From counter badges to game badges

1 minute read

Today’s computer world is filled with nice notification tools, usually represented as red badges – but they can have many kind of appearances.
This kind of badge aren’t far from being neutral: they are red, visible, and in evidence for a reason. They are designed to alarm you. They are trying to trigger some kind of emotional response in order to gain you attention and feedback. Of course, it’s very subtle, but still it’s what they are leveraging.

This kind of solution was great in a less wired world, and is still great for a lot of people. But what if we were able to find a design that could leverage different emotional responses such as satisfaction, instead of anxiety?

For example, I might borrow some design ideas from my friend Federico and think a bit about game design. In detail, what if we will use the basic logic of prizes instead of warnings? Think about powerups, levels and badges – Foursquare or Gowalla badges.

What if Mail could be able to award me a trophy for each Inbox Zero?
Or another one if I’m able to avoid checking the email for around 30 minutes – the time of a Pomodoro?
Or another one if I’m able to check the email just once a day for 5 days?
Or again the shamed email bankruptcy badge!

With this simple design solution, wouldn’t we have a good motivation to pursue a better way to manage our time, without any alarmism, without anxiety? Maybe, it could help to live a bit better just by changing the way we are motivated to check our mails.