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The LEGO Wall: New site for tracking Pick A Brick (PAB)

dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
edited January 2014 in Buying & Selling Topics
I created a website where users can update the contents of the Pick A Brick wall
for various lego stores. The site is http://www.thelegowall.com/

I used my iphone to inventory the wall at the lego store in Orlando, FL. If you
inventory your local store please send me some feedback on how the process works. I tried to make the GUI easy to use from a cell phone so that you can inventory a wall quickly.
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Comments

  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,270
    Were you aware there already was an effort to inventory PaB? http://www.brickbuildr.com/view/pab/

    There are some aspects of your UI that I prefer or think has potential, though.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    I am, but it is a pain to update the inventory there so I thought I would try to make something better :)
  • 12651265 Member Posts: 850
    ^^
    I agree...looks great! Hope it gets traction.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    You might have to rename it though, TLG doesn't like people using the word 'lego' in site names.

    I'll look at it when I'm not on my phone.
  • Stvoyager04Stvoyager04 Member Posts: 101
    I think you may need to reposition the store and country options. When I opened the site i first looked at the store list and thought it was only for American stores. Only as I was about to leave the site did I notice the country option below.
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 535
    Looks like a good effort, will have to give it a go the next time I have a look at a wall.

    (SMH at the first response.)
    pillpodjasor
  • peterlinddkpeterlinddk DenmarkMember Posts: 170
    Looks like a good idea - I've thought of doing something similar myself, but would like to integrate it with Brickbuildr, so the results could be sent to them, or something.

    I will give it a testrun in the Copenhagen Store one of the following days!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    edited June 2013
    Using it now for Manchester, UK. Two points:

    1st, some parts aren't available, for example the 2x2 tile modified with central stud (jumper).

    2nd, when updating, there's a small grid at the top of the page, but it would be very useful if that was populated with small icons of the bricks, so you can see what is where.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    Yep there are a few missing parts. I should be able to finish getting all of the parts loaded in the database this weekend. Thanks for giving it a test run at the Manchester store.

    Regarding the grid at the top don't you think the icons would be so small you couldn't see what they were? It's a neat idea though, I'll try it on my test machine and see how it looks.
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 535
    Just coming from the Westfield (Shepherds Bush) store, iFad in tow.
    I would second the suggestion of having small icons on the grid when updating, perhaps making each cell square. The dimension selector is a great idea, but to make selection a little quicker perhaps use sliders.
    Other than those things the process has so far been much quicker than BrickBuildr. I'll complete the wall when I get back.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    dwalton76 said:

    Regarding the grid at the top don't you think the icons would be so small you couldn't see what they were? It's a neat idea though, I'll try it on my test machine and see how it looks.

    My problem was that it's hard to remember where I am on the 'wall' when I update a pod, as they're all blank. With Brickbuildr's iPAB, you're taken back to the main 'wall' and the pod you've just done is updated and has changed colour.

    All it needs is something to help you distinguish where you are on the wall (I don't really use the 'column 2 row 3' way of referencing it)
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    Oh and the system doesn't seem to like you selecting either 'metallic gold' or 'chrome gold' (where's Pearl Gold?), as it doesn't auto-fill the list when you select them.
  • legogregorslegogregors Member Posts: 402
    For the Orlando store is that the 1x4x5 white door or the 1x4x6 door? I have been having trouble locating a new smaller door as shipping kills the deal as I finish up a brick linked market street... Thanks, looking forward to updating Chicago pab in August!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    ^ I'd guess it'll be the 1x4x6 door, as IIRC Lego discontinued the 1x4x5 doors
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    I'm part way through updating Stratford on the system. I have a few comments/suggestions. I thought I'd put them here, as it might spur a few others ideas or allow others to agree/disagree.

    Interface

    I do like the click, click interface you've come up with, and it's definitely better on touch devices than the drop down boxes and typing on brickbuildr. A few things about it though:

    I agree with others that it's not obvious where you've got to on an empty grid.

    It would be massively useful if there could be different orders for cells - starting at top left, or top right, and then always up, always down, or up then down. I tend to take a video of the wall, and then enter the details later. That video starts top left and then goes down one column and up the next.

