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Project Swapfig: Kickstarter project

SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
As some of you will have heard: I started work on a LEGO minifigure trading site a while ago, under the name Project Swapfig, to improve on an existing site I'd used a few times.

Most of the functionality that I wanted to include is present, and I'm going to be launching the site on May 1st, hopefully in time for Series 10's general release.
To really get things going, I've started a Kickstarter project to raise money for widespread promotion, as well as covering web hosting and maintenance, and promotional goodies.

Hopefully the project itself will explain things, but if you have any questions or suggestions please let me know. And of course, I would really appreciate as much backing and exposure of the project as possible.

Here's the link to the Kickstarter project:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/296710547/project-swapfig-minifigure-trading-action/dashboard

Here's the video I made for it (with closed captions):
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Comments

  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    Nice video Drew, very well done.

    In my opinion, it may be a bit niche, but I wish you the best of luck with it. I see that you haven't set an over the top funding target which should give you a fighting chance. Presumably you're going to do it regardless of whether you get funding or not?
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,261
    I think for trading Minifigures in general this is an excellent idea, but I would have at agree with @atkinsar above that Collectable Minifigures alone may be too narrow for an entire website to be devoted to it. You do mention in the video however that you hope to expand to general Minifigures so I look forward to seeing how this goes.

    Good luck!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    I look forward to using it - it has to be better than the other one which seems to have stagnated and not taken on any suggestions from users.

    However, I wonder if going for advertising to get lots of users is the right way from day one. As you have worked on it by yourself, you know how it works and should work. Would it not be an idea to get it beta tested by others before the official start date? If 100s of people start using it from day one and you have missed something obvious to others but not to you, will there be time to adapt it before those people get turned off?

    Word of mouth alone on here should be enough to get you a decent number of try-out users. Is it really necessary to pay to attract new users straight away when targetted posts here, eurobricks, etc is likely to attract a large group of users.
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    I'll be going ahead with the site anyway, it's mostly a case of whether I do it the easier or the hard way. It would be great to be able to do something an easier way for once!

    I still have some time before the release date to develop the site, so depending on how things go I might have a short beta-testing session to check if I've missed anything, or if anything could be improved.

    As for the advertising: I obviously wouldn't go for paid advertising right away, as I'd want to make sure the site works first! but I figure it's easier to prepare and then hit the ground running, than to wait and then beg.
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 434
    I'm indeed looking forward to it! My son and I both collect minifigures. The Collectable ones and the regular one (last ones just the one we like ;) ).
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    ^ :)

    Okay, I've updated the Kickstarter project to be more thorough, as well as adding a few more rewards. If you're sharing the link please use this one: http://bit.ly/swapfig
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    atkinsar said:

    Nice video Drew, very well done.

    In my opinion, it may be a bit niche, but I wish you the best of luck with it. I

    I think the popularity of figs, which let's face it will never go away even if LEGO folds tomorrow :O), makes this a solid idea and I've backed it.

    I'm not heavily into figs but do like to get specific ones for the parts. Trading via forums is not something I've ever felt comfortable doing, so a site like this will be useful to me.
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    Very eager to see the website launch and to start using it. Proud supporter as well. I'd love to see Brickset get behind is as they did for the Brick Swap kickstarter project!
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    Just wanted to say a big thank you for the post on Project Swapfig, and the support that's been coming in! I may even have something I can show in the next couple of weeks.
    kylejohnson11
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,357
    You're welcome Drew, feel free to pitch in in the comments and drum up some more support.
    kylejohnson11
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    I've uploaded a "demo" of Project Swapfig if anyone wants to have a play around: it's at http://demo.swapfig.com. Enjoy!
    kylejohnson11
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,241
    @SilentMode- I just registered (hoping for no explosions, fire, or/and unexpected visitors in the night), and love it.

    Can't wait for this to go live. I'll be using it often once you (hopefully) upload more minifigures to its database for trading (Star Wars, exclusives, etc..).

