UI design pattern tips: achievements and badges

In the latest in a series looking at website design patterns, Chris Bank of UXPin looks at the use of achievements & badges.

Although many people are designing mobile products that are social in nature, few understand what that really means, how it works, or why it's important.

In this series for Creative Bloq, Chris Bank of UXPin, the UX design app, discusses the importance of social design patterns and details examples from some of the hottest websites and web apps today.

You can see previous posts from UXPin here. Meanwhile, for more examples of web design patterns, download UXPin's free e-book, Web UI Design Patterns 2014 and their free Web UI kit.

The problem

The user wants incremental encouragement and a general sense of progress.

The solution

Build gamification into the user's interactions with the website.

Apart from the regular user interactions like listening to a song or posting an update on a social network, many sites encourage users to complete their profile information or interact more frequently with the app. In these cases it makes sense to provide some incentive to the user so that this extra step appeals to them.

Complete a tutorial on Codeacademy and you get a badge

Gamification is one of the most popular ways of doing this, and like the Completeness Meter pattern discussed in Guiding visitors to the next step can be a great way of increasing user engagement.

Gamification applies the mechanics that hook gamers in order to make the users more engaged on the site. A gamified app is characterized by rewards the user receives as they move through different stages of the 'game'. For example, users of Codecademy receive points and badges as they complete different tutorials.

Badges are also awarded to helpful members of Stackoverflow

Stackoverflow and Quora implement the same and provide users with points that can be used to unlock additional features like asking targeted questions or contributing to protected questions.

Words: Chris Bank

Chris Bank is the growth lead at UXPin, a UX design app that creates responsive interactive wireframes and prototypes.