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Collectible Achievements

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Image:pattern_achievements.png


Contents

Problem

Some participants in communities respond to opportunities to earn or win awards that can be collected and displayed to other community members.


Use When

  • You want to leverage users' compulsive natures. They may seem silly or trivial, but Collectible Achievements can have an addictive quality when done right, and may compel your users to explore parts of your offering that otherwise might not appeal to them.
  • You want to encourage the community to try out all aspects of your offering.
  • There are specific features or facets to your product offering that you'd like to promote: for instance, if you'd like to encourage more trades in a fantasy sports context, consider rewarding users with an achievement upon the completion of their 10th successful trade. ('Successful' is key here: introduce and enforce some notion of quality in the achievement.)


Solution

Provide some boon, or reward to users for attaining certain goals within the community. Make them a consistent family, or program, of collectibles.

  • Enhance their fun appeal by fetishizing them in some way:
    • Develop attractive trophies, icons or 'gamepieces' to represent each achievement
    • Allow users to save them and put them on display</li>
  • Provide a healthy mix of difficulties:
    • Make some achievements very easy and quick (low-hanging fruit) while others require time and effort to conquer
    • "Unlock" new achievements as easier ones are accomplished.


Recommendations

  • Achievements, like most reputation mechanisms, should encourage quality participation over mere repetitious activity. So, don't reward a user's "20th game played." Rather you should reward their "20 wins in one season."
  • It may be useful to develop a number of 'first-time' achievements (e.g., 'First Review posted', 'First Recipe Written', 'First Comment Received'.)
    • Make these achievements worth less than other, more difficult ones
    • Don't continue to reward more of the same behavior. These 'first' achievements are useful for encouraging people to try new and novel features, but don't reward them for gaming those features repeatedly.
  • List the available Achievements for your product, so that users will know which ones are available to them.
    • Also, indicate the ones they've achieved already.
    • Keep some achievements "locked" or grayed-out until their display has been earned.
  • Collectible Achievements should not be confused with Points, although you could intermix the two (for example, award a certain number of points for each achievement earned).

Exclusivity

Feel free to be fairly generous with collectible achievements. Every member of your community should have easy access to some achievements. But also keep some rarer achievements in short supply: make those more difficult to obtain.


Examples

Image:achievements-xbox.png Image:achievements-yfantsport.png
The Xbox Live service awards achievements to players for completing very specific actions within games. Each achievement awarded has a specific point value. Yahoo! Fantasy Sports awards collectible trophies for various sports. They are temporal in nature, and are awarded for a specific season of play. A "Trophy Case" on the players profile keeps the achievements on display.


As Seen On


Related Patterns


Original Source

Bryce Glass and Yahoo!s Platform design team, The Yahoo! Pattern Library