DotNetNuke Tips & Tricks

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 by Cuong Dang

Good Usability or Just Common Sense?

Filed under: Module Development, UI and UX

Rating is something that I have never seen anybody in DotNetNuke community has done it right. It might sounds pretty extreme, but if you have seen something that provide values as what I am going to discuss in this blog, please feel free to direct me there.

I sometimes run into modules (whether if it is free or commercial) that provide rating ability on articles or products in a way that is… somewhat useless to visitors. Things like five-star-rating is one of most common mistake I’ve seen around. Unless you show the amount of people rated on the article and give them an average rating, it does not mean much if you just show visitors that this article has been rated 4 out of 5. This isn’t rocket science that you have to be a UX expert to figure out how to provide values; I believe this is just common sense to most people.

I am not here to point out which modules are providing some useless information to users, I just want to show some best practice examples so we all can learn.

Below is a little research and put together a few rating systems that are done right that can be beneficial for us all learn to improve our modules and provide better user-experience to visitors on the web.

Amazon-Style Review

Many of us are pretty much familiar with Amazon. How Amazon provides rating might be a bit overkill for the purpose of this article. But it is a perfect example of how a product rating should be.

Amazon Kindle 2 Review

From the screenshot above, it shows the preview of Amazon Kindle 2 and it has 4-star rating. Amazon clearly shows what 4-star mean to visitors in a complete context. In this case, 1,646 people rated it. It also provides a small stat table on the left with more details about other ratings. Web site visitors sure receive many values out of this rating system to their purchase decision.

Apple-Style Review

Apple is a pioneer in design and usability. I often shop their products online and enjoy the great review system that they have.

Apple iPhoto '09 Review

The screenshot above shows iPhoto ’09 review by visitors. At first glance, we see that the product got 3.5 star overall based on 61 reviews. Similar to Amazon, on a single review, we see the number of people agree or found the review from the author is useful.


When writing a module or a small peice of software, it’s best to take a little time and think things through from a user perspective so we can provide some values to people. Maybe the way we think and see how it should work makes sense to many of us, but to end-users, sometimes we just got to be on their shoes to realize what we are missing. After all, this rating system is just all common sense.


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