Ingredients for successful badges: evidence from a field experiment in bike commuting

Zachary J. Sheffler, De Liu, Shawn P. Curley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Despite the popularity of badges in gamification applications, there is a lack of research on how to design badges to increase target behaviour. Motivated by this gap, we conduct a large-scale field experiment in a commuting-by-bicycle programme to explore efficacies of different badge designs in motivating ridership. We systematically vary the rewards, signifiers, and completion logic components of badges. We find adding an option for sharing a badge on Facebook, as a reward for badge attainment, increases ridership. Changing the badge signifier from a self-interested frame to a pro-environmental frame does not make a difference. Changing completion logic from a fixed to a relative goal increases ridership only among frequent riders. These findings have direct implications for gamification design and provide useful directions for research into the motivations behind the design elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-703
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Operational Research Society 2020.


  • Gamification
  • Paul Benjamin Lowry, Stacie Petter and Jan Marco Leimeister
  • badge design
  • pro-environmental framing
  • relative goal
  • wellness


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