    It may convince me to trade a few CMFs, as well though :)
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    @samiam391 Glad you like it!
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    Great! I hope fellow Bricksetters try it out and take the plunge of supporting it this week. I gave up collecting CMF after series 8 but still want some of s9 so I'm looking forward to this - plus of course receiving my Project Swapfig minifig!!
    kylejohnson11
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    Hi Drew,

    I've had a play and I like it. The flexibility in setting up trades is superb. I have the following observations / suggestions / feedback - hopefully this is the right place to put them:

    Maybe put UK and US (and a few others Germany etc if these are likely to be important) at the top of the list of countries for registration.

    There should be some rules mentioning what should be included:
    - figure and accessories: should be everything in the packet (although not extras for early series?), for example - does this include baseplate?
    - figure only - as specified at bricklink for example? No hand held (or foot) accessories, but should include capes and headgear and so on?
    - what about including sealed packets as an option?

    Haves pages: maybe have the update haves button at the top as well as the bottom of the page? (Same for wants page too).

    Wants page: difficult to see when "normal" priority is selected, others (high/ low) are clearer. (I've tried on firefox and chrome)

    Propose a trade - the count of high / norm / low does change when figures from these categories are added.
    kylejohnson11
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,261
    It looks brilliant to me Drew and all of the functions that are active are working perfectly. I very much look forward to using the site, like @samiam391 above, I will get the most use from it for trading Star Wars Minifigures, but I have plenty of CMs to trade too.
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    @caperberry I agree with you, I'd love to see tons of people who currently trade on the forums and plan to trade on #SwapFig to pledge to it.
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    Thanks for the votes of support. I should probably clarify that the demo is about functionality over design - what's more important right now is that the site works as expected.

    The only reason "sealed" isn't/wasn't a specific option at present is that there's a world of problems involved if someone misidentifies a figure - it's happened to me a few times. However, there is a market for sealed packets so it's worth adding. The only issue is whether or not it would apply to other groups of minifigures added later on.

    How do other people feel about the list of countries (on the register and edit profile pages)?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    ^ I hadn't thought about sealed and non-CMF minifigs. And I know about receiving ones that were badly identified!

    The countries list is not a big deal - just a suggestion. I always find having the countries of the majority of the users at the top of the list suggests that this has been thought about and it gives a better impression, but it is not a deal breaker!

    That said, lego bricks and pieces has just Germany at the top of the list, and everyone else further down.

    One thing concerning countries - is it possible to have a Europe selection when selecting trades (borrowing the idea from BL)? So we could select UK (or own country), Europe or Worldwide (all).

    If it really takes off, then chances are non-AFOLs will be using it to swap kids' minifigs to complete their sets. In this case, I think there does need to be clear rules about what constitutes a complete figure.

  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    I do like sites that put UK at the top of the list, but frankly I wouldn't have a clue how to change that on our site! if you figure it out, go for it!
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    Fortunately that's easy enough to do.
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    Definitely useful then! The 'germany' on lego's site annoys me!
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    Hi Drew,

    I was playing around with the Haves list yesterday and hand a question suggestion for the "clear all" feature. Would it be possible to have a pop up that says "are you sure you want to clear all?" Or something along those lines. With the button being next to "update" a user may inadvertently click "clear all".

    I'm loving the site though! I'm very hopeful you'll get your funding and it will have a strong kickoff!

    Kyle
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    ^ I wasn't sure what kind of visual feedback to have, but an "are you sure" prompt would work. I'm looking at redesigning the haves and wants pages at the moment, so I can put that in.

    ^^^^^ It may be useful to browse for people in a specific continent, so I'll look at putting that in.
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    @silentmode Hi Drew. One thing I just noticed was on the initiated page, when you go to click cancel or message, the buttons click but do not go anywhere. I wasn't sure if this was something that will show up working in the non-demo version.

