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Intro for Collaboration with Badg.us Project

gbathree edited this page Jun 19, 2012 · 17 revisions

##I wanna help make badg.us happen!## ###Great - you’re in! Here’s the big picture:###

The goal of Badg.us is to make the experience of creating, giving, and sharing badges easy for all people in all possible situations.

To do this, we start by thinking about who are “all people” and what are “all possible situations”, then determining how to add functionality to the site which enables those activities. Along the way we need to add the functionality as elegantly as possible so a new user can easily and quickly find what they are looking for (or perhaps something even better). Yep, definitely not easy, but we do have a simple plan to get started:

Identify a subset of “all people”, create features based on their needs, refine and test, and then move on to different people and their needs. Repeat ad infinitum.

Our initial subset of “all people” is Events (Maker Faire’s, for example) and Summer Camps / Home Schools. We chose these subsets because 1) they are tech saavy, 2) they have a lot to gain from changing how achievements are valued, 3) they are located near where we live. We learned a lot from the Ann Arbor mini Maker Faire. You can find the details from the organizers perspective HERE and from the user testers perspective HERE. We also track general user notes at the “Badge User Notes” page on Github.

Based on our experiences, here’s the big lessons learned so far:

  1. Badges are a means to an end, not an end in of themselves. They are a tool that no one really knows how to use yet, and it’s our job to add features and provide fun and interesting use cases so that people really grok badges.
  2. Average badge users ARE NOT motivated by lofty rhetoric about the importance of badges. If you're assuming the badge users will be motivated primarily by the long term promise of badges, the system probably will not work.
  3. Here are what we see as the critical questions for any badge application:
  • What is the goal of the potential badge issuer? (DON’T say “I want to use badges”)
  • Do badges advance that goal, and if so how?
  • Why does the potential badge earner care about receiving a badge? (DON’T say “because badges are going to change the world in 10 years”)

The image below shows a list of important use cases and features and represents where Badg.us is and where it wants to go. It’s not exhaustive in any way, but it’s a start. Badg.us Use Cases and Features (click image to enlarge)

##Quit yer yammering, let me get to work!## ###Ok, Ok! Here’s what we need -###

Programmers - go to the Github "Issues" page and start tackling the easy ones. We suggested beginning with the ones tagged “1.0” and then moving on to the tougher ones from there. Please be good about documenting and adding comments, it really helps!

Everybody else - we also need help identifying new features, use cases, and especially interesting/unique ways of using badges. We’re a little group of extremely part time volunteers so we don’t have the time to try to organize multi-stakeholder phone calls of 50 people (that’s what the Open Badges call and Open Badges Google Group is for) and there's already an immense amount of not well organized chatter out there about badges, and we don't want to add more to it. So for now just shoot us an email at greg (at) austiclabs dot com and anna dot shyrokova (at) gmail dot com with user scenarios, features ideas, or the desire to collaborate.

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