Write a Review

Best Practice · Last modified July 15, 2009

Provide contextually relevant links that allow the user to initiate the process of writing a review,labeled with a clear call to action, such as "Write A Review."

If appropriate, consider allowing Pros and Cons, as an alternative to a full review. Be mindful of not overwhelming the writer with too many fields. Organize the fields to be most conducive to completing the review, rather than by exactly how they will appear when published.


Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

What Problem Does This Solve?

User wants to share her opinion with others about an object (place, person, thing) in greater detail than a simple rating.

When to Use This Pattern

  • User wants to write a review of an object.
  • You want to supplement the content of a product/website with user generated reviews.
  • You are also using Rating an Object. Combined they will help to obtain better review feedback.
  • You are also using reputation rankings (for encouraging quality user generated content.)

What's the Solution?

  • Provide contextually relevant links that allow the user to initiate the process of writing a review.
  • The text should be a clear call to action like "Write A Review."
  • The review form usually includes the following five fundamentals:
    • Ability to input a user's quantitative (rating) assessment
    • Field to enter the user's qualitative (review) assessment of the object
    • Guidelines for helping the user write a review
    • Any legal disclaimers
    • User identity, most often a required field or pre-populated if the user is signed in.
  • If appropriate, consider allowing Pros and Cons, in addition to or in place of a full review. Be mindful of not overwhelming the writer with too many fields.
  • Be clear regarding which fields are required.
  • Organize the fields to be most conducive to completing the review, rather than by exactly how they will appear when published. See Architecture of a Review for final information architecture pattern.
  • Utilize maximum and minimum character restrictions on fields to encourage the appropriate field length (short and concise vs. narrative).
  • After the user has completed their review, allow the option of submitting (primary call to action), previewing, or canceling it.
  • If the user submits the review and has filled out the required fields, they may be shown a confirmation page.
  • Set expectations regarding when the review will be published.
  • Provide a clear path back to the review's initiation point.
  • Provide additional, relevant objects for review if possible.
  • If the user has not filled out the required fields, provide appropriate in-line error messaging on the review form.
  • If user previews the review, display how it will appear when published and then allow the user to either edit or submit their review.
  • If user cancels review, return them to the review's initiation point.

Why Use This Pattern?

Qualitative Fields like Pros and Cons seem to be easier for users to create than a full narrative. They do not need to think in complete sentences, and they have more specific direction regarding what to write (positives and negatives). Additionally, readers find them easier to scan than a narrative.

Accessibility

  • Allow the user to move through the fields by pressing the Tab key.
  • Allow the user to submit the review by pressing the Enter key.