Have you ever looked for help on Yahoo Answers or Quora only to find that a less than savory answer has made it to the top of the results for some reason? Have you ever struggled with how to support a friend after they post “I lost my job today” on Facebook (should I “like” this?) Maybe you’ve seen a beautiful dress on your favorite clothing website and wondered, “Sure it got 5 stars, but how would it look on me?”
These experiences are relying on user generated content to work. That’s a good thing. We need real, live humans commenting on products, questions, ideas, and more. However, people are different (shocker, I know). Our differences means that our feedback is subjective and even problematic at times.
If we leave it up to the machines to tell us what’s best, that’s not helpful either. In the user experience field, we often review websites by looking at its analytics (what do the numbers say?) and talking to users (what do the people say?) Then we try to find correlations. When trying to improve a website, it’s not enough to know what people are doing. We have to also know why.
The same is true for evaluating user generated content. This blog series highlights how different industries or companies are going beyond just user feedback to help their users find the information that’s most relevant to them.