Brickset user survey results

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Thank you to all 1920 of you who responded to the survey: that's more than double the number of people who responded to the 2011 survey (which was run in November 2011), so it's given me some valuable feedback.

As you'll recall, the survey consisted of quantitative questions (that you marked 1-6), and free text questions. The former were the same as those asked in 2011 (and in 2010 for that matter) so direct comparisons can be made to determine whether you think the aspects of the site that were asked about have improved or not.

Here are this year's satisfaction scores compared to the 2011 scores:

The method of calculating the scores is that used by my last employer in their customer satisfaction survey. You can read how they are determined on the sidebar of 2013 survey results page, which also provides links to enable you to read the responses to the free text questions.

As you can see, most of the scores are better than those in 2011, which is good to see. I'm was also glad to see that the number of people who responded to the question "If you rated any of the [questions above] poor or very poor, please tell us why" was just 230, about 12% of the total which indicates that the rest of you didn't have too much to complain about.

I will be going through the responses to that question, and "What ONE thing do you think should be done to improve Brickset?" in the coming days, and I'll report back with my response and action plan.

However, for now, let's consider the three scores that have gone down since 2011:

The site's design: I totally understand why the site's design scored lower than before: the site is (IMO) perfectly functional and easy on the eye, but a redesign is long overdue. It's starting to look a little dated compared to other LEGO fan sites that have popped up recently, although, I hope you'll agree, it's still much nicer than many of the LEGO sites out there. Work is actually already underway to redesign the site but it will have to be done very carefully and thoughtfully to avoid alienating those that do like it as it is.

I'm slightly surprised that ease of use has scored lower, since that hasn't really changed, although I guess that could be why: maybe people's expectation has increased.

Quality of images: I need to read the comments to get to the bottom of this, but I think people want them to be bigger, and for old sets, better. We do try and hold a high standard for set images, but often it's a case of using whatever we can get hold of, or what people send us. We don't have some mysterious source where we can obtain them from, and LEGO certainly don't send them to us. Would no picture be better than a bad one? Probably not.

On the positive side,

Quality and relevance of the news: Very glad to see your perception of this has improved significantly. It's due in no small part to the excellent team of contributors we have writing for us now.

Quality of set reviews: I suspect this has increased so much because of the reviews we now post on the home page, although perhaps it's also because you can filter out those written by users that you are not interested in.

The forum: I'm slightly surprised that this has scored highly. I like the forum, and those that use it do, too, but the majority of the complaints in response to the question "If you rated any of the [questions above] poor or very poor, please tell us why" relate to the forum and it appears to be because it's different to others, like Eurobricks. I guess my initial response to that is that nobody is forcing you to use the forum, if you prefer Eurobricks, then use it: the Brickset forum was never intended to compete with EB, but to complement it. EB itself has improved considerably over the last year. I still don't care for all the clutter on the desktop version of the site, but the mobile version is a joy to read now.

Anyway, I'll be reading the comments over the next few days and I encourage you to do the same. I'll report back when I've done so...

41 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

I mentioned the forum when I submitted my results. I'm not complaining about the content of the forum, as I'm sure there are some excellent threads to be read. My complaint is that it doesn't use readily available forum software that any number of forums across the net use.

This, in my opinion, and it is just that, makes it very difficult to adapt to and get the benefit from. I used Eurobricks as an example, but all the forums I frequent use a similar layout, such as the Bolter and Chainsword when I want to talk about Warhammer 40K, the SWTOR forums when I want to talk about Star Wars The Old Republic, the Force.net when I want to talk Star Wars books etc etc. The list goes on.

I appreciate the forums were added as an aside, and are not the main thrust of the site, but I can imagine I would use them a great deal more if they followed a more standardised format.

Other than that one complaint, I have no further issues with any aspects of Brickset, and it's part of my daily routine to make multiple visits here.

Please, keep up the good work Huw and team!

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By in United Kingdom,

Don't beat yourself up over the images Huw, 87.7% satisfaction is still a very high rating ...

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By in United States,

Vanilla Forums (http://vanillaforums.com/) was designed from the ground up specifically to be different from the old-fashioned table-based forums like phpBB, and to use modern web-standards to present a clean uncluttered interface.

I know many sites do use the likes of phpBB and Invision but that doesn't necessarily make them the best: just the most familiar. Most people that spend time using the forum do come round to appreciating its virtues, it's simplicity and ease of use. However I appreciate that it's a bit like Marmite -- you either love it or hate it.

