How to plan a badge system

Here are some tips to help you get started with planning and creating a badge system in your community.

Firstly, don’t forget to read about How badges work.

Next, have a read of the following Do's and Dont's to help you plan an effective approach to creating a badge system that works for your community. 

Do

  1. Think about what you want to use badges for, before setting any up and giving them to members. There are a number of potential uses, we've included some below.
  2. Think about using a consistent style for all your badges e.g. all have an icon & a name, or just a name, or just an icon. Consider using a theme or naming convention to tie them all together too.
  3. Decide which are the most important or valuable badges members can earn, and put them at the top of the list once you’ve created them so they are most likely to show on member posts.
  4. Decide a name and description for each badge that is suitable for all members to see - it will be visible on the members' profile pages that you've given a badge to, as well as their posts. When you give a member a badge, they also get a notification.
  5. Remember that badges work best when they are used to reward and recognise positive actions, contributions, or behaviours from your members, and when a badge is something special or surprising. 
  6. Use badges to highlight info about a member to other members if that is helpful, but remember it’s visible to all. If you want to segment members for your own purposes, this is probably better done with hidden custom profile fields.
  7. Have a little fun with badges - badges are used for gamification for a reason! Creative names are good as long as you’re clear about what the badge is for in the description.
  8. Think about how you’ll tell your community about the badges you create and award them with. Making a post or an article to explain your badges in a bit more detail is a good idea. Doing regular posts explaining who has earned a badge and why can help too.
Here are a few ideas for what you could do with badges:
    • Use them to recognise actions you want members to complete more often in your community.
    • Encourage actions or experiences that help convert signups into active contributors, or great members.
    • To recognise the achievements or milestones you want your members to reach E.g. attending an event, completing a course.
    • To surface or highlight useful information about a member eg domain knowledge or expertise, something about their role in the community.

Don’t

  1. Just create and give badges to your most active members, remember there may be a big proportion of your community who are relatively passive but could be encouraged to be more active with the right badges on offer.
  2. Set an expectation that everything a member does will get them a badge. You’ll make a lot of work for yourself and probably run out of badges and time! Pick the really valuable actions to reward.
  3. Make a habit of taking badges away from members without good reason, and letting them know why if you have to. Members aren’t notified when a badge is removed, but they might notice and it won’t make them feel great if they don’t understand why.
  4. Give someone a badge you wouldn’t be happy for them or other members to see. For instance, don’t give someone a ‘troublemaker’ badge! Badges send a notification when awarded to a member and can be seen on a member's profile.