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How to order a list of smiley feedback faces: a study

How to order a list of smiley feedback faces: a study

An interesting discussion broke out at our recent sprint planning meeting, and it revolved around the order in which we list smiley faces. Interest piqued? Then I’ll continue…

The ultimate question we condensed down to was this… Which order would you expect the faces in this feedback form to list? Sad to Happy? or Happy to Sad?

The two teams in this debate were:


When users are asked how they would rate a thing, in general, numbers run from 1 (being bad) to 5 (being great). The same approach was taken by the Ascending team – sad to the left, ascending to ecstatic on the right


This is a tricky one to explain but what we came up with was: “It just looks better!”, “It feels right”, “The other way doesn’t look right”, “Red on the left feels really unnatural”

Our conclusion

The final was result was 60% in favour of Descending, happy to sad. From now on all forms across the site feature the happy face on the left hand side. User testing success.

It was an interesting little discussion and one which is made even stranger in the fact that it’s difficult to place why the majority of us felt the happy face on the left felt more natural. What do you think? Are you in camp ascending or descending?


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