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The company I work for has two public sites; one is just our main WWW site and the other is a site dedicated to our members. I'm a developer there and I'm working on an achievement system for our members. I'm also a video gamer.

A few of us are adamant we brand our achievement system for what it is - "Achievements". We feel it would get better recognition to borrow directly from what seems to work. However, the one that will ultimately make the decision on what it will be called doesn't like the term "Achievement". I'm not sure why.

A few suggestions I've heard thrown around (in our company) are:

  • Rewards
  • Trophies
  • Medals
  • Badges

Personally, I'm not a fan of any of them. "Rewards" sounds too much like a credit card term. The rest sound too tangible and I feel it conflicts/constrains with the art direction. That is, if we go with "Trophies", it seems like every graphic should be of a trophy with a picture on embossed on/embedded in it.

Are there any studies that show which terms users respond to most positively? Am I being too biased because I play video games? Do you have any other suggestions for terms that could work?

UPDATE: I've heard rumblings that we might want to incorporate our brand into the name of it. I don't really want to reveal who I work for.. the proposal given was [CompanyName] Stamps. I immediately thought Tramp Stamp when I heard it. Honestly, I can't think of anything that sounds good with that constraint. Also, it seems redundant. When I talk to friends about achievements I earned in video games, I refer to the proper noun to differentiate anyway. For example, "I earned achievement X in Team Fortress 2." or "I got the Defense Grid achievement where you have to..."

So far, "badges" is probably my preferred alternative to "achievements" but, I was hoping for more input.

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What behavior(s) are you trying to encourage? How do participants see themselves? –  Alex Feinman Aug 2 '11 at 12:59
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What is your service about and/or what does your userbase look like? I think that info should be the deciding factor. It sounds like your boss sees that and wants you to pick a better name. –  jonshariat Aug 2 '11 at 15:39
    
Behaviors - Increase retention and engagement, enforce healthy habits by logging, know we'll have high(er) abandonment without such a system; Participants are likely 25-54 years old, I'm told "women" but I have no metric to back that up, somewhat new to the online space but likely Facebook users. We wish to integrate our Achievements with Facebook as well. Our service is the fitness industry. Our userbase is gym members. It's not my boss deciding this. I'm a concerned software developer. –  Josh Aug 4 '11 at 17:57
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3 Answers 3

Personally I think the badges system (as used here on SE) is good. Short and to the point, it labels an achievement but does not take itself too seriously - which is good in my opinion as it sounds like this has a potential to get a little 'dry'. A little injection of fun and friendly competitive team spirit might be called for.

Known worldwide and grown up with by people of all ages, from girl guides, scouts, schools and used in social applications like FourSquare, badges are a way to collect achievements in all walks of life.

Badges would not constrain the art direction as it's about as open ended as it can be!

New badges can be added easily, their symbology can indicate effort involved - you can obviously take the metaphor as far as you like...

On the other suggestions: Rewards is wrong (what is the reward exactly) - Awards is probably closer. Trophies - hmmm no. Medals - a bit stiff. Achievements - rather dry. Attainments - not adaptable enough. Accomplishments - a bit long and not too catchy.

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Also a term recently used by google news –  Roger Attrill Aug 5 '11 at 8:17
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How about "Accomplishments" or "Success"? I don't see anything wrong with achievements but I guess a better understanding of how your site works and what the achievements are based might help.

On this site we use "Reputation" as the point system for rewarding good questions and answers. That might work for you as well depending on how your site works.

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Thanks for the suggestions -- accomplishments is kinda a mouthful. The marketing stakeholder I work with didn't like it. "Success" sounded funny to both of us. We aren't planning on having a point system -- so Reputation doesn't really work. –  Josh Aug 4 '11 at 18:06
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However, the one that will ultimately make the decision on what it will be called doesn't like the term "Achievement". I'm not sure why.

Ask them. It could be for any number of reasons, but I'm guessing that they think it's to "gamey".

If you have that discussion then it might lead onto a more mutually acceptable name. I'm not sure what could be more a professional term.

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I've since learned they view it as too bland. I've told the marketing stakeholder about this post. I suggested we poll our members to see what they want it to be called.. but, we can't for other business reasons. So, instead.. they polled the company. No idea what the results are yet. –  Josh Aug 4 '11 at 22:49
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