Searching for all machine editions

This is a follow-up to this blog post about pinball machine name standardization and why from our standpoint it’s annoying to have 4 different editions of a machine.

When we left off, we were talking about how pinball map users have to do multiple machine searches in order to find all the (for ex.) The Avengers machines in their area. One search for The Avengers Pro, and another for The Avengers Superbro LE, etc. Most users, we surmise, would want to see ALL of the editions in the search results.

We got some helpful feedback in the comment section from admins and site users. And we think we’ve come up with a great solution that will improve the user experience of the site!

Starting from the back: we have a database of machine names. For each entry, there are four fields: machine name, the year of manufacture, the manufacturer name, and a link to its ipdb.org entry.

Now we’ve added a fifth field: Group. In the back-end, we can create a group – for example, a group called “AC/DC.” Then we can assign each edition of AC/DC (LUCI, LE, Pro, and Premium) to that group.

Now to the front: from a site users perspective, nothing much will be different. They can still add AC/DC Pro or AC/DC Premium to a location – e.g. the machine names are still there, and they don’t see the group name anywhere. But if they do a search for AC/DC Pro, the search results will include any location that contains a machine from the AC/DC group.

So, a single search will bring up ALL of the editions of that machine. This really relieves a burden from the user, allowing them to see more relevant data with less work. (If a user really is looking for just AC/DC LUCI and doesn’t care about the other editions, well she can use her eyes to see that some of the results are for different editions.)

Anyway, this is a small update, but we think it’s a cool one! It does a good job of addressing this issue. And another cool part about it is that it automatically works on the apps! No need for an app update.

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