Don’t Stand Still

No matter how good an idea you have, it can always be improved upon.

I was mulling over this thought the other day. With Swopster, the raw basics of a decent swapping network is there: it works, lots of people sign up and folks are swapping games for free.

Job done? Time to put my feet up? Errr…nope…because there are still so many ways to improve it.

For instance, the site usage suggested there were a nucleus of swappers out there who were very keen to hunt out and initiate swaps. The previous – quite rigid – swapping framework simply didn’t allow them do this.

It’d become pretty apparent that my initial design was…a little too strict and rigid. With the best of intentions, I’d originally tried to make swapping games for free as simple as possible: you list your games, the games you’d like – abracadebra – you get a list of all the possible game swaps you can make. Instant and simple.

This concept works really well for those people fully tooled up with armfuls of popular games…but not for quite a lot of others – especially if there are no exact swap matches for their games. You had to wait until there was an exact match between yourself and another swapper before you could swap a game.

So, as I mentioned in Joining The Dots… the service has now been upgraded with 2 exciting new features:

• Available/
Next to game listings, you’re able to see how many folks are offering that game in a swap and/or how many want that game. From there, you’re also able to see who they are and…critically…what games they have on their lists.
• Messaging You’re now able to send and receive messages between each other.

There are a couple of important reasons for bringing in these new features now.

I realised it’d be much better to allow you to see who had the specific game you were interested in or who wanted to swap it. This would really help to open up the Swopster game swapping network.

There was still a problem, however. The way everything worked, even though you could see other members games lists, you still couldn’t actually communicate with them (unless you rigged up a game swap to match with them and then sent them swapping messages after agreeing your game swap – this was unbelievably clunky).

That’s when I realised it would be much better to simply allow everyone to communicate directly with each other. This should make the swapping system much, much more flexible. You can negotiate swaps before committing to them, rather than waiting for the swap-matching system to pair them together. Of course, there are numerous anti-spam safeguards built in to prevent any sort of abuse of the messaging functions.

The critical thing here is, when they’re used together, these 2 facilities really do open up the whole Swopster game swapping service. They give you a whole lot more freedom than you ever had before. You can now actively find and chat with other members, negotiate swaps, ask questions about their games and a whole lot more!

The intention is to stimulate swapping, to get more folks seeking out and negotiating swaps, to connect people together.

The service is expanding and being enhanced all the time – if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvements, please leave a comment or drop a message in the Swopster forums.


One Response to “Don’t Stand Still”

  1. More Ideas to Improve Free Game-Swapping « Says:

    […] Ideas to Improve Free Game-Swapping With the inclusion of the whizzy new feature to let you see how many swappers are offering a specific game in a swap and how many want a […]

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