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New site design

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Posted 9th May 2012 at 02:17
Last edited by gareth 9th May 2012 at 17:13
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Today I made some major changes, which are very obvious, as well as a host of minor changes, which aren't so obvious (such as changes to Facebook 'like' support on puzzles).

If you spot any problems with the new site design or any of the changes do please let me know.

Here's what I'm aware of already:
1) random order of some sets of puzzles (now fixed)
2) discussion forum listing sometimes shows puzzles faded when you can play them


Posted 9th May 2012 at 05:56
Unhappy about the fact that the paid puzzles are now shown along with the free ones. Complicates the view. It was so much more convenient to have sets or whatever on their own pages. Of course, I understand that this is a business and you need to encourage players to buy more puzzles, and yet... :(
Posted 9th May 2012 at 09:11
Last edited by gareth 9th May 2012 at 09:18
Hi Ritulia,
If you've already played the free puzzles from yesterday and before then it won't be obvious to you, but your unplayed free puzzles will ALWAYS be highlighted and shown at the very top of the puzzles list when they appear, irrespective of publication date. (Unless you manually change your view settings)

So in other words, say you log in again in a week - well then all of the free puzzles published in that past week will appear at the top of your puzzle view, just as they always did. The difference is that after you've played them they will then move down into their chronological position.

If you don't tend to go back and replay old puzzles then it should have no practical difference, I hope. The big difference for a new user is that underneath all their free puzzles they now see pages more of further content, so they can get a better feel for the site. Once you've played the new puzzles you can always use the selection options on the left bar to show only your played puzzles, which will filter out all of the subscription-only ones.

The sets, incidentally, are still on their own pages - these won't ever appear mixed in with the daily puzzles.


Posted 9th May 2012 at 13:06
Would it be possible to have saved part way through solving free puzzles up the top with unplayed ones? I fairly frequently have to leave a puzzle part way through solving...
Posted 9th May 2012 at 13:13
Last edited by gareth99 9th May 2012 at 13:14
gareth99 Daily subscriber
Hi CumbrianRachel,
All you should need to do is click in the left column (the blue bar that runs down the left of the page) and choose 'Saved' from the 'All puzzle states' menu. That will instantly hide every puzