We are all familiar with Amazon’s buying process. You visit the website, search for the product you are interested in, and then immediately check all the available listings to find out which one has the best reviews. Lower than 4.5 stars? Maybe. Lower than 4 stars? No chance.
Amazon’s rating system was simple but effective – the fastest way to sort the best from the worst, the best from the fakes. The stars were lined up neatly, so it was a piece of cake to see exactly how reliable a product was. It couldn’t be easier.
So, the question remains: Why did they decide to change it?
If you visit Amazon, you’ll be surprised to notice that the site no longer displays five consecutive stars on every listing. Instead, each product has one star next to a number showing the average rating.
Why is there such a question? Well, for those of us with the old rating system ingrained in our brains, every product now seems to have one respectable star. I recently ignored a popular cleaning product as a fruit until I realized that its 4.8– star rating.
As developers, we know that even the smallest design changes can have a significant impact. As another prime example, don’t expect Apple, which recently tried to change the position of the iPhone ‘end call button’ in the latest iOS 17 beta. This seemingly inconsequential change caused users to accidentally Facetime people instead of hanging up the phone. Of course, the community retaliated. Apple was quick to reverse the change.
To make matters worse (or better, depending on how you look at it), Amazon’s new system was apparently better of two options. Amazon is also testing a variation where each product rating shows the number of five-star reviews as a percentage. That means you will simply see that there is a product “40% five star review”. Is the other one 60% of four star or one star ratings? You can see the problem there.
Amazon’s main selling point is its convenience. Users usually don’t go to the site to browse for their weekly shop. The market should be quick to use and easy to read. Any extra second I have to spend embarrassingly buying a pair of jeans from Jeff Bezos is wasted.
Max was born in Cardiff, Wales, and Max moved to Brisbane when he was 12. He has spent the last five years developing expertise in the Fintech industry. When he’s not posting about Web3you will find it on a paddleboard.