    If there are a lot of elements to choose from (i.e. you've selected red, 2x2) then the button "Save Part" is a long way down and needs a lot of scrolling.

    General Improvements

    Use the LEGO parts database, rather than BrickLink, like Brickset does. This will mean you get better consistent graphics. You don't need such a wide database because LEGO can only put production parts on the wall.

    Display the contents of a wall sorted by colour or part (without duplicates)

    Allow entry of notes associated with a bin ("I'm not sure if this is light grey or medium blue from my photo", "there are actually two elements in this bin", "Almost empty, unlikely to stay around for long", "Not available element: " etc.)

    Allow link to photos/video of the wall.

    Limit set of parts choices to those already on other walls, with a button to choose "not in list".

    Store Metrics: Things like number of different elements, number of duplicate bins, number non 2x4 bricks, % elements at no more than n other stores (obviously you'll need more data to allow for this).

    Link to Brickset for elements, for easy view of which sets elements are in.

    Also, I don't know what your database format looks like, but you should store histories as well as latest version. This is enable a) a roll back if someone malicious messes things up and the potential for other stats (element at #stores though time) as your database grows.

    Something you couldn't do would be to store who made the change (brickset id).

    In general I encourage something new as I think brickbuildr is a bit stagnated (although I'll still update there too), but I think ultimately this most sensibly lives on Brickset (have I mentioned that before @huw :-)


  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93

    You might have to rename it though, TLG doesn't like people using the word 'lego' in site names

    That would stink. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93

    Just coming from the Westfield (Shepherds Bush) store, iFad in tow.
    I would second the suggestion of having small icons on the grid when updating, perhaps making each cell square. The dimension selector is a great idea, but to make selection a little quicker perhaps use sliders.
    Other than those things the process has so far been much quicker than BrickBuildr. I'll complete the wall when I get back.

    I added the icons to the wall display on the edit page...you guys were right that makes it much easier to navigate. The trade-off is I can't display every column if there are lots of them but I made it so you can click to see the next section of the wall.

    Regarding the dimension selector, I did try sliders but you have to let the slider go from 1 to 36 and it is really hard to increment it by 1 on a small screen like an iPhone. If the range were smaller I think it would work :(

    I originally did just a dropdown menu where the user picked the dimensions from a list but this didn't work well on my iPhone because it zooms into the page when you click on the dropdown. So then I had to keep zooming back out to see the parts. It was really annoying and is what led me to the current +/- buttons UI.

  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    dwalton76 said:

    You might have to rename it though, TLG doesn't like people using the word 'lego' in site names

    That would stink. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    PS
    But I appreciate the heads up...I hadn't thought about that at all when picking a domain name :(
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    edited June 2013
    dwalton76 said:

    I added the icons to the wall display on the edit page...you guys were right that makes it much easier to navigate. The trade-off is I can't display every column if there are lots of them but I made it so you can click to see the next section of the wall.

    Most UK stores have 16 columns. Can you not reduce the size of the images a tiny bit more so that it fits all 16 on one page? :)

    Oh and I wondered what on earth that disk was for until I realised you'd removed the 'save' button. Maybe have 'save' written on the disk label so it's obvious?

    EDIT:: I tried adding a Pearl Gold 1x2 tile with grille to the Manchester UK wall, but it didn't add it. Odd.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93

    Oh and the system doesn't seem to like you selecting either 'metallic gold' or 'chrome gold' (where's Pearl Gold?), as it doesn't auto-fill the list when you select them.

    Good catch....fixed now
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93

    ^ I'd guess it'll be the 1x4x6 door, as IIRC Lego discontinued the 1x4x5 doors

    I'm not 100% sure (I'm the one that inventoried Orlando) but I changed it to a 1x4x6.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93


    Most UK stores have 16 columns. Can you not reduce the size of the images a tiny bit more so that it fits all 16 on one page? :)

    Oh and I wondered what on earth that disk was for until I realised you'd removed the 'save' button. Maybe have 'save' written on the disk label so it's obvious?

    EDIT:: I tried adding a Pearl Gold 1x2 tile with grille to the Manchester UK wall, but it didn't add it. Odd.

    Ack, it will show 16 now instead of 15 :) I added "Save" under the disc icon...good idea.