At the end of the day nobody's forcing anyone to use it, and I'm actually relieved that not everyone is using it: it's enough work to moderate it as it is. There are, BTW, now 5600 registered users.

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By in United Kingdom,

I follow quite a few forums, and I find the software behind the Brickset forum to be the best. It's clear, it works across multiple devices (in terms of keeping track of what's been read, and draft posts). Also the effort that goes into merging threads etc. (which is manual from the mods rather than a software thing) makes it clearer still.

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By in United Kingdom,

I actually like the forums except on mobile devices where it sort of sucks and it doesn't remember you want the full site for more than maybe 1/2 hour or so, occasionally it stops you from posting from the mobile site. Also #1234 does a forum search rather than try and linking to the set on the mobile site. I try to use the full site on a desktop as it's just better.
Biggest grumble about brickset is sometimes it logs you out for hours at a time and clearing cookies doesn't help...refreshing the browser after a few hours and you're back in again...go figure.

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By in United States,

Are you using Safari?

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By in United States,

Actually one of thing I *LIKE* about the Vanilla Forum software is that it's *NOT* the same as all the other forum's out there. If I wanted to use (say) a Eurobricks forum clone, why not just Eurobricks in that case? I will echo the above comments about forum ease of use and clarity as big parts of why I like the forums and add having a tighter focus as another.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^i am indeed however it is not limited to safari. Mercury and opera mini also seem to do the same thing.

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By in Germany,

Thanks for all the work you put into the page - great scores altogether, congratulations!

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By in United States,

Speaking of tweaks, what happened to the site statistics on the front page?

Brickset members use the My Sets facility and among them own sets worth at least US$ containing pieces.

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By in United States,

It's calculated periodically and the last time it did so must have been when I was doing some database maintenance. It's back now...

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By in Canada,

I think the design of the site is perfectly fine. Sure, it's not to exciting, but I think the blue background looks fine. I think any other colour would hurt my eyes. The quality of the images are great, but sometimes you can't see all of the set, for example the 2007 clone trooper battle pack, and the 2007 droid battle pack. I also noticed that in the image for the 2009 castle crossbow attack, it has a black skeleton horse, instead of a white one. And yes, a couple of the older sets images aren't the best, but it's hard to find good images of them!

I love your site!

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By in Canada,

With larger numbers of people responding, your numbers are bound to change, both up and down. Your downgrades are very slight, and not terribly surprising considering you have doubled your respondents. If it were to double again, you may find a comparable or large increase in satisfaction.

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By in Germany,

I used to send LEGO a message where I asked them if I can take the pictures of the sets for my website about a year ago. However: LEGO didn't reply that message. What does it mean to me?

This picture is one example I'm talking about here: http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=75012-1

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By in United States,

^Huw: I see, I was just wondering why it was out. I had never seen in happen before. Thanks for the clarification.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'd guess that ease of use has lowered because you've added so many cool new features, ironically. Just having so much great stuff means there's more stuff to navigate?

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By in United Kingdom,

Personally I do not share the concerns of others about the forum or the design and appearance of the website. Sure, a bit of a spruce up would be nice perhaps, but I am perfectly happy with the blue around the edge.

As for improving images, I suppose if you have a set which you think you could take a better picture of than the one already present, why not take the photo and submit it to a Brickset staff member?

I was very pleased that this year set reviews came to the forefront of things on Brickset, with almost weekly homepage reviews of particularly interesting sets, which is fantastic in my opinion. However, I do think that the quality of set reviews really ought to be tightened up as there are some reviews out there which are pretty incoherent to be honest.

I am not sure if anybody might be aware, but is there any sign of Bricklink being overhauled and redesigned? As it is, while still easy enough to use, it really needs some improvement visually in my opinion.

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By in United States,

I took it when it first came out and honestly don't remember what I said.

I think just a few things could improve the forums, but not a total revamp with a different forum provider. ]

Links (in a sidebar or perhaps at the top of the page) that show the most discussed topics, recently updated topics, and recently added topics. Maybe this could be used like the "In the Database" widget on the homepage and be turned on/off/customized by users. I know there is a link to a different page, but I would like the top 5 links within those topics (discussed, recent, new) on the main forum page, just for easier access.

