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Gamifying Swarm’s reputation system

Designed a gamified experience for Swarm's reputation system to encourage peer-to-peer exchanges of value within the community by incentivizing their engagements.

UX Designer

UI Designer

Game Designer


UX Researcher

UX Copywriter


Launched MVP


1 Week
14 Feb 2022 – 19 Feb 2022



Client Project for my UX Design & Research course in UX+ University


Kate Tacastacas
designer, Researcher

Ryan Benedict Vistan
designer, Researcher

Marga Hernandez
designer, Researcher

Matthew Cruz
designer, Researcher


Swarm is the result of a one-week design sprint conducted remotely by UX+ University students. We were tasked with designing a gamified experience for Swarm’s reputation system to encourage peer-to-peer exchanges of value within the community by incentivizing their engagements. I was the designer and researcher for this client project. Our goal was to generate ideas for Swarm’s reputation system and create a north star vision artifact of how people can earn Pollen through the community. We delivered the final solution to stakeholders on time and were able to help Swarm launch their rewards system.

view prototype


Swarm is a trust-based community that connects builders to high-value projects. It builds a network of founders, designers, software engineers, product managers, and no-coders that teams up, build amazing things, and accomplish things beyond themselves.

They are community-driven visionaries who don’t accept the old systems. And they’re building the institutions, networks, and frameworks to give birth to a new way of work.

The future is peer-to-peer.


How might we incentivize peer-to-peer exchanges of value? How can Swarm members earn reputation through community?

The goal of this design sprint project is to generate ideas for Swarm’s reputation system and create a north star vision artifact of how people can earn Pollen through community.


In the future, behaviors like posting swarms, getting upvoted for thoughtful replies, and attending events can earn you Pollen — Swarm’s reputation currency.

The more you have, the more trustworthy you are. The Pollen count signals to other members one’s level of expertise.

Surface, discover, and connect people. But, how do you earn more aside from doing platform-related activities? The best way is to get Pollen from your peers. Nothing is more reliable than earning reputation from the community.



“In any system, because you provide ways to do things or provide possible affordances within the system, the tendency is people will exploit it.” – Alexis Collado

Swarm Sprint Goal
Swarm Sprint Questions

The main goal of this sprint project is to encourage peer-to-peer exchanges of value within the community by incentivizing their engagements.


Before we came up with a feature, we defined the core problem first. In particular, we have examined how freelancers assess their credibility and which factors affect their credibility judgements. At least among freelancers who interchangeably use the words trust and expertise while discussing credibility.

Swarm Design Solution 5
Swarm Design Solution 2

With these insights, the team decided that the value of trust and expertise, it has its own individual measurement. Which led into a feature separation but both are still determinant of credibility.

That’s when the team used the pollen as symbol of trust and community engagement. And the second one is the Amber which symbolizes expertise and job reputation.

Swarm Design Solution 3
Swarm Design Solution 4


The wireframes showcase how we envisioned Swarm’s reputation system.


Your profile is displayed upfront so that the user can quickly see their spending pollen and amber. The top swarmers are displayed in the first iteration. The forum posts were redesigned so that users can give pollen to other swarmers.


The current profile page in Swarm was redesigned to showcase a user’s activity in the Swarm platform.

The “My Reputation” tab showcases your pollen distribution and the total number of pollen and amber you currently have.

Swarm Home & Reputation

The Profile tab shows your recent posts on the platform. Then the Activity tab shows the recent activity you’ve done on the platform (such as upvoting, commenting, etc).

Swarm Profile


After creating the wireframes, our team quickly made the first high-fidelity mockups by following Swarm’s existing visual design style guide. Since we only had five days to do the design sprint, we had to prioritise what to implement on the prototype:

  • Encouraging platform engagement through Pollen
  • Ensuring Swarmer credibility through Amber
  • Showcasing Swarmer milestones through Swards

Pollens are a way to show your engagement in the community. The more pollens you have, the more trustworthy you are.

