Widgets, Badges, same thing…or not?

So what is all this talk about “widgets” and “badges”?  I am a Mac owner, so when I think of “widget” I think of those little apps I can download to my computer – but when I hear “badges” I think of the boy scouts.  So what exactly are widgets and badges? and are they the same or different?

According to Daniel Nations, of About.com,

“A widget is a small program that you can easily put on your website, blog, or personalized start page.  A common example of a widget that most of us run across almost every day are those Google advertisements.  These ads are produced by placing a small piece of code on the web page.  The hard part — choosing an advertisement that matches the content and displaying that ad — is done by Google.

But web widgets aren’t limited to advertisements.  A widget can be anything from a voting poll to a weather forecast to a list of current headlines to a crossword puzzle.  You can utilize them in your blog to provide an interactive experience for your readers, or you can place them on your personalized start page to get at information you want to see on a regular basis.”

Nations also explains How to use a widget:

“If you read blogs, you have probably run across a lot of widgets without even knowing it.  Have you ever seen a “bookmark this with del.icio.us” link under a blog entry?  That’s a web widget.  Or, you might have seen a “Digg it” button.  That’s another web widget.

If you write on your own blog, web widgets can be used to provide additional functionality.  For example, Feedburner is a website that allows people to sign up for your RSS feed.  They provide a widget that you can put on your blog to help people sign up.  YouTube also provides a widget, allowing you to make a playlist of your favorite videos.   And these are just two among many widgets that can be used in conjunction with your blog.

But widgets aren’t just for personal use.  Businesses also use widgets to enhance their websites.  Widgets can be used to track visitors to the website and provide information on how the visitor found the website.   They can also be used to provide syndicated content, such as relevant content from the Associated Press, or information like stock quotes.”

Moving on to badges…

 A web badge is a picture that is embedded into a website that takes you to another site when clicked.  The most commonly seen badges are those for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.  The little icons allow instant access to an organizations or companies facebook or twitter pages.

So, as you can see, widgets are more interactive items, and badges are basically just links with a picture.


3 thoughts on “Widgets, Badges, same thing…or not?

  1. Thanks for the explanation on the differences between the two. I hear these words used pretty comonly, but couldn’t explain what they are, or the differences. I think both widgets and badges are a great addition to blogs, since they make blogging and interacting with other websites a lot easier.

    P.S. Long live the king… 😉

  2. This is horrible… but I honestly didn’t realize there was a difference before this T.O.W. I knew what badges are, and I knew what widgets are, but I honestly thought that they were basically the same thing. I helped to research this because it made me think of things that I probably never would have done otherwise. Like put a “coming soon” badge on the website and having people click for more info. Or showing that the website host is eco-friendly. Simple things like that can make a website more fun.

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