Ever since the "success" of Swapfig's second (and last!) crowdfunding campaign, we've been working on improving "minifigure trading action" by rebuilding the site from the ground up.
If you've been here long enough, you might have noticed a few significant differences between the old and new versions of the site. It's about time we showed you a a list of some of the more significant changes made in the process.
A responsive layout.
The old site used a framework called Bootstrap, which at the time wasn't entirely mobile-friendly. Because having a working site was more important than how the site looked at the time, we opted for a fixed width layout: fine for desktop and laptop use, but not so great for mobile devices.
The new version uses a different framework called Foundation. As well as improving the functionality of the site (and in our opinion looking much less like a prototype!), starting from scratch gave us the opportunity to "design" for mobile devices as well.
Use of AJAX.
One of the biggest problems affecting the old site's speed was with displaying large numbers of items: examples of where this caused huge problems are on the Potential Trades page and various profile pages.
By fetching data after the pages load, and using the browser (instead of the server) to display information, the site generally takes less time to load - and most importantly is less likely to break.
If you're out and about, and you're in the position to obtain items for trading, the What's Hot page will let you know what's immediately in demand and what's available on Swapfig. It lists the 30 most popular items of each type, and the page is readily accessible via your mobile device.
You can now look for users in specific countries, as well as by their username, by visiting the Users page.
One Inventory page.
On the old site, users' edited their Haves and Wants on separate pages. The new site has a single inventory page, where you can readily update your Haves, Wants and now Owns. This was far more difficult to build, as you can imagine, but much more convenient.
Some users, for whatever reason, decided to use their Haves list as a record of minifigures they owned (i.e. not for trading). To address this problem we decided to introduce Owns lists, for users to show off their collections. In addition, items successfully traded through Swapfig will automatically be added to the respective users' Owns lists.
Potential Trades searching options.
There are more options for filtering users on the Potential Trades, with probably the biggest improvement being to filter only those users it's possible to make an offer to.
As part of our efforts to combat malicious activity, we introduced Level 0 following our brief consultation. Level 0 is the most basic trading level on Swapfig, where only one item at a time can be traded.
New users will start at Level 0, and once they complete their first trade will be trusted with a larger trading limit. Moderators also have the ability to demote users to Level 0, as an alternative to giving a strike. (More information on Swapfig's trading levels.)
A Bad Traders page.
We've also introduced a Bad Traders page, displaying information about users responsible for trades going south (which we call Bad Traders) and the trades they were involved in. This page is only available to logged in users.
Changes to trading feedback.
In addition to the original feedback and accuracy scores, we're also asking whether users would trade with whom they've traded with again. All the answers in trade feedback will count toward a user's "feedback score", which has a maximum of 6.0.
Should a trade be manually closed (because some users don't bother to mark the other person's half as Complete), not only will the trade not count as Complete, but feedback for both sides will be deleted.
Brick Owl affiliation.
For users unable to obtain minifigures, polybags and other items they're looking for, we've teamed up with Brick Owl to provide options to buy them. You can find results from Brick Owl on the What's Hot, Potential Trades and Who Has/Wants/Owns pages. You're also welcome to affiliate your new or existing Brick Owl store with Swapfig.
By buying or selling an item on Brick Owl through Swapfig, you're also helping to support the site - so literally everybody wins. (Except the critics, perhaps.)
In a small effort to make "minifigure trading action" more interesting, we've also introduced gamification in the form of various "badges". Users will earn badges for performing certain actions throughout the site, such as completing trades or updating their information. There may even be a few badges given to users by the admins themselves.
You can see the badges you've earned as a Swapfig user by visiting your dedicated Badges page.
The Statistics section includes much more information about the goings-on behind Swapfig than before. There are numerous different ways that the site data is displayed, so check it out.
Updated House Rules.
As you might expect, with the new version of the site comes a revised set of House Rules. Make sure you're familiar with the updated House Rules before continuing to use Swapfig.
The most noticeable change to the House Rules is that we're no longer concerned about what users do with the items they recieve in trades - it's entirely up to them.
Friends of Swapfig.
As a small gesture to those who were incredibly supportive of Swapfig since its inception, we created Friends of Swapfig: a glorified closed-list links page. They don't really need the publicity, but we'll give it to them anyway.
We won't ruin the surprise for you, but there are many different options than before when editing your profile.
So much work has gone into this new version of the site that writing this post was exhausting! As usual, if you have any questions about Swapfig, please let us know.