    Regarding the pearl gold tile, I just tried it and it let me add it. If you click the save button without first selecting a part it will give you an error. Maybe that is what happened since it only returns one part when you search for a pearl gold 1 x 2 tile?

    I removed the tile from the Manchester store since I don't know what row/col it should go in.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    edited June 2013
    ^ That's odd. I've just tried Chrome and it works fine (I usually use Opera Browser). Thing is, before you made the changes it worked fine in Opera, but now nothing changes when I click 'save'.

    In Opera, I select a piece then click the disk icon to save it, and it goes to the 'is this correct' page, showing the old piece, not the new one - it doesn't update it.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    leemcg said:


    It would be massively useful if there could be different orders for cells - starting at top left, or top right, and then always up, always down, or up then down. I tend to take a video of the wall, and then enter the details later. That video starts top left and then goes down one column and up the next.

    ok you're referring to the order that we traverse the wall once you've clicked the "Yes this is the correct part" link right? What are the most common orders you guys use:

    - Down one column and up the next. Let's assume most people would start at the top left corner.
    - Row by row where you go from left to right, then right to left on the next row, then left to right, etc.
    leemcg said:


    If there are a lot of elements to choose from (i.e. you've selected red, 2x2) then the button "Save Part" is a long way down and needs a lot of scrolling.

    I put in a Save icon and moved it to the top. The most common parts are displayed first so this should be reduce the amount of scrolling.
    leemcg said:


    Use the LEGO parts database, rather than BrickLink, like Brickset does. This will mean you get better consistent graphics. You don't need such a wide database because LEGO can only put production parts on the wall.

    Where do I find the official lego parts database and graphics? You raise a good point though that I don't need to show all of the old stuff in the results since those will never be on the wall.
    leemcg said:


    Display the contents of a wall sorted by colour or part (without duplicates)

    How about a filter where you could say "Show me all the red parts" or "Show me all the 2x4 bricks"? I don't want to change the order that the parts are displayed on the wall but I could blank out the cells that don't have the part color/type you are filtering on.
    leemcg said:


    Allow entry of notes associated with a bin ("I'm not sure if this is light grey or medium blue from my photo", "there are actually two elements in this bin", "Almost empty, unlikely to stay around for long", "Not available element: " etc.)

    Allow link to photos/video of the wall.

    Limit set of parts choices to those already on other walls, with a button to choose "not in list".

    Store Metrics: Things like number of different elements, number of duplicate bins, number non 2x4 bricks, % elements at no more than n other stores (obviously you'll need more data to allow for this).

    Link to Brickset for elements, for easy view of which sets elements are in.

    I think photos, notes, etc will have to come later.

    Store metrics would be cool but yeah I'll need to wait until I have much more data.
    leemcg said:


    Also, I don't know what your database format looks like, but you should store histories as well as latest version. This is enable a) a roll back if someone malicious messes things up and the potential for other stats (element at #stores though time) as your database grows.

    Something you couldn't do would be to store who made the change (brickset id).

    In general I encourage something new as I think brickbuildr is a bit stagnated (although I'll still update there too), but I think ultimately this most sensibly lives on Brickset (have I mentioned that before @huw :-)

    I'm keeping records of what changes in each row/col of each store so if someone does a bunch of wrong edits I can back them out. If that becomes a problem I'll have to force people to login to an account in order to edit the wall.

    Thanks for all of the feedback
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93

    ^ That's odd. I've just tried Chrome and it works fine (I usually use Opera Browser). Thing is, before you made the changes it worked fine in Opera, but now nothing changes when I click 'save'.

    In Opera, I select a piece then click the disk icon to save it, and it goes to the 'is this correct' page, showing the old piece, not the new one - it doesn't update it.

    Hmm, I think it is because I replaced the submit button with an image. It breaks in IE too :( I'll take a look.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    dwalton76 said:

    What are the most common orders you guys use:

    - Down one column and up the next. Let's assume most people would start at the top left corner.
    - Row by row where you go from left to right, then right to left on the next row, then left to right, etc.

    Hah, right, my order is going to seem very odd. I take photos of a batch of pods (4 wide x 3 high), so I edit them as follows:

    - Start at top left corner and work right for 4 pods, then move down a row, do 4 pods on that row, then move down another row etc.
    - When I get to the bottom, I start at the top again in the next batch of 4 pods wide.