Other than that, a slightly darker color for the background of quoted text. I can hardly see it. But that's just me. :P

Also, is there a way to sort threads from most discussed to least discussed or newest to oldest within a subforum? I know it already sorts by latest update...

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By in United States,

I wouldn't put too much stock in the smaller percentage changes. With the number of responses more than doubling, you're getting a much truer representation of what users actually think on the whole, i.e., your margin of error is going down, so it could just be that your statistics are normalizing. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margin_of_error ) However, the percentages for set reviews, the forum, and quality of the news have gone up considerably and can definitely be seen as significant changes. But what do I know, I'm no statistician! :)

Also, I've only been here for a year or so, but I think the site looks as good as ever, and at least on par, if not quite a bit better/more professional than most fan sites. No major complaints here. Keep up the good work!

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By in Australia,

Thanks for insulting Brickipedia in that.

We may have ads, but they are out of our control, it is Wikia's fault, and we are trying to reason with them to get LEGO ads.

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By in Australia,

and Huw, you have to remember that both BrickLink and Brickipedia people are on this site, and you basically offended our communities, you run a news-site, we run an encyclopedia.

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By in United States,

Is there any way to view all of your minifigure collection together at once rather than by theme? If there is not, then THAT is what Brickset needs. :P

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By in Australia,

At the very least Huw, please change the page to not say anything about BrickLink or Brickipedia, you are in no position to insult other sites.

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By in United States,

^ Sorry @CzechMate, it was uncalled for and as you say I hadn't considered that your team use this site. I've changed the wording. Brickipedia is a useful reference site but it is just so unpleasant to use due to the amount of clutter on the page. I don't think you'll have any luck getting them to change their advertising policy, they'll display whatever pays the most.

^^ Yes, read the notes in the sidebar of the page.

^^^ Tilius, thank you for your frank comments. As you have read, many people, those who take the time to actually use the forum and not just dismiss it because it's different, do like it as it is. Short of changing the platform entirely there is little I can do about it because it's a hosted SAAS solution. So, unfortunately, all I can do is say 'take it or leave it'.

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By in Australia,

@Huw Thanks for that :)

We are trying to force them to, as we are threatening to leave, but they don't care. The easiest way to avoid ads is to change your skin choice to monobook, which has a much better layout. We have had many problems with our host, and I honestly am somewhat annoyed that they keep putting dumb features like a message wall. As an admin over there, I have a need to disable things, as there is no points to half of the features. One thing we try to aim at Brickipedia is for it to be kid friendly, which is why we don't have an extensive thing on everything, and these days, we are losing editors. Thanks for cleaning that up in your post, though, much appreciated.

And back on topic, Brickset is still the best site on here for reference, and is still good for easy use.

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By in United States,

^ As I've said to you in the past, if I can be of assistance, including financial, to get off that platform and onto another, let me know. Is it actually possible to export all your content? It sort of suggests it is: http://community.wikia.com/wiki/Help:Exporting_pages.

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By in Australia,

^ That would be very useful, and thank you :). We are thinking of starting our own series of "Brick" domains, possibly to combine all of the community, into a small encyclopedia. Our main problem is that if we move, random users can adopt the wiki, which is a reason to why we aren't going too in-depth, our main admin for our possible move is Ajraddatz, but his real life job stops him from doing much service. It might be possible to export our pages using a bot, or even using a media-wiki hack. We have some excellent coders, so we aren't too phased by that. I'll keep you up with what we are doing, us admins are having a tricky time with Wikia.

Thanks :)

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By in Australia,

I've just thought of something that I wouldn't mind seeing added to the site. Though not exactly useful, it'd be interesting: the ability to see the site-wide stats on people's collections. Stuff like the average size of a collection (price and number of sets), which user has the largest collection, the most popular themes, and other stuff like that I think would make for interesting reading.

Unless this stuff is already logged somewhere on the site, and I'm just not looking hard enough for it...

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By in United States,

I don't intend to publish a largest collection list, because (a) it would encourage miscreants to inflate theirs and (b) those with large collections probably don't want it publicised.

You can see most popular sets and other lists like that on the data mining page, http://www.brickset.com/search/advanced/featured/, and also create your own queries if you want to.

Average collection size is a good idea.

