Star-based rating systems have seemingly become the universal standard for judging poor to excellent service (with varying degrees of mediocrity in the middle). Groupings of stars are the go-to in the online world of judgment, but Uber is testing a new system that uses a more contemporary symbol-based language to show if its drivers are good or bad: emojis.
Quartz reports that Uber has introduced emoji ratings to a few markets, including Singapore and Austin, Texas. Riders in those locations have shared photos to Twitter showing a system that asks them to either choose a thumbs up or thumbs down emoji, or to select an emoji that best fits how they feel about the experience, with a sad face, neutral face, and smiley face.
— Anthony Bowman (@tonybowmanbotek) December 5, 2015
"We always explore new ways to combine technology, research and data to improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers," an Uber spokesperson told Mashable. "In a few select markets, we are testing whether a simpler ratings option can make it even easier for riders to submit clear and accurate feedback."
One major difference between emojis and the star system is that emojis narrow the range of emotions that a rider can have toward the experience. The current system has been problematic for some drivers who, according to Business Insider, have to maintain at least a 4.6 or risk putting their contract with Uber in jeopardy.
The emoji experiment is also being conducted in U.S. cities like Denver and Nashville, and internationally in Perth, Jakarta, Hanoi, Rio De Janeiro, Foshan, Cairo, Dubai, and Manchester.