How gamification helps horticultural association grow

  • Design systems
  • User experience design
  • Microservices
  • Application Architecture


Koninklijke Vereniging van Hoveniers en Groenvoorzieners (VHG) is a trade association for entrepreneurs in green space such as gardeners, landscapers, interior landscapers, roof and facade landscapers and tree specialists. Some 1,100 companies are affiliated with VHG. Small, large, with or without staff. For more than 100 years they have been the advocate and source of questions for green entrepreneurs in the Netherlands.


The VHG's ambition is to support its members in keeping knowledge about plants accurate. The VHG concluded from research that knowledge about plants among its members and prospective landscapers and gardeners is not kept up-to-date.

  • Industry Green


'The VHG's current learning environment does not have sufficient opportunities to encourage novice, assistant, skilled and advanced landscapers and gardeners to learn more about plants every day'

Gaining knowledge through the Plant Knowledge Trainer

  • 01 Learning every day through #plantknowledgestreak¬†

    The #plantknowledgestreak is a way to motivate yourself to learn something new about plants every day. By using the Plant Knowledge Trainer daily and answering questions correctly, you can build your Plant Knowledge Streak. On day 1 you will receive 1 point, on day 2 you will receive 2 points and so on. You will develop a daily learning routine and increase your plant knowledge step by step.

  • 02 Earn a badge and move to the next level

    In the Plant Knowledge Trainer, you will earn badges and advance to the next level by increasing your knowledge about plants. The more questions you answer correctly and the more information you gather about different plants, the higher your level and the more badges you can earn. These badges indicate that you have gained certain skills or knowledge and can serve as recognition of your achievements. They can also motivate you to keep challenging yourself and further develop your knowledge.

  • 03 Play leagues against your classmates or colleague

    In Plant Knowledge Trainer, you can play competitions against your classmates or peers to test and compare your plant knowledge. By participating in a competition, you can see how you are performing against others while having fun learning about plants. For example, you can start a competition to see who scores the most points in a given time period or who earns the most badges. By playing the competitions, you motivate each other. 

The question

Just imagine: as a (future) green professional gathering and maintaining knowledge about hundreds of thousands of plants and trees. Information about care, maintenance, recognition, but also about a safe working environment. How do you motivate and inspire gardeners, landscapers, interior designers and tree specialists to bring their knowledge up to date? That was the challenge of the VHG, the Royal Association of Gardeners and Greenkeepers. Through strategic sessions together with the VHG team, we determined all possible scenarios of the phases of the customer journey by means of service blueprints. Service blueprints are visual tools that map the user experience and interactions in a service environment. They show customer interactions, frontstage and backstage activities, and supporting systems. By using these blueprints, you ensure that you create a good overview of what needs to be done at both the backend and frontend.

What is a Member Data Platform?

Learn more

Collaborating on innovation

Strategy, design & technology

At BTTR, strategy, creation and technology are inseparable. That is why from the very beginning we work with multidisciplinary teams. A unique mix of thinkers and doers working on the case in all phases of the process.

  • 01 Strategy

    Make it fun! That's the key to the final concept: the Plant Knowledge Trainer. Professionals in landscaping or people in training like to work with their hands, are doers, "real people." We therefore searched for a solution that encourages action, is competitive, works intuitively, is accessible, but above all is educational in its carpet pad: the Plant Knowledge Trainer. A learning environment in which landscapers and greenkeepers get to work daily, playfully via gamification, adding new knowledge to their "green library."

  • 02 Design

    At BTTR, we shape with one goal: to turn an idea into a user experience that fits the strategy. The Plant Knowledge Trainer is a clear, accessible and truly intuitive learning environment. The large amount of data (knowledge elements) is categorized into questions about plant species, substrate, safety (working in the field) and care, among others.

  • 03 Technology

    What really sets the Plant Knowledge Trainer apart is the technology behind it: the Member Data Platform. The program is ideally suited for organizations with members who are ready for the next step: away from outdated, digital platforms and systems with complex maintenance and poor user experience.

    The Member Data Platform is an advanced and reliable solution that allows you to effortlessly manage all your IT systems in one place, without the hassle of fragmentation and inaccessible user experiences, significantly simplifying your IT management and creating valuable space for innovation.

Three front-end environments

At the plant knowledge trainer, we developed three different front-end environments (progressive web apps) from the MACH architecture.

One environment is for the VHG, which can manage questions and topics for all organizations. Another environment is for companies and organizations (groups). They have the ability to manage their own group and create competitions. They can also see the results of the competitions themselves.

The third environment is the Plant Knowledge Trainer App in which a landscaper or greenkeeper can enhance their knowledge. To allow students to log in easily, an SSO (Single Sign-On) with the education Moodle learning environment was created. SSO ensures that you can login with your existing login credentials and do not need separate login credentials for the Plant Knowledge Trainer.

Challenge: How do we future-proof the system for the VHG?
Solution: The Member Data Platform provides future-proofing, there is flexibility to roll out applications across other solutions and applications. With a traditional CMS, the data is integrated into a system and the CMS database can be accessed through the front-end. You can't do that with a headless CMS.

An intuitive learning environment through UX research and UX writing?

Read here how

Digital innovation for tomorrow's world


Thijs van Dijk


+31 318 760 960