Behavioral product strategist and gamification designer. This is my public hypertext notebook, sharing my thinking in motion at various stages of development.


Use a badging system as a method of actionable user research

If you have a high quality badging/achievements system, then that means you know what the user goals are, you can recognize when those goals are accomplished, and your app notices when the user behavior is bringing the user closer to accomplishing their goal.

The three most important questions to ask of a badging system:

  • What are the user's goals?
  • What signals progress to the user/company?
  • What signals success to the user/company?

Ultimately, the badging system is most valuable as a form of user research that provides clarity as to how to orient towards user goals and involvement. With Behavioral Product Strategy, the answers to these questions provide some of the most useful information we can acquire. It allows us to improve User Involvement by increasing the likelihood that people accomplish their goals and tightening our feedback loop of learning whether we are successfully delivering on our promise.

Ideating around a badging system means you will have determined what the user's goals are, represented those goals in terms of in-app behavior, and given users a plan for achieving their goals through your app. Additionally, you now have quantifiable ways of measuring if your user has achieved value. What you do next with that information is up to you.

This is why, when working on client projects, I often help them through the process of creating a badging system, even if there's no intention to implement it or any gamification at all. What we learn from the process ends up having implications throughout many future decisions.