What are Badges

Suneeta Munjuluri
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10m Read
Best Practices
Suneeta Munjuluri
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10m Read
April 8, 2024
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Introduction

In the mobile space, app icons themselves often remind us of activities or notifications happening outside the apps. For example, a red notification badge on a messaging app icon signals unread messages, and a calendar app icon might show the date. However, these external reminders can only create a sense of engagement for the app, because when the users click on them the app opens. What the user does on the app, is the user really engaged with the app  is a completely different game altogether.

Once users open the app, the best way to engage users without being intrusive, is through in-app nudges. In-app nudges provide a more detailed and contextual guidance to relevant actions and updates. They can be in various forms like tooltips, coach marks, badges, PIP Videos etc.

What are Badges

Badges are the small red dots or icons or text labels that appear next to a UI element in an app. Badges are used to convey some information about the UI element, which is usually a feature of the app, or a product in the app.

Badges are one of the most non-intrusive yet extremely effective nudges. Badges appear in the app interface for a reason — be it to notify about new messages, awards, or promotions or to invite users to try out something fresh - like your latest feature.

Apps that have many features and complicated interfaces, especially in BFSI, E-commerce, and Hyperlocal industries, or Superapps use badges to quickly and effectively communicate the latest information to their users. Apps from other industries also utilize badges for new feature discovery, as well as promotions, deals, and alerts.

How are Badges Different from Other Nudges

Although in-app nudges are built to improve all the key KPIs of your app, each kind of nudge has a particular impact. Here is a list of all the in-app nudges and their intended purpose in the UI interfaces, the expected user interactions, and the KPIs that could be easily improved with them.

Bootstrap demo
Type of Nudge Purpose Visual Representation User Interactions KPIs Impacted
Badges Badges are designed to grab users' attention, particularly when introducing something new within the application. They also serve as effective tools for encouraging exploration, such as indicating unread emails or highlighting unexplored features. Badges are visual icons or symbols that are often placed near or on top of a feature to indicate that the user has achieved something related to that feature.
One of the greatest advantages of badges is that one viewing screen of an app can have a number of badges without disturbing the UI.
They are very non-intrusive, and non-interactive. Badges don't typically require user interaction or engagement. App engagement
Tooltips Tooltips are designed to provide additional information or context about a particular UI element when a user interacts with it (usually by hovering over or tapping on the element). Tooltips typically appear as small text boxes or pop-up messages near the UI element they are associated with. Tooltips are typically triggered by user actions and are meant to clarify or explain the functionality of UI elements. Funnel Conversions and Retention
Coach Marks Coach marks are flashing indicators attached to a UI element. A well placed contextual coachmark strongly influence your users towards conversion. Coach marks often involve highlighting specific UI elements with visual cues like arrows, circles, or overlays, along with explanatory text. Coach marks are hard to miss, hence users interact with them. App engagement
Walkthroughs Walkthroughs are used to guide users through an app when they first use it or when they encounter new features or changes in the user interface. They aim to familiarize users with the app's functionality and educate them on how to use it effectively. Walkthroughs typically involve a series of screens or overlays that provide step-by-step instructions. These instructions may include text, images, arrows, and highlights to direct the user's attention. Walkthroughs typically involve a series of screens or overlays that provide step-by-step instructions. These instructions may include text, images, arrows, and highlights to direct the user's attention. Onboarding and Activation
In-App Messages In-app messages are used to communicate information, updates, promotions, or announcements to users within the app. They serve as a means of direct communication between the app and the user. In-app messages can take various forms, such as banners, pop-ups, or notifications. They typically include text and may also feature images or buttons for user interaction. In-app messages can be interactive, depending on their content. For example, a message might contain a button for the user to click, leading to a specific action like making a purchase or reading a promotional offer. Some messages may be non-interactive and only meant for informational purposes. Conversions and Revenue
PIP Videos PiP explainer videos are used to provide additional context or information within an app or website without interrupting the user's current activity. They allow users to watch a video while continuing to interact with the app's main content. PiP videos appear as a smaller, movable video player or window overlaid on top of the primary app interface. They typically contain audio and video content, such as instructional videos, demonstrations, or informational clips. Users can typically interact with PiP videos by dragging, resizing, or closing the video player. The videos themselves are usually passive and play automatically or when the user clicks on them. App Engagement, Onboarding and Activation

How Badges can Help Build Better Products

New Feature Discovery

Features are built by development teams intensively after product managers do full research on the needs of the app. Indeed a lot of resources are invested. So the next task is to market the feature. Not just outside but inside the app as well.

Announcing a feature through flashy banners obstructs user flows. Badges are the best form of in-app nudges to lead users to discover new features. Apps use badges all the time to create awareness about their new features.

Badges are non-intrusive yet tend to increase feature discovery rates by more than 20%.

To Keep or to Kill a Feature

Badges help in improving the discoverability of a feature. Once a user discovers the feature, it’s easier to understand if the feature is leading to any increase in the key KPIs that it is aimed to improve.

By using a product analytics platform product teams can establish a correlation between the number of users who discovered the feature, to the baseline metrics of the impacted KPI. This enables them to quickly understand if the feature is really working in the intended fashion.

The decision to keep or kill a feature early on is now in the hands of product managers.

What usually takes long cycles to understand, can be done quickly by implementing the usage of badges for discovering features. Iterate faster and build better products.

Conclusion

In this article, we have created a foundation as to why badges are important for product and marketing teams. With this understanding in place, let’s dive into some real-world examples of successful implementations of badges from leading companies.

