Badge Testing

  • Apr 09, 2013
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Reilly and I went to the Science Center on Saturday and worked with one volunteer participant to test our new badge system, integrated in both the IDE and the site. We wanted to find out whether earning a badge was exciting for the participant, and whether the process involved toward earning that badge made sense along the way. To integrate the badge earning process with the IDE, I – with the help of Caitlin and Dennis – added an alert box to appear whenever the user implements a new skill for the first time that correlates with the selected badge being earned. The badge we tested was Stories 101, and the steps toward achieving that badge align with essentially all of the basic first-time interactions with Looking Glass. Because of this, our participant earned his Stories 101 badge without any prompting from us simply by building his movie in Looking Glass via a challenge and then sharing it.
The challenge skill is the first one awarded for the Stories 101 badge. Unfortunately, our user received his alert notification for earning that skill at the same moment he clicked on the Edit Scene option. As the user received this first alert message, the whole perspective changed at the same time, causing the alert to go unnoticed.
We chose to make the alert stay open unless the user closed it, because we didn’t want it to disappear if the user was in the middle of trying to read it. However, our user continued to not notice the alert, and with each new skill it subtly updated its status in a way that continued to not be noticed.
With only one participant, it’s hard to say that alerts aren’t enough to grab the user’s attention. However, I’d like to make new alerts appear much more dramatically in a way that is eye-catching before the alert “settles” into its place in the lower right-hand corner (or wherever it ends up).
Several games, particularly online ones, seem to leverage animated alerts to notify players of levels or upgrades in this way, and I’d like to explore going a little farther down this path so see whether or not it makes the badge system more noticeable as well as exciting.

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