Badges on the IDE
I’ve started brainstorming how to integrate notifications and badges with Looking Glass. As Reilly, Kyle and Aaron are getting ever closer to implementing badge and code tests, the primary goal is to design how to notify users when their current project is eligible to earn a new badge if they share it to the community. Integrating notifications with the IDE would eventually extend to have multiple other uses, as well, such as letting logged-in users know when a shared project has been commented on or liked.
I think that the main issue with integrating badge notifications is to design and place them in a way such that the user’s first instinct isn’t to ignore them, or feel apprehensive about them. Notifications might be ignored if the user doesn’t feel that it immediately relates to them or their project. On the other hand, making the notification look important or urgent to attract attention might make the user feel as though they’ve done something wrong.
Another issue is wording the notifications so that they make sense, or at least sound compelling, even if they mention new terms like “badges”. A user might stop and read the notification, but then wonder why they should care. Wording a badge like an advertisement (“Congratulations! Blah blah blah. Click here to learn more!”) might cause users to just ignore it. Providing too much information in a notification might also deter users from wanting to read it.
Still another issue is placement. Looking Glass’s layouts in the scene and action editors currently have very few visual ties to the community for me to extend my designs on. I’m worried that just adding a “Notifications” button next to “Remix” and “Share” would cause it to be overlooked, and it would also be out of place since the other community buttons relate directly to the project, and notifications might not. Right now, I’m playing with colorful icons that update when new badges or earned or other notifications appear. I would like for badge notifications specifically to also appear in the editor itself so that a user doesn’t have to go out of his or her way to learn about badges, but I’m also worried about cluttering the interface.
I’ve started mocking up a few designs that I would like feedback on. Mike has already done a great job designing Looking Glass’s new start-up dialog, so I’ve adopted his approach to displaying notifications in the intro dialog into my designs. A design I’m leaning toward includes miniature pop-ups in the corner that summarize the notification. I’m also a fan of having a notifications icon in the upper right corner that opens up another window with more information, but I don’t think that’s enough to attract attention on its own. For badge earnings only, I also like the idea of a faded out badge in the scene preview window that only appears fully when the project is shared. I’m wondering how much badges and notifications should actually overlap.
My hope is that formative testing at the Science Center will answer several questions about how to design notification placement and badge information. My main questions are:
Where should unread notifications be placed?
How should we display new notifications or information about earning badges? Are pop-ups too much?
How should we word notifications/badge announcements so that the users care about what they say?
Looking forward to feedback on my mock ups tomorrow!