Survey response, part 3

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Following on from part one and part two of my responses to your comments, here is the third, and final installment:

BrickLists

These didn’t get many mentions, surprisingly, but one thing that was said is that it’s difficult to find the good lists among all the bad ones. I have a few ideas about how to surface the useful and interesting ones and I plan to make improvements in the New Year.

Parts lists

I'd really like to add set inventories to Brickset and I have attempted to negotiate the use of data from other sites but so far have not been able to reach agreement. So, I have plans to implement them myself. More details to follow...

Minifig galleries need updating

I haven’t updated the galleries with photos of second-half of 2011 minifigs yet, but I will do, when I find the time.

Prices of sets in other currencies

Brickset shows official prices from LEGO.com for sets released after 2007 in US$, CA$ and GBP. It also has UK prices of most sets released since 2000, and US prices for some sets prior to 2007. The database can now hold prices in other currencies and a while ago someone sent me data in Euros that I will get imported soon. I’m happy to load data for other currencies, so get in touch if you can provide it.

Set relationships

Often other sets are mentioned in set notes ‘Same as set xxxx’ or ‘Contains sets xxx, yyy, zzz’ but they are not linked in any way. It would be much better if there was a means of linking related sets together, of specifying relationships between them.

This is something that should have been implemented ages ago, so I will look to do it soon.

Mobile site

It was noted that the mobile site lacks some of the features of the main site. The aim of the mobile site was to provide basic functions that loaded quickly for use on the move, but it appears that many people use it as their primary means of accessing Brickset, which surprised me slightly, so maybe there is a case for adding more features to it.

Set descriptions

A couple of you noticed that the shop.LEGO.com set descriptions have disappeared from the set details pages. This is actually due to a bug at LEGO.com introduced when the shop changed recently. I have reported it and it’ll be fixed, eventually…

Various ideas for enhancements:

Multiple ‘Own’ lists – this might be possible, I’ll give it some thought.

Link to rebrickable.com – I’m already working with the site owner on this and will most likely get something launched in the New Year.

Link to mobile site on main site home page is annoying – this has now been removed.

Rate sets but not review them – I attempted to code this a while ago but had problems. Maybe I’ll revisit it.

Enable country selection, so you can see links and prices for other countries – done already!

Download entire database – this can be done already; it’s just not linked to from anywhere. I will make it available soon.

Member-member messaging – Personally I don’t see the need for this since we already have a means of contacting members if they want to be contacted, using email. I know several youngsters here can't use email for reasons I haven't fathomed out yet (don't you all have BlackBerrys these days?) but they are in a very small minority and coding something just to get round this issue probably isn't worth it.

My Friends – The site’s experiment in social networking has not been enhanced since it was originally implemented but there is a lot more that could be done with it and several good suggestions were made. If time permits I will work on some of them next year.

Comments on reviews/ask a question – I liked this idea, the ability to ask the reviewer a question about their review or the set so I will give it some thought.

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So, that just about summarises the main themes in the survey responses. If you think I've missed something, let me know in the comments. You'll notice that after most of the suggestions I say 'I'll do it in the New Year' and that's because it doesn't make sense to make major changes during the site's busiest period (see how traffic is ramping up in the stats) but between now and then I'll be thinking about the suggestions in more detail.

So that just leaves me to thank everyone who completed the survey for doing so. As you can see it's given me a lot to think about!

38 comments on this article

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By in Philippines,

Regarding the last item, how will the reviewer know that he has received a question? :-)

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By in Germany,

"Rebrickable.com"?! *Searches* Yeppers. Now THAT'S an interesting site. BTW, not EVERYONE has Blackberries. :P I don't, for example. :P

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By in Hong Kong,

Really appreciate your effort on continual improvement on the site. The various enhancements in the recent year is really a great success and Brickset has won a higher priority from me among other LEGO related website. Brickset has become much more useful and informative in the recent year as compared to when I first visited in 2008. Thanks a lot!

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By in Belgium,

WRT "Prices of sets in other currencies": I've just discovered a bunch of older catalogs (late 1990s/early 2000s) for Belgium, if those can be of any help.

Considering that you're planning on adding "parts lists": maybe it would be interesting to point out if a set has a particularly rare part?

