Smiley rating

A smiley rating question is a rating question, most often used to get a clear view of how someone likes your product, service, or business. It is a 5-point rating scale intended to represent a range of sentiments from negative, to neutral, to positive, making smiley ratings most useful when measuring emotions or feelings.


This guide will teach you:

  1. Smiley rating example
  2. Advantages of a smiley rating question type
  3. Disadvantages of a smiley rating question type
  4. Tips

1. Smiley rating example

smiley rating example

Try out the Rating question type. You can use Star, Emoji, or Smiley ratings to implement a rating into your survey!

2. Advantages of a smiley rating question type

  • Rating scales add a measure of data precision
  • They create standardization, allowing you to compare different people, topic, or products easily
  • They work as a general system, therefore, appraisals and assessments can be created for almost anything

3. Disadvantages of a smiley rating question type

  • The downside to rating scales is the drawback of misunderstood information.
  • There is also a considerable threat of skewed data, the vast majority of users will provide a positive rating. They're using it over competitive alternatives and want to justify their decision. There will only be a few who have conducted an unbiased assessment of the available alternatives.
  • People interpret the rating differently. As with any grading, some are more inclined to be generous compared to others.

4. Tips

You might think that the smiley rating answer options are so simple, so you’ll try and ask your respondents a more complicated question. Don’t fall into this trap. All the usual golden rules for writing survey questions apply:

  • Keep the question short and simple! Consider just including a one-line question without defining what the smileys represent. These icons are pretty much universal, and you may find that respondents will answer quicker and not lose interest in the survey when it’s an easy question to understand and answer. You might find you’ll lose respondents if you start explaining them that “The face on the left represents an unsatisfied customer” for example.
  • Avoid double-barrelled questions. Only ask respondents to rate one thing, for example, “How would you rate the delivery time” and not, “How would you rate the delivery time and quality of item received.” You’ll run into problems when you come to analyze the data as you won’t be able to tell what exactly your respondents were rating.
  • Even in a smiley rating question, you must make sure that it is not a leading question. For example, don’t ask, “How satisfied were you with our renowned waitress”. By using the word “renowned,” you are causing the respondents to be biased and give them a higher rating. Make sure to avoid using wording that suggests a particular answer is desirable.

For more guidelines about using rating questions in general, read through our Rating scales glossary guide.

There is a range of possible icons for you to use in your rating questions. You can choose between stars, smileys, emojis, or flowers. If you choose to use the star rating scale, you’ll have the option of using between 3-10 stars.


Check out the entire glossary list in a printable list.

What's next?

  • The Ranking question provides the respondent with a list of items, created by you, which they can rank according to their liking or knowledge. This allows survey respondents to compare different items to each other by placing them in order of how they score (or rank) at a specific aspect, such as design, cost, functionality, importance. 
  • A radio button rating question allows the respondents to choose an answer between 0 and 10. Only a single answer can be chosen each time. You can use it if you want to get immediate post-purchase feedback, to ask employees to rate a training session or to check how well students feel they understood a lecture.
  • Conditional branching allows users to skip screens in the survey if certain user-defined conditions are met. This is a great way to avoid survey fatigue and make sure the respondents will see the questions that matter to them, minimizing their time and effort and maximizing your data. 
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