    Basically the 'next pod' feature is useless for me, I just click each pod individually as I want to edit it - that's why having a visual reference on it was so important to me.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93

    ^ That's odd. I've just tried Chrome and it works fine (I usually use Opera Browser). Thing is, before you made the changes it worked fine in Opera, but now nothing changes when I click 'save'.

    In Opera, I select a piece then click the disk icon to save it, and it goes to the 'is this correct' page, showing the old piece, not the new one - it doesn't update it.

    I have this fixed for IE. Can you try it in opera and let me know if it works now?
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    edited June 2013
    Yes it works now, although the save disk isn't there anymore. It's just a small blank clickable box above the word 'save'.

    EDIT:: it's back now for some reason.
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 535
    Back on my computer and updating the Westfield wall. For some reason I'm not able to select a Medium Blue 2x4 brick, but so far it's going very smoothly and quickly!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    ^ yes there doesn't appear to be one. There's a couple of other things like that too (the olive green cheese slope for example).
  • Dark_PegasusDark_Pegasus Member Posts: 37
    Great little site, is certainly something worth keeping up to date for those who like to make MOC's and require certain parts. I just hope it get's updated more than the one on Brickbuildr for the UK anyway. I'll certainly update it when I can.
  • flat_fourflat_four Member Posts: 4
    A great little site you've created here.

    I was at the MK store today and if I'd known about this I would have updated fully. Have updated with some elements that were available for sure, but not necessarily in the correct bins.

    One problem for the MK store is that they mix most bins with two or more element types (at least 6 types in one of the bins today!) so currently impossible to update the site fully - unless im missing something.

    Also I have accidently put pink 1x2 tiles into stratfords store and cant seem to delete them. Sorry.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93

    ^ yes there doesn't appear to be one. There's a couple of other things like that too (the olive green cheese slope for example).

    I've added some more parts...I think I have every part from every set for the last 4 years. The medium blue 2x4 is there now and the olive green slope 1x1x2/3

  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    flat_four said:

    A great little site you've created here.

    I was at the MK store today and if I'd known about this I would have updated fully. Have updated with some elements that were available for sure, but not necessarily in the correct bins.

    One problem for the MK store is that they mix most bins with two or more element types (at least 6 types in one of the bins today!) so currently impossible to update the site fully - unless im missing something.

    Thanks! I'll have to think about how to tackle the issue of multiple parts per bin. Finding a clean way to display that will be fun :)
    flat_four said:


    Also I have accidently put pink 1x2 tiles into stratfords store and cant seem to delete them. Sorry.

    Currently to delete what is in the bin you just mark it as "empty" or "unknown part".
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    I have (almost) uploaded Stratford but the site seemed to go down just as I was trying to do the last element - trans yellow 1x1 plates.

    I have to say it's a much quicker interface, even on a PC. And great stuff in making the enhancements already.

    To answer a couple of your questions above...

    I go down the first column up the second etc.

    Parts can be scraped from LEGOs sites - maybe check with @huw exactly how Brickset does it.

    And I think multiple parts could best be done with notes - my experience of multiple bins suggest its usually done towards the end of a line and there's still one main element - but I've not been to the Milton Keynes store personally - so enter the main element and then put some notes in to point out there are other things there.



  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    Oh one thing I forgot to add was the need for some way to highlight the current cell being edited - probably just a different coloured border.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    leemcg said:

    Oh one thing I forgot to add was the need for some way to highlight the current cell being edited - probably just a different coloured border.

    You should see a red border around the cell you are currently on. It has been that way from the beginning though. What browser are you using?
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    A few other updates:

    - I cleaned up the 'part search' interface some more to try to get back some screen real estate. Before, when using my laptop, I couldn't see the results without scrolling down but now I can see the first row without any scrolling.

    - I'm now only showing parts used since 2010 in the search results. This cut down on the number of search results by a good bit.

    - You should be able to find any part used by any set since 2010. If not let me know.

    - I added a signup page to join an email list for the site (see the 'Learn More' link on the main page).

    I'm still working on the code that lets you select which way to navigate through the wall when updating. I should be able to finish it later this week.