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What are Badges
What are Badges

Badges can boost user engagement as well as product discovery on mobile apps. Discover features on product use, badges as in-app signals and how product teams can improve on their decisions.

Suneeta Munjuluri

Introduction

In the mobile space, app icons themselves often remind us of activities or notifications happening outside the apps. For example, a red notification badge on a messaging app icon signals unread messages, and a calendar app icon might show the date. However, these external reminders can only create a sense of engagement for the app, because when the users click on them the app opens. What the user does on the app, is the user really engaged with the app  is a completely different game altogether.

Once users open the app, the best way to engage users without being intrusive, is through in-app nudges. In-app nudges provide a more detailed and contextual guidance to relevant actions and updates. They can be in various forms like tooltips, coach marks, badges, PIP Videos etc.

What are Badges

Badges are the small red dots or icons or text labels that appear next to a UI element in an app. Badges are used to convey some information about the UI element, which is usually a feature of the app, or a product in the app.

Badges are one of the most non-intrusive yet extremely effective nudges. Badges appear in the app interface for a reason — be it to notify about new messages, awards, or promotions or to invite users to try out something fresh - like your latest feature.

Apps that have many features and complicated interfaces, especially in BFSI, E-commerce, and Hyperlocal industries, or Superapps use badges to quickly and effectively communicate the latest information to their users. Apps from other industries also utilize badges for new feature discovery, as well as promotions, deals, and alerts.

How are Badges Different from Other Nudges

Although in-app nudges are built to improve all the key KPIs of your app, each kind of nudge has a particular impact. Here is a list of all the in-app nudges and their intended purpose in the UI interfaces, the expected user interactions, and the KPIs that could be easily improved with them.

Bootstrap demo
Type of Nudge Purpose Visual Representation User Interactions KPIs Impacted
Badges Badges are designed to grab users' attention, particularly when introducing something new within the application. They also serve as effective tools for encouraging exploration, such as indicating unread emails or highlighting unexplored features. Badges are visual icons or symbols that are often placed near or on top of a feature to indicate that the user has achieved something related to that feature.
One of the greatest advantages of badges is that one viewing screen of an app can have a number of badges without disturbing the UI.
They are very non-intrusive, and non-interactive. Badges don't typically require user interaction or engagement. App engagement
Tooltips Tooltips are designed to provide additional information or context about a particular UI element when a user interacts with it (usually by hovering over or tapping on the element). Tooltips typically appear as small text boxes or pop-up messages near the UI element they are associated with. Tooltips are typically triggered by user actions and are meant to clarify or explain the functionality of UI elements. Funnel Conversions and Retention
Coach Marks Coach marks are flashing indicators attached to a UI element. A well placed contextual coachmark strongly influence your users towards conversion. Coach marks often involve highlighting specific UI elements with visual cues like arrows, circles, or overlays, along with explanatory text. Coach marks are hard to miss, hence users interact with them. App engagement
Walkthroughs Walkthroughs are used to guide users through an app when they first use it or when they encounter new features or changes in the user interface. They aim to familiarize users with the app's functionality and educate them on how to use it effectively. Walkthroughs typically involve a series of screens or overlays that provide step-by-step instructions. These instructions may include text, images, arrows, and highlights to direct the user's attention. Walkthroughs typically involve a series of screens or overlays that provide step-by-step instructions. These instructions may include text, images, arrows, and highlights to direct the user's attention. Onboarding and Activation
In-App Messages In-app messages are used to communicate information, updates, promotions, or announcements to users within the app. They serve as a means of direct communication between the app and the user. In-app messages can take various forms, such as banners, pop-ups, or notifications. They typically include text and may also feature images or buttons for user interaction. In-app messages can be interactive, depending on their content. For example, a message might contain a button for the user to click, leading to a specific action like making a purchase or reading a promotional offer. Some messages may be non-interactive and only meant for informational purposes. Conversions and Revenue
PIP Videos PiP explainer videos are used to provide additional context or information within an app or website without interrupting the user's current activity. They allow users to watch a video while continuing to interact with the app's main content. PiP videos appear as a smaller, movable video player or window overlaid on top of the primary app interface. They typically contain audio and video content, such as instructional videos, demonstrations, or informational clips. Users can typically interact with PiP videos by dragging, resizing, or closing the video player. The videos themselves are usually passive and play automatically or when the user clicks on them. App Engagement, Onboarding and Activation

How Badges can Help Build Better Products

New Feature Discovery

Features are built by development teams intensively after product managers do full research on the needs of the app. Indeed a lot of resources are invested. So the next task is to market the feature. Not just outside but inside the app as well.

Announcing a feature through flashy banners obstructs user flows. Badges are the best form of in-app nudges to lead users to discover new features. Apps use badges all the time to create awareness about their new features.

Badges are non-intrusive yet tend to increase feature discovery rates by more than 20%.

To Keep or to Kill a Feature

Badges help in improving the discoverability of a feature. Once a user discovers the feature, it’s easier to understand if the feature is leading to any increase in the key KPIs that it is aimed to improve.

By using a product analytics platform product teams can establish a correlation between the number of users who discovered the feature, to the baseline metrics of the impacted KPI. This enables them to quickly understand if the feature is really working in the intended fashion.

The decision to keep or kill a feature early on is now in the hands of product managers.

What usually takes long cycles to understand, can be done quickly by implementing the usage of badges for discovering features. Iterate faster and build better products.

Conclusion

In this article, we have created a foundation as to why badges are important for product and marketing teams. With this understanding in place, let’s dive into some real-world examples of successful implementations of badges from leading companies.

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