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By in United States,

Glad to see the issue is resolved, but thought to post my comment anyway.
@CzechMate, please don't get too upset by Huw's original reference. The way I see it is like the marketing ads we saw on TV, the "other" brands that worth mentioned are usually more or less the equal and considered to be "formidable opponents". There are so many Lego sites out there, I am glad Huw mentioned Bricklink, Brickipedia, Eurobricks. I have since checked these sites out and added them to my Favorites (sites to visit daily). We are all AFOLs and I like to think we are "Fans" and "Friends" with a healthy dose of rivilary to thrive to do the best. Afterall, Lego is about creativity. See who can build better. Thank you for all your dedications.

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By in Switzerland,

^@1360
Thank you for that post!

I didn't interpret HUW's original post in any way as being inflamytory. But I can also understand CzechMate's reaction.
I don't think HUW was in any way putting down other sites, rather he was just making a judgement on the visual (and not on the essence/subject matter) display.
All I can say is Kuudos to HUW for apologizing the way he did, and Kuudos to CzechMate's response!!

Brickset is amazing, has been amazing, and hopefully will stay amazing.

The LEGO community is thriving thanks to sites like Brickset, Eurobricks, FBTB, Brickhorizon, Bricklink, Brickipedia, numerous blogs, etc etc (the list would be way too long to list them all, but I enjoy and respect their input)

Have a nice evening and play well!

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By in Sweden,

Why is US Amazon now showing up in the EUROPEAN Amazon Shopper service? I don't want to have to see how disgustingly cheap LEGO is in the US! Please fix!

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By in United States,

Re: "Vanilla Forums (http://vanillaforums.com/) was designed from the ground up specifically to be different from the old-fashioned table-based forums like phpBB, and to use modern web-standards to present a clean uncluttered interface."

As someone who maintains a phpBB forum, I have to point out that, since at least ver. 3.0, the markup is not table-based, but also relies on CSS formatting in a modern, web-standards compliant, fashion, so that point is moot. As for clutter, it doesn't really strike me as any less-cluttered than a standard, unmodified phpBB forum using the default "prosilver" theme.

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By in United States,

I guess that one reason behind why ease of use is lower is because our collection is growing. Especially after collectable minifig is introduced, my collection went from 2 digits to 3 digits. And now it's a bit hard to manage. Also now that the "year links" are gone in my personal collection.

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By in United Kingdom,

Brickset has one of the best layouts of any site on the net. Please do not change the layout in any way. You could add the option to customize the layout, but I'm not a Computer Whizz so I don't know how complex that is.

One new addition I'm not keen on is the "Hot Topics". Not the concept, just the placement. It prevents the latest News Story from being visible when I load the Front Page (4 or 5 times a day).

Forum: Much better than the Bricklink Forum, which is a pig to use. As is the rest of the site when you first start using it, but after a while you start to realize (As a Buyer/Seller) the necessity of the layout. Now I wouldn't want it any other way.

I think, as other do, that the percentage changes are negligible, and within the margin of error for the increased number of responses. I also agree that expectations rise over time.

So, in conclusion: It is easy to criticize (including myself) things when we don't understand the processes involved in creating something, or the difficulties the creators had in getting to a finished product.

@Huw Could you summarize the fascinating chat with @Czechmate I don't quite understand?

Keep up the good work

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By in United States,

^ Basically, Brickipedia is a great resource but the platform it's on (Wikia) makes it awful to look at, and the Brickipedia team want to move it elsewhere, but there are considerable problems to overcome to do so.

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By in United Kingdom,

Thank you. Good (read simple) explanation.

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By in United States,

I personally like this site a lot. It is simple, layout is good, database is pretty, reviews are short and direct. This is the Seibertron.com for Lego (cuz i like Seibertron.com a lot...hehe)

If ever there was any improvements that I could recommend, it would be the consolidation of all the great Lego sites. Each and every one are great in their own way, and if there was ever a combined effort, you would have a database that rivals Lego's. :)

I can dream...

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By in United States,

I love the site. Some recommendations:

Much like you can add loose minifigs - have a way to remove minifigs (we sold a lot of multiples at garage sales or gave them away)

Remove the rare minifigs from events from the percentages for complete collections and put them in a separate category. If it wasn't sold on Lego.com or one of the big stores where you could get it at a reasonable price (like Mirkwood elf at Toys R Us) then it shouldn't count. I am not going to try to get the Bizarro Superman from Comicon. My kids need to go to college!
Separate some of the themes (Marvel v DC Superheroes) - I want to see what I have but I am not buying DC sets (I leave those to my son)

Other than that we love the site and recommend it to everyone. Thanks Huw!

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