First Round of Planned Backpack UX Improvements

The Mozilla Summer Code Party kicks off at the end of June, most of the work on Thimble (the tool the Open Badges developers were working on during our hiatus from Badge development) is done, so we’re getting ready to get back to Badge development. We’re planning a 2 week sprint around UX improvements in the backpack, this post is a brief explanation of what we’re thinking, along with some wireframes our trusty UX squad ginned up.

The bulk of what we’ll work on this round is improving the badge acceptance workflow.

Your first badge

An area that we’ve had a lot of concern about is the first badge experience, accepting a badge on a site, then pushing it to your backpack, creating the backpack, creating a Persona account, accepting the badge…it’s a lot of steps, plus most of it happens in a lightboxed iFrame modal, which seemed like a good idea, but actually confuses people.

The first big change is to move the dialogue out of a modal, and into its own page. When you choose to push a badge you’ve earned on an issuer site to your backpack, the first dialog is still a lightboxed modal,

Once the user chooses to create a backpack (remember this is their first badge), the next dialog happens in a new window on the backpack site,

There’s some variations to work out, we’ve talked about pushing the first badge to a generic backpack without a user account associated with it, then letting the user know it’s temporary until they create a Persona account, but there’s potential issues there we’re not sure about. Erik, the designer of the above workflow, is going to join the team in a more direct way for this sprint, helping smooth over any design issues that come up as we start implementing.

Next Steps

Two big events are happening in the badging world this weekend, The Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire and the MOUSE Emoti-con festival. Badges are going to be issued at both events, and we’re going to get a bunch of first hand reports on the Backpack from the events. Anya, the second member of the crack UX squad, is planning on compiling learning from both events into more UX tasks we can tackle in a future sprint.

I’ll be distributing this post to the Open Badges mailing list for comment.


  • http://www.stretchyboy.co.uk/ Martyn Eggleton

    Sounds good.
    ‘pushing the first badge to a generic backpack without a user account associated with it’ just smells wrong to me but not sure why (feels like adding extra steps and or ecurity / privacy issues)

  • Guest

    It would be nice if you started by defining some of your terms, just in a short intro sentence.  “A backpack is an X that Y so you can Z.” Something like that. (Not just you .. I’d like to see more of that in all Planet Mozilla posts.)  Is a backpack just about badges, or is this something larger?  Anyway, nice article.

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