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Designing Simbi Badges

(9 seconds) A learner earns a Badge on Simbi.
Problem Statement

How do we better reward young readers for improving their reading habits?

As the digital world becomes an important part of children’s lives, they expect more interactive learning experiences.

Interviews with learners and teachers revealed a need for a more gamified reading experience in reading apps like Simbi.


My role

I worked on research, project strategy and UX


Team info

2 designers, 1 illustrator, 1 project manager, dev team



Nov 2022

Research and insights

We discovered ideas through research interviews and surveys over the course of a year.

We looked for ways to enrich a child’s reading experience through gamification and rewards. Some ideas we landed on included:


Rewards for completing certain series’ of books


Rewards for reading a number of days in a week


Daily reading timers

Proposed solution

Readers earn Simbi Badges for improving on certain reading achievements.

Learners earned Badges in with animated popups celebrating their achievement.
Several rewards – and progress –
are now trackable on one shiny new Badge Explorer page.
Most badges can be levelled up. This gives readers increasingly difficult challenges to complete as they make progress.
Design Principles

Recurring Rewards

Badges are Recurring Rewards, a concept introduced by Chelsea Howe in their GDC talk ‘The Design of Time’.

Learners can make progress on some badges on a day-to-day basis, like the (streak) badge.

Other badges required more time to progress, like (the series ones)

This means readers are rewarded for coming back to Simbi over time, and are likely to stay longer.

Chelsea Howe’s talk describes how game players can be rewarded at frequencies creating a long-term relationship with the game.

A natural progression to self-motivated reading

As readers level up their badges, they face increasingly difficult challenges.

This rewards new users frequently, while encouraging experienced readers to build up self-motivation to read through less frequent rewards.

Exploration and TEsting

We ideated many gamification concepts, and combined them to make Badges.

Quests to Badges
Book Series Challenges
Explorer Wireframes
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Quests to Badges
Quests to Badges
Book Series Challenges
Book Series Challenges
Explorer Wireframes
Explorer Wireframes
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User Flows

We created unique user flows for each badge, tailored to their specific challenges.

The basic user flow for all badges. Each badge needs a separate user flow, based on what challenges the learner has to overcome.


A major issue that came up during testing was that learners had trouble understanding the progress they’d made within a single badge.

Badge info cards in the main Badge Explorer view didn’t tell learners enough about their progress.
A new info screen showed what the learner had achieved with their current badge level and what to do to reach the next level.

The Badge system rewards users for their progress with collectible badges that can be tracked on a Badge Explorer.

We started with a need for rewards for reading progress.

The design process involved:

research through user interviews

prototyping multiple ideas for gamified reading

designing a badge system

planning the rate at which a user earns badges

adding extra screens to address user needs after user testing.

A large part of the appeal of badges comes from the visually striking Badge illustrations created by our illustrator.

The value of UX design is in creating a user-friendly experience for learners.

Learners can see invitations to earn badges at various points of interaction with Simbi, and visualize how much progress they’ve made.

This helps boost user engagement and motivates them to read more often.

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