Identifying helpful online reviews: A product designer's perspective

Ying Liu, Jian Jin, Ping Ji, Jenny A. Harding, Richard Y.K. Fung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)


Large amounts of online reviews, the valuable voice of the customer, benefit consumers and product designers. Identifying and analyzing helpful reviews efficiently and accurately to satisfy both current and potential customers' needs have become a critical challenge for market-driven product design. Existing evaluation methods only use the review voting ratios given by customers to measure helpfulness. Due to the issues such as viewpoints of interest, technical proficiency and domain knowledge involved, it may mislead designers in identifying those truly valuable and insightful opinions from designers' perspective. Thus, in this study, we initiate our work to explore a possible approach that bridges the opinions expressed by consumers and the understanding gathered by designers in terms of how helpful these opinions are. Our ultimate research focus is on how to automatically evaluate the helpfulness of an online review from a designer's viewpoint entirely based on the review content itself. We start our work by first conducting an exploratory study to understand the fundamental question of what makes an online customer review helpful from product designers' viewpoint. Through our study, we propose four categories of features that reflect designers' concerns in judging review helpfulness. Based on our experiments, it reveals that discrepancy does exist between both online customer voting and designers' rating. Furthermore, for the cases where review ratings are not steadily available, we have proposed to use regression to predict and interpret review helpfulness with the help of the aforementioned four categories of features that are entirely extracted from review content. Finally, using review data crawled from and real ratings given by design personnel, it demonstrates the effectiveness of our proposal and it also suggests that helpful product reviews can be identified from a designer's angle by automatically analyzing the review content. We argue that the study reported is able to improve designer's ability in business intelligence processing by offering more targeted customer opinions. It highlights the urgency to uncover sensible user requirements from such quality opinions in our future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-194
Number of pages15
JournalCAD Computer Aided Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • Conceptual design
  • Opinion mining
  • Product design
  • Product review
  • Product review analysis
  • Review recommendation
  • User requirement
  • Voice of the customer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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