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Building Review Stars in React

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    David Rhodes

So you're implementing a review stars feature on your Product Detail Page or Product Listing Page, and provided a two decimal-placed user rating for stars one through five, it's your job to architect and code the design. This is a deep-dive on how I did it using React, hooks, and styled components.

What's great about a task like this is it's hardly reinventing the wheel. Leading e-commerce sites like Amazon, Home Depot, and Best Buy have invested probably more than anyone in A/B testing to know what drives revenue and click-through, and many e-commerce sites end up outsourcing with third party vendors like BazaarVoice for reviews, so it's useful to start with a quick look at how those engineering teams approached the same task. If you're building an MVP that includes a home-grown review solution, your product owner will certainly appreciate your due diligence come QA and demo time, as long as you discuss the differences and how to apply them to your user story and retail category.

Let's start with the 800-lb gorilla of retail, Amazon. Their UI designers have chosen to shortcut the rendering of partial review star fills at more humanly-recognizable stops. It appears any rating between x.2 and x.7 defaults to a slanted 50% partial star fill, signaling the user that it's a partial rating toward the lower half. Upon further walk-through of the product pages, any partial rating between x.0 and x.2 shows an empty star, and any rating between x.8 and x.99 renders a 'partial' star, in quotes here because it's filled 100%.

Amazon's Review Stars

Best Buy not only goes full on exact partial star but adds a thin red line as its edge to make it crystal clear, just like the picture and sound quality you expect as a bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones user.

Best Buy's Super-Detailed Review Stars

And Home Depot has also decided their customers respond better to full-on partially rendered stars to signify the fractional rating. I'm guesssing their users are also more precise and demanding, many being contractors.

Home Depot Review Stars - Our Target Approach

We're going with the Home Depot approach of fully-partialized stars (no edges) and will assume for brevity you're familiar with React and building basic applications that consume an API or data store.

First let's revisit Thinking in React from the React docs. Using the component parent/child logic we can sketch out the component tree required for rendering review stars. There's obviously the Review Stars Container, which holds the Stars and NumericRating. Then Stars is comprised of three separate components consisting of one to multiple stars: First, the FilledStars represent the baseline rating. If the average rating is 3.4, then there would be three FilledStars. The PartialStar is the crux of our work, because it represents the partial rating of 0.4, and is filled presumably 40% to reflect that. Then EmptyStars represent any whole numbers from the difference between max rating (generally five), and the actual rating, 3.5. In this case, there would be one EmptyStar.

Thinking in React about Review Stars

So, "Thinking in React", I think we should scaffold out the project like below. You'll notice a hook for getting one random product from the mock json file -- more on those in a bit.


In the AppStyles.js file, add the following styled components to style out the basic PDP. I'm a big fan of styled components and its syntax being easily refactored to-and-from CSS. Plus its declarative naming syntax and reusability of elements is super useful for mapping our "React thinking" component names and styles onto actual JSX elements.

import styled from 'styled-components';

export const ProductCard = styled.div`
	text-align: left;
	min-height: 80vh;
	background-color: #282c34;
	display: flex;
	flex-direction: column;
	align-items: flex-start;
	padding: 5rem;
	justify-content: center;
	font-size: calc(10px + 2vmin);
	color: white;

export const ProductImage = styled.img`
	display: flex;
	align-content: flex-start;

So the most important code is in reviewStars/styles.js, where we contain and handle the overflow for building the partial star, leveraging

position: absolute while dynamically setting width according to the partial rating percentage, thanks to styled components' very handy capability of handling props.

import styled from 'styled-components';
import palette from '../../constants/palette';

export const PartialStarContainer = styled.div`
	margin: auto 0;
	position: relative;
	display: inline-block;
	padding: 0;

export const PartialStar = styled.div`
	color: ${palette.teal};
	padding: 0;
	position: absolute;
	z-index: 1;
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
	overflow: hidden;
	width: ${props => props.percent || '0%'};

In PartialStar you can see how we are locking its postion to the top left with overflow hidden, and it's set with to props.percent. Oh yeah, that's another cool thing about styled components! The ability to apply props for dynamic styling, as with a partial rating percentage.

export const Star = styled.div`
	color: ${palette.teal};
	padding: 0;
	z-index: 0;

export const Rating = styled.div`
	margin: auto;
	color: ${palette.gray2};
	font-size: 1.4rem;

export const Stars = styled.div`
	margin: auto;
	font-size: 1.4rem;

export const ReviewWrapper = styled.div`
	min-height: 3rem;
	display: flex;
	align-content: center;
	justify-content: space-around;
	margin-left: 0.8rem;

Now we need some mock data to consume, ideally a listing of products with images, reviews, and maybe a lorem ipsum description. You can use this gist I've created, along with this hook which randomizes the product loaded, also in the starter project. Then we pull it all together in ourReviewStar.js render method:

  <figure style={{ display: 'flex' }}>
    { => star)}
    {hasPartialStar && (
        <PartialStar percent={ratingPercent(rating % 1, 1)}></PartialStar>
    {emptyStars.length > 0 && => star)}

Other than that, there is some mild math for determining how many empty, if any, stars there are, and extracting the partial percentage rating.

So in the final example, the PDP is only consuming one average review rating for brevity (normally you'd see a list of reviews comprising the average). Here's the final result as rendered; For added challenge my next step would be connecting to a mock API for a list of product with multiple reviews (or just mock it up in JSON data), to calculate and render an actual average of review ratings, then adapting my hook to calculate said average. If you have ideas or feedback, I'm on twitter at the link in my About section.

Final Review Stars Rendering