Rating Recipes with Stars

In my latest pro­ject I’m work­ing with a plat­form where the core con­tent is cook­ing re­cipes. It’s more aimed at cook­ing en­thu­si­asts and hobby chefs.

In the plat­form the users have to rate re­cipes oth­ers have pos­ted. Why do we need a rat­ing sys­tem? When you are given with 100s of books, movies, products‚…, you need some meas­ure to se­lect one or more from the pile. People uses rat­ing as a com­mon tool for this. On web­sites it has be­come a demo­crat­ical way to de­cide what con­tent or product is of higher qual­ity.

Popular Rating Mechanisms


In the web sites like Digg, Stack Over­flow, Quora etc., one can give thumbs up or thumbs down for a piece of art­icle. If we look at the type of con­tent these sites are hand­ling are news art­icles, opin­ion (ques­tions and an­swers) etc. The votes are like ‘I agree to the art­icle or I don’t agree’, ‘I like or I don’t like’, ‘I re­com­mend this or I don’t re­com­mend this’, so on. Its a bin­ary opin­ion, dis­card­ing the ‘I don’t care’ state of be­ing not vot­ing.


It has it roots for the prin­ted re­views like Michel­lin Guide. Com­monly 3 stars or 5 stars. When it comes to web­sites 5 stars is more com­mon. Since this tech­niques is pre­vail­ing since many years the people un­der­stands right away. It some­how gained an af­ford­ance of grad­ing over the course of time with users.

Score Based

Sim­ilar to starts but here the range of rat­ing go bey­ond 5. Usu­ally on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 to 100 etc. In the web­site this done either by a scroll range bar or type in.


The Face­book in­tro­duced a new and simple grad­ing mech­an­ism, which you either like or not.

Coming to Recipes

My friend @cheri­antho­mas told me chefs are artists and each of their re­cipes are their art pieces. I agree with him. So how do people rate art pieces? Com­ing to paint­ings you may say I like the stars shin­ing giv­ing the light to the town…, blah blah. You will just bring out you emo­tion. Com­ing to food you will also have sim­ilar kind of emo­tions. The food and the re­cipe from which it is made are two seper­ate en­tit­ies. The re­cipe is like a tool which one used to pre­pare a dish. All the emo­tions when you eat a dish will just for the dish you ate. So here we just need to rate the tool, that is the ‘re­cipe’.

If I give you three ham­mers and ten nails to fix. Say a claw ham­mer, a sledge ham­mer and mal­let. Which one do you use for nail­ing? I would pick claw ham­mer for that pur­pose, be­cause it just works on nail. See here a util­it­arian ob­ject of the ham­mer comes into play. Sim­il­arly when you speak about re­cipes, it should be doable for me, the con­text, re-us­able,… these kind of para­met­ers churned in your brain simply makes you say things like: “I’ve tried this re­cipe, did­n’t work be­cause of so and so… I won’t cook this again”, “It was easy, sure I can use this re­cipe for break­fast”,…

These are the kind of opin­ions I need to col­lect. Then their sum­mar­ies I have to rep­res­ent ef­fect­ively. Which is ac­tu­ally can be done in many ways. Can be with heat bar, stars, tex­tual,… From these I chose stars rat­ing con­trol. If im­ple­men­ted well you just need to see and one click. No drag­ging, think­ing which num­ber to give, mul­tiple. I would call this simple. Other simple ones are vot­ing up/​down and ‘I like’ which I re­jec­ted be­cause of the band­width of opin­ions pos­sible are not enough.

Say I have five kind of opin­ions for ex­ample:

These can be eas­ily mapped to the 5 stars rat­ing. So the two sides of a rat­ing mech­an­ism: col­lec­tion and rep­res­ent­a­tion is handled.

Star Rating - Just Read and Click
Interaction with control is simple. Almost simple enough to say ‘just read and click’.
Star Rating - Different configurations
Also the stars rating snippet can be used in different sizes and colors depending on the context without losing out on the meaning

This is a part of the thought pro­cess which I had while I’m work­ing on the rat­ing and res­ul­ted in fi­nal­iz­ing on stars rat­ing for re­cipes.

Do you have any thoughts on this art­icle? Write to me.