Why does Netflix.com use star ratings, Digg.com use up/down votes and Face- book use a “like” but not a “dislike” button? In this paper, we extend existing research on rating scales with findings from an experiment we ran to measure the cognitive load users experience while rating. In this paper, we analyze the cognitive load and time required by different rating scales. Our analysis draws upon 14,000 movie and product ratings we collected from 348 users through an online survey. In the survey, we measured the speed and cognitive load users ex- perience under four scales: unary (‘like it’), binary (thumbs up / thumbs down), five-star, and a 100-point slider. We compare a variety of measures of cognitive load and rating speed, and draw conclusions for user interface designers based on our results. Our advice to designers is grounded in the responses from users regarding their opinions of scales, the existing research, and in the models we build of the data collected from the experiment.
Sparling, E. Isaac G. and Sen, Shilad, "Cognitive Load of Rating Scales" (2010). Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Honors Projects. Paper 17.
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