Ok, I don’t get it. So I want to buy something from the Makerfox community. I log in, go to “my wishlist”, click on one of the “+” signs and type the name of a product, in my case “battery pack for Android phone”. I can specify the quantity, 1. Then what? I have no way to indicate a numerary; I cannot put it into a category (like “phone accessories” or something), which would make it easier for someone else to indicate they have one to sell. Under these conditions I don’t see how the barter can happen! I am obviusly doing something wrong, but what?
Ah good. Thanks for testing
Here’s how you would do it:
- Log in, and just as you did go to "Shopping -> My Wishlist", click the "+" after "Products" and create one wish for the battery pack with quantity 1.
- Go to "Shopping -> Market". Navigate there to a product offer that interests you. Search and product categories are being reworked, so use this direct link to a battery pack. I have indeed one more around :-)
- At the top right, select your wish and click" I want it".
- Go on to browse the market for alternatives to this single offer, and likewise add them to the same wish.
This instructs the deal finder to get you one of the alternative orders you added to that battery pack wish. After getting one, the others get deactivated. Alternatives are for making trades more probable.
You can also start with step 2 and create a wish on the go by clicking “+ New Wish” on a product offer page. Broken in Chrome right now though.
Now that you know this, you can probably tell us what UI elements were misleading you in the first place, and how we can fix that. That’s exactly the feedback we need at this stage.
Did that. Still…
… I am quite surprised that I there seems to be nowhere for me to “name my price”, give some sort of numeraire that I am prepared to pay for what I am asking.
In general, I am confused by the lack of symmetry on Makerfox right now. If I am selling, I get a serious form to input the characteristics of what I am selling: description, price, a drop-down menu for categories (and categorizing is compulsory – categories now are a bit silly and they stop at the letter B, but you already said you are reworking them). If I am buying, I don’t get that. I appreciate some of the fields are redundant (you typically don’t have a picture of an item you are looking for), but others are not: at least description, category, price.
Another minor point, under the symmetry heading, you are using the word “market” as a marker of demand schedule. This is unclear: a market is a device to match demand and supply schedules, and especially in a bartering context one goes to the market not just to buy, but to sell too. I would pick an array of metaphors and then stick to it: for example “buy” and “sell”, or “demand” and “supply”, or whatever.
If people’s brains work like mine they will be tempted to use the Market part of the website to come up with offers. For example, as I browsed through available offers, I decided to offer to sunbtitle an Italian video (http://www.makerfox.com/market/services/65). The system shows me no one is offering this at the moment, and this might be a chance for me. But I can’t find anywhere to do that. I did create a service, but given the glitch in the categories it does not show up anywhere, and anyway I had to go around. Maybe you want a link that says “offer this!” and another one that says “request this!” next to the list of items, whether you are in a demand or supply context. This improves the likelihood of closing deals by working on the human part of the system: the list works as a device for surfacing people’s needs and offers, just like you looking at my wish and telling yourself “hey, I actually have got one of those lying around”. The result is that offers and requests “sync” on each other instead of being random.
Ok, it seems we have to fix some UI issues before inviting more people.
Some explanations about how it’s meant to be: your surprise that you can’t give a price when creating a “wish” might perhaps be because the word “wishlist” implied for you that it’s a public list, something like want ads. It was meant more like your own shopping list (non-public). Maybe we should rename it.
Anyway, your idea to make wishes public to motivate people to offer something they have around seems good. For building up the initial set of offers it’s great even. Later, when there’s everything to be found like on eBay now, it might no longer be needed (and could even be exploited for push-marketing maybe). I can imagine a feature that would let users see services without offers and say “I want this”; and similar for products by creating a “wish” with indicative bid price and requirements. Sellers can then browse through open wishes and say “Offer this”, which generates a notification for the users with registered wishes and adds them to their respective wish in “Shopping -> My Wishlist” (still inactive though, as users need to decide if they trust the supplier enough to order).
About the “market” word: your concern seems legit. We want symmetry between buying and selling parts, so it could be renamed to “Go shopping!”, and adding “Go selling!” in the other menu.
For creating a service, an “Offer this” link is on our to-do list. For now, creating a service (in “Selling -> My Offers -> Services -> +”) like you tried is the way to go. (Type “subtitling” into the category / service selection box to make it filter down to include the service you want to offer.)
BTW, the categories field is a (pretty cool) AJAX based filter field: start typing, and you get other results than those starting with A / B. But we found that two category levels are sufficient, so they could be later selected in a two-column hierarchical selectbox. Current product categories were taken over from some dataset, but I need to replace it completely because it’s not the right thing for the maker economy …
Ok then, thanks for the initial testing, my teammate will care for the issues. (I’ll care for the STF site instead.)
Some changes are coming …
Based on your feedback, we were inspired to some changes today that make the site based on lists of wants and offers, eliminating a dedicated “Market” menu item. I think it will be done by mid week. Will tell you here when it’s helpful that you test the changes.
Version 1.1 ready now
Ok, so my teammate finished the next major revision and it’s online since a few days, and it has the symmetric want / give structure as you proposed. So, no dedicated “Marketplace” menu item any more: you just go to “My Wants” and register what you want from the available offers.
I also wanted to invite you to test the new “Payments” feature which we added, but just saw that my teammate has enabled this only for admins so far – it’s not completely ready yet. It’s a late addition to the concept, but I find it quite interesting: these “payments” taht users can send to oen another are techncially just like “selling a certain amount of nothing” in a way that allows partial deliveries. It allows recording trades / transactions that happened outside of the platform, including compensation for services and products that sellers agreed to deliver before a network deal happened for them. It enables to use the software before a critical mass of users is reached that are needed for network barter deals to happen.
Payments are denominated in monetary units, but are transferred as barter value, arriving over time as items that a user ordered whenever a part of the payment can be incorporated into a new network barter deal. Since they can take some time to transact, payments are a bit like P2P credits (of course), as there is no cash money that can be exchanged in an instant, but I think they don’t create systemic problems (no collectivized trust problems as in complementary currencies, no inflation problems). Taking time to transact makes them also useful as a (limited-size) store of value.