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By in United States,

Would love to see parts list....I'm always flipping back and forth between here and bricklink for that reason.

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By in United States,

^ Am I missing something? Isn't this there already? When I pull up any of my sets in brickset and scroll to the tabs section, there is a "Parts" tab that shows all the parts in the set (sortable by Quantity, Part, Color, etc).

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By in Netherlands,

emilewski, no I don't have that. Are you kidding us or are you beta-testing a new feature or something?

Parts-list is my number one wish for a feature. I really like the way rebrickable.com does the parts listing. Nice and uniform. Not all different pictures by different people.

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By in Germany,

@darnolds: Yes, he has "Enhanced functionality", which means he gets to Beta-test stuff. :P

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By in United States,

I think an entire list of every single lego piece would be a really nice addition. But I could imagine how difficult that would be.

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By in United States,

This is why we can't have email:

Spastic parents.

You forgot to mention the website's really old look (it looks like it was from 199x).

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By in United States,

I think the ability to comment on reviews would be a great idea for the reviewer to get feedback and also for the community to highlight good reviews. I'd love to see that implemented!

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By in Canada,

I hope you have people helping you do all this.

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By in United States,

I think there could be two versions of Brickset for mobile devices. The current, quickly loading one (for slower/smaller devices), and one with more features (for faster/bigger devices). People could switch between the two mobile modes as needed.

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By in United States,

please, oh please let us rate sets without writing a review.

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By in United States,

A few dozen people have access to a parts list derived from BrickLink but as I was never able to reach agreement with their community for displaying them here I am not able to make it available to everyone. That's one reason for coming up with something here, completely independently of BrickLink and Peeron.

@padinc, "You forgot to mention the website's really old look (it looks like it was from 199x)." I think you're being a little harsh there. I agree it needs a lick of paint, but a lot of people like it as it is and 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it, as they say. I covered this in part 2 of my comments.

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By in United Kingdom,

Im all for some kind of complete part list that can be used along with the set lists or independently to each other.
Huw, you have set yourself an enomous task and I take my hat off to you for what your doing and, indeed, for what you have already achieved. Well done!!

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By in United Kingdom,

^ the parts lists on Peeron & Bricklink came from their user communities submitting inventories, rather than being the work of the staff. Guess what, we'll probably be looking to you guys to help in some capacity ...

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By in United States,

Really nice updates Huw and Brickset team! (Yes, Huwbot too :P )
Everyone having Blackberries? I don't have a Blackberry or Email. Which is why coughcoughwewantedtousetheforumcoughcough... And not to nag, but I and others would really appreciate a post about the legal reasons of under 16's using the forum. I don't like the rule, but at least I can not be upset about it.
Thanks once again to all who make this site what it is: The best Lego site to date (Yes, better then Lego.com even!)

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By in United States,

This site does NOT look like it is from the 1990's! This site has a very modern style to it, much like what http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/ is now with the rounded edges and such.

If you want to see an ancient-looking site, here you go (ignore the actual content, it's irrelevent): http://graceproducts.com/ :P

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By in United States,

How about "loose sets"? you have a loose minifigs function, but not a loose set function. I know lots of people have mulitple sets, but not the minifigures to go with them. i.e. loose republic gunship/at-te, but not the minifigs.

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By in Canada,

Huw, if you have multiple own lists, will the site total the amount of total sets that you as a member? For example my brother and I could have our own lists. I think that a part inventory is a great idea.

I don't own any kind of cell phone/ipod, nor do I have facebook. That's a popular stereotype.

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By in Australia,

A possibility with the mobile site: perhaps its present state remains as the default, and if possible you could set up an option to activate further functionality more in line with the main site for those who choose to use it? This way, you're still covering the typical mobile-browsing base of simplicity and relative ease-of-loading by default, but the option to extend its functionality is there for those who want it.

Just a thought; no idea if it's actually doable. All the same, the very fact that you're intending to address pretty much everything during the New Year period is really impressive, and is a nice demonstration of just how much effort you put into maintaining this thing.

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By in United States,

The only problem with the mobile site, IMO, is the lack of the ability to review sets. And going on the regular site via mobile device and trying to review is a pain in the neck plus I don't even think it works.

