Actions and badges
This afternoon, I have been tinkering with actions so that they are more informative, but also take up less real estate on the news feed. Currently, when someone shares a new world, a new "news action" is created and posted in the news feed for other users to see. Along with this, other related actions are created, such as notifications that the world included remixes, was entered into a challenge, or was liked by someone. In the end, we often see that the little news feed is simply overwhelmed with exciting information solely related to the newly-shared world, and other potentially interesting news items are drowned out.
For example, multiple "likes" on a world can now be condensed to only say "n people liked the world ...", where n is 2 or more, as opposed to letting each "like" have its own line on the news feed. Also, I intend for the user to be able to click on the likes on the action as well as on the world's page to be able to view exactly who liked his or her world.
I have added plus signs next to actions that have more relevant information to convey for those who are interested. This includes my earlier "share world" example, where a newly-shared world included remixes, or was entered into a challenge. In this format, the news feed will not feel quite so crowded, and no information is lost. I am thinking, though, that user pages will not include this condensed feature, but will simply keep to the old style of listing them out individually so that they are more easily detectable, deletable, and show-off-able.
I expect to have this essentially completed by later today and ready for feedback, although it may not be added to the site for a few days until rigorous testing and beautifying can take place.
Reilly and I have been rigorously brainstorming how to ensure that a) our badge design makes sense for awarding the use of programming concepts other than nested constructs; b) badges can clearly convey a curriculum-like story that users can easily follow; and c) our badge model is not constrained, but allows for future growth.
Initially, we only intended to gear badges to be used to convey nested constructs; that was the only reason we selected gears to represent a type of skills badge at all. We feel that this may have gotten lost in translation somewhere down the line when we were presenting our ideas. We wanted other badges to be visually represented differently, such as construct levels (ex// a "do together" that moves two objects forward vs. a "do together" that creates a complicated animation), or uses of functions, personal procedures, and booleans.
At a meeting this week, it was conveyed that the gear badges may not be suited to represent anything other than nested constructs. We agree, since they were not meant to. On the other hand, they could potentially represent the other badge types, too. Instead of representing nested constructs, cogs on gears could represent other levels of achievements. We are currently trying to design this new use of the "gear badges", but are not entirely convinced yet that this is the way to go. After listing out all of the possible earnable badges we could think of as well as their various levels, we are almost convinced that badges should be simple shields or discs that progress from bronze to gold as the user progresses in understanding. Nested gear/cog badges would remain with their initial design, but would simply be extraneous achievables and not at the core of the badge system.
Earnable badges will probably be broken down into categories such as Procedures, Functions, Variables, Math, Constructs (which are further broken down into Do In Order, Count Up To, etc.). We have layed out all of the possible levels for these, trying to create a linear progression and suggestion system that users could understand and follow. The reason we do not believe that nested constructs could fit into the "levels" concept of badges is because not all possible permutations are necessary to show that a user has achieved an understanding of nesting. On the other hand, it might be fun to allow the user to earn extra "bling" on his or her badge board by allowing the gears and nested cogs to stay.