Last week Paul Gibbs uploaded an updated version of his BuddyPress Achievements plugin to the wordpress.org site. He is the author of two BuddyPress plugins, both aimed at enhancing the user experience of the platform. His Welcome Pack plugin has been downloaded over 3,000 times and the Achievements plugin is well on its way to becoming an important enhancement to any BuddyPress installation.
Why do we like the Achievements Plugin?
1. The plugin is inspired by a wildly successful user interaction model.
The BuddyPress Achievements plugin was inspired by the World of Warcraft Achievements System, which houses hundreds of self-contained goals aimed at motivating goal-oriented users to interact more with the program. While these achievements are purely cosmetic enhancements to a user’s profile, their power to motivate users is an undeniable phenomenon. It taps into users’ basic drive for earning and accomplishment.
2. The achievements interface is simple to modify and configure.
The dashboard options for the plugin can be easily disabled or modified, as you can see in the screenshot. You can edit name of the achievement, the description and the amount of points the user receives for it. There’s even a one-click option for retroactively awarding any achievements that were accomplished before you installed the plugin! On the front end the user will have achievements added to the profile menu. This page includes a timeline of which achievements they’ve earned, separated by category, as well as a progress bar for an overall view.
3. More improvements are on the way.
Through a quick Twitter interview, I was able to find out that the developer has plans to improve the plugin’s capabilities in future releases. Improvements will be released incrementally and we may see some as soon as February. Paul Gibbs plans to include better development docs, administrative options to create new achievements, special achievements granted only by admins (ie. “Member of the Month”), and a forum and poll for support so that people can offer feedback and vote on which features they want the most. You can see why we’re very excited about the future of this plugin. One addition I would be thrilled to see the option to add unique individual badges for each achievement that could be displayed in an awards section.
Installation is simple. You can use WPMU’s plugins >> Add New menu to install. Activate it and then visit the Achievements top level menu to configure the plugin.
Download the BuddyPress Achievements Plugin here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/achievements/