And don't just do the "rate without review" thing and stick it on the mobile site without it's counterpart. :P

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By in United States,

I have no problems with the site. I just appreciate what you do here at brickset! Thanks for keeping it free for all of us! Hat's off to you!

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By in Netherlands,

@padinc, I'm curious what your opinion is about the Bricklink design, if you think that this looks dated.

I think Bricksets design is clean and usable. It's a content centered site and design shouldn't stand in the way of the content.

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By in United States,

And Huw, your dedication and attention to improving an already awesome website are truly appreciated out here. I've mentioned your website to strangers in the aisle of Toys R Us, frustrating and trying to explain to their 7-year-olds why they can NEVER EVER get that other kind of Darth Maul that their friend Michael has, because it isn't made any more. They are flabbergasted and overjoyed that they can check out sets, get information, get links to other Lego sites, and figure out what's going on in the wider world of Legos. You're providing a real service to us all.

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By in Australia,

Brickset has some cool features Rebrickable doesn't have, and Rebrickable has some cool features Brickset doesn't have. I need them both in one!

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By in United States,

Hi Huw,

Just a couple comments/questions for you:

As a nerdy and compulsive person (who also has a lot of unopened sets), I have my own spreadsheet that helps me track where to find any given set that I might want to sell or give as a gift. One of the things your site used to have that I just noticed was gone from each set was the month and year that a set was released and discontinued. I realize that this will vary by country, but it is still very useful. For example, I like to use the month/year to determine how long a set may be available so I can better manage and control my lego expenditures and not purchase everything as it comes out. Once a set has been out a while, there tends to be more sales on it, which is when I prefer to buy it. A product released at the beginning of a year will likely go off sale before a product released at the end of the same year. Therefore, it would behoove me to purchase the product released earlier before the product that was released later in the same year. In short, providing the month and year a product was released/discontinued provides better granularity and usefulness than just the year it was released/discontinued.

On a related topic, I've noticed that many times the "discontinued" page is inaccurate. For example, recently it showed that the Imperial Flagship had been discontinued when in fact it had not. Not the end of the world, but I do double check every item of interest when your site posts it as discontinued. That said, can you provide more details on how the algorithm for that particular feature works? What is the specific "tickler" that places an item on that page? The page I am referring to is at the following URL:

http://www.brickset.com/buy/us/nolongeravailable/

Thanks again for all your hard work on an awesome website!!!

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By in United States,

@Huw
Sorry, I missed part 2.

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By in United Kingdom,

Parts lists would be an absolute godsend - I use Peeron for this sort of thing, but it's painfully slow to use. As for the look/feel of the site, it's great just the way it is. Sadly Peeron does look like something from 1990s (it's never had a significant change in the many, many years I've been using it). Keep up the great work, and I'd be happy to put together some parts lists from the sets I own if that's of any use.

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By in United States,

I like the idea of revewer and user meseging, maby somethin like whats on the furum. And somthing more for the "friends" function is something I'm looking forward to.

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By in United States,

Why do we need multiple 'own' lists? For different themes?

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By in United States,

Wow, I love the Brickset piece directory idea. Please add this! There are multiple sets where the instructions aren't specific, or where I am not sure if it was an old grey piece or a new one.

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By in Belgium,

@ Farmer_John : As has been explained numerous times "the month and year that a set was released and discontinued" are still there, they're simply in a different spot. Go to an item's page, scroll down and click on the "Buy" tab.

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By in United States,

@ BJMdotLEGO:

Thanks for the information. I wouldn't have asked if I had known where to look, but thanks again...

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By in United States,

^^^^ @DXninja9000: The idea is that one could have an 'own' list for let's say, my daughter's sets, my sets to sell, my sets to keep, etc. Right now separate accounts would be needed to separate them. One could do by theme if they wanted...

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By in United States,

When brickset does institute a parts list / inventory system, could it *please*, as much as possible, try use official LEGO names and numbers when possible? Especially for colors, now that official names for colors are largely public. I'm still annoyed when surfing bricklink and I run across "bluish grey".

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By in United States,

What about bold, italics, links, and bullet lists for comments in a way similar to how we can do it with reviews?

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