    Thanks!
  • richoricho Member Posts: 3,795
    edited April 2013
    I like it, it looks like a labour of love!
    kylejohnson11
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    Forgot to mention I was using firefox
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    For the list of countries, why not just do an IP lookup and place the likely country at the top of the list.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    What's happening? Constructive feedback from users / potential users being accepted and worked on? This isn't like other minifig trading sites or lego selling sites!

    Good luck :-)


    kylejohnson11
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    CCC said:

    What's happening? Constructive feedback from users / potential users being accepted and worked on? This isn't like other minifig trading sites or lego selling sites!

    The guy working on the site must be insane!
    kylejohnson11JenniCCCLostInTranslationprincedravencaperberry
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 853
    you gotta love the video!
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    ^ Thank you :)

    I'm having a small competition over on Flickr, involving some graphics work. Feel free to enter if you fancy it.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    I have to say the video was bloody marvelous and utterly professional.
    kylejohnson11
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    I guess there is a server problem today?
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    What an anticlimax.

    www.swapfig.com
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    It'll still be great when it works! Another day / week is no big deal.
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    Congratulations Drew, I look forward to playing with it when I get a mo! Now get some sleep...
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    I've had a bit of a play. A couple of teething problems, but it looks even nicer than the demo.

    I do have some feedback - I used the contact form to send it, but might as well raise it here too.

    If I have a sealed pack and a possible trading partner wants the minifig as a complete, I am not shown this as a possible trade. Is it possible to implement that if the partner wants C, then we are shown this if we have either S or C. In most cases, I'd be happy enough to open it if he wants open and complete rather than sealed - or just send the sealed pack.

    Similarly, if the partner wants an I (incomplete) figure, we could be shown this if we have S or C or I.
  • ChanMcLChanMcL Member Posts: 1,224
    My account is still not yet activated even I have clicked the email.

    Got a message saying
    A new activation link has been sent to your email address.
    When I click on the link from my email.

    Great website tho!

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    I have the same. I'm sure these teething problems will get fixed soon.
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    I got the same, but just went and logged in anyway and it worked. But I saw on FB that drew is changing hosts so taking the site down for a bit.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    Yeah, it looks like it has been a tough few days.

    I got a new email today with a proper activation code which worked. Just before the (non-)trading issue was clear and it was taken down.

    Still, it's great to see how proactive he is in getting it sorted. Way better than some other sites.
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    It's been a marathon! I've virtually been at my computer for the last couple of days, trying to put out fires and figure out where things have gone wrong. a lot of the issues had to do with the different server environments, but there were some schoolboy errors.

    Anyhow, it looks like things are picking up - I was able to make a trade offer a while ago. There may be some more issues but I will keep an eye out for them.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    I wasn't able to accept it :-(

    And not due to the offer being bad, but a software problem again. I still cannot make offers either. I've emailed you.
  • ChanMcLChanMcL Member Posts: 1,224
    Im not able to log in because of my account is not been activated so I pressed resend email. About 30mins ago

    Still no email yet.

    Also, will probably be a good option to add "Keep logged in" option on?
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    Just submitted a few offers to a few members on SwapFig. Overall functionality seems to be smooth. I've run into a few issues with viewing potential trades in Firefox vs. Chrome. The site seems to be at its best using Chrome.

    Thank you for all of your hard work Drew! It is very much appreciated. I can see #SwapFig becoming a resource for the LEGO community for many many years!
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    ^ Well I hope so!

    I can hopefully take things a bit easier now, so I'm going to focus on cleaning things up before adding any new features.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    I'm consistently getting "Could not make the offer: Other user is non-existent (or hasn't been activated)." and this is when trying to make offers to Drew.

    I've tried both firefox and chrome, same error.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    Seems to be working now on windows 7 with explorer, but not on linux using chrome or firefox.
  • pillpodpillpod Member Posts: 273
    I haven't tried to make any trades so I can't speak to how well it is working. But it looks beautiful and if it works as intended, it seems it'll be a very easy tool to have at our disposal.
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