorite rating system that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.