    Someone inventoried the Lynnwood, WA store today and there has been a lot of activity on the walls for the stores in the UK!!
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    dwalton76 said:

    leemcg said:

    Oh one thing I forgot to add was the need for some way to highlight the current cell being edited - probably just a different coloured border.

    You should see a red border around the cell you are currently on. It has been that way from the beginning though. What browser are you using?
    Goes back to check... Ah I see the red border when you're editing an already completed store, but it's not there when I go into a store that's blank (using Firefox, if that matters).

  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    Another little request...

    In that there is already a secondary colour selected, a part type and a size, would it make sense to have an element selected - I would suggest this should be the first item in the list, and that this should be adjusted to be the 2x4 brick if it's not already.

    more than a third of cells have 2x4 bricks in generally (the bottom two rows have to have bricks at least that large in case smaller children get them), so this could save even more time.

    The screen estate changes you've made work really well. On my PC I now hardly have to scroll. It would be slightly improved if your order of commonality reflected commonality on the PaB first (another area where more data will help).

  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,398
    I've added a few parts to Manchester's wall today, now that those parts are available for selection, but I notice it says that I added them on 29 June...
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93

    I've added a few parts to Manchester's wall today, now that those parts are available for selection, but I notice it says that I added them on 29 June...

    This should be fixed now...but let me know if you see it again :)

  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    leemcg said:


    Goes back to check... Ah I see the red border when you're editing an already completed store, but it's not there when I go into a store that's blank (using Firefox, if that matters).

    Turns out this was specific to firefox...it wouldn't draw the border if the cell was empty. I put a whitespace in there and it is working now.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    leemcg said:

    Another little request...

    In that there is already a secondary colour selected, a part type and a size, would it make sense to have an element selected - I would suggest this should be the first item in the list, and that this should be adjusted to be the 2x4 brick if it's not already.

    more than a third of cells have 2x4 bricks in generally (the bottom two rows have to have bricks at least that large in case smaller children get them), so this could save even more time.

    Good idea! Done :)
    leemcg said:


    The screen estate changes you've made work really well. On my PC I now hardly have to scroll. It would be slightly improved if your order of commonality reflected commonality on the PaB first (another area where more data will help).

    Right now they are ordered based on how many sets the part appears in. That seems to be working fairly well...the part I'm looking for is almost always the first or second one.
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    leemcg said:


    It would be massively useful if there could be different orders for cells - starting at top left, or top right, and then always up, always down, or up then down. I tend to take a video of the wall, and then enter the details later. That video starts top left and then goes down one column and up the next.

    This has been implemented now. When you go to update a wall you tell it which corner to start from and how you would like to traverse the wall. This should make it much easier to take a video in the store and then go through the video when you get home.

  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    FYI I moved the site to a new domain...so that I won't be sued by Lego :) The new site is http://www.wallofbricks.com/

    The redirect from the old name should start working soon...I hope.

  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    Perfect! Works great. Great to see updates coming. Will be popping to the Stratford store today, although I see that at least one other person has been updating it too.

    I sent an email to the old domain that the Stratford store is in the wrong location (the postcode works fine in Google Maps).

    And you still have "TheLegoWall" at the top of the page.

  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    I've decided that WallOfBricks is so much better than brickbuildr, that I'm only going to update the former now.

    I still find the location of the country and store drop downs to be the wrong way round (I'm sure someone else mentioned that), but I think it's already ready for wider publicity (whilst there are features that would be great it already does everything brickbuildr and more does witha superior interface).

    The openness to make changes already is the icing on the cake.

    If only it was actually integrated into BrickSet (@Huw), it would be perfect - did I mention that before :-)
    cheshirecatCCC
  • dwalton76dwalton76 Member Posts: 93
    Thanks!! :)

    Some numbers to share (because I like numbers)
    - 20 stores have data so far
    - 1200+ parts have been entered
    - The site got 12k hits in the first week. I know that isn't a gigantic number but I'm excited about it :)

    For the Stratford store do I have the address correct? If so do you know what the latitude and longitude is for the store? I got the latitude/longitude from a google maps API based on the address.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,306
    I'm loving the site too, well done. I would update my local (the manchester store) as I've been a few times, but its always been up to date!
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