You can earn pollens from your fellow Swarmers by engaging and sharing your valuable thoughts in the Forum. You can post content or write a comment and if a Swarmer likes your thoughts and ideas, they can give you pollen!

Swarm - Pollen #1
Swarm - Pollen #2

The pollen quality a Swarmer can give and receive depends on their Swarm tier. The higher the pollen tier you have, the more you’ll be recognized by other Swarmers!

You can share your appreciation as well by giving out pollen to other Swarmers! 100 Pollen will be given to you weekly and you can spend this by giving out Pollen to Swarmers who posted great content and those who commented.

Swarm - Amber #1
Swarm - Amber #2

Ensuring Swarmer credibility through Amber. You can earn Amber by doing Projects at the Bzzaar. Ambers are exclusive tokens earned from successful client work. The more the Builders and Clients are satisfied with the project outcome, the more Amber is distributed.

Swarm - Swards #1
Swarm - Swards #2

Showcase Swarmer milestones through Swards. These are similar to awards that you can earn and it shows as a badge in your profile page.

Swarm - My Reputation
Swarm - Pollen Distribution

You can view your pollen allocation by clicking on the button from the homepage or going to your profile page and clicking the Reputation tab. There you can easily see your pollen distribution and the total number of pollen and amber you currently have.

Swarm - Bazzar Project
Swarm - Client Reviews

In your profile page inside the Projects tab, you can easily view all the projects you have completed, client reviews, and the amount of amber you received from the client.


We ran remote moderated usability tests with 4 freelancers to see if they understand the Pollen and Amber Reputation System.

To our immense relief, they liked that the reputation system was separated into two features: Pollen for community engagement and Amber for earning a reputation as a Swarm builder.

Swarm - Feedback 1
Swarm - Feedback 2

However, most of the users got confused by the Pollen Quality having tiers and thought that all Swarmies should be equal and have the same value of Pollen.

After a builder completes a project at Swarm, they would have to fill up a Project Evaluation Form. On this page, users expected a way to personalize the review and found the questions in the form close-ended.

Swarm - Feedback 3


Going back to the previous sprint questions, we were able to find out that:

  • The current design solution was not able to effectively provide incentives for referrals.
  • Showcasing your expertise in a project, delivering quality work output, and engaging in the community are some ways of showing your credibility.
  • Gamifying the experience of vetting peer-to-peer makes builder’s interaction fun and engaging.


Redesign Pollen utility. Design Pollen to allow Swarmers to vet other Swarmers’ skills and competencies.

Ideate more on different ways to encourage Swarmers to display their best works. Profile visitors define credibility based on work output quality and ethic.

Conduct more tests to make better iterations. Include senior builders to effectively ideate on cohesive solutions.

Swarm - Responding to feedback #1
Swarm - Responding to feedback #2

Given our feedback from user testing, we thought of different assumptions of what we might want to try in the next design sprint.

First, we want to remove the pollen tiers and add the vetting of the skill as a feature of the pollen. If I collapsed the card, I get to see who backed me up with the skill that I have. For example, Juan Dela Cruz backed me with 30 pollen and the progress bar shows me how much people trust me with this skill.

Another assumption that we want to try also is the reputation. We have two types of pollen called a trust pollen and skill pollen. Trust pollen is mainly used for backing or recommending valuable platform engagements. Whereas skill pollen is mainly used for vetting builder’s hard skills to show to clients and gain attention for referrals.

Swarm - Client Feedback #1
Swarm - Client Feedback #2
view prototype


This was my first time doing this kind of project and it was fun to design a gamified experience for Swarmies. The tight deadline of the design sprint pushed us to prioritise and focus on what features to design. Even though we were not able to polish our design, we had fun doing the sprint. This was my second time doing a design sprint and it was exciting doing this again!

One of the important things I learned during this project is to simplify your design for users. Designing a reputation system was complex but if we iterate and do more usability tests, we can flesh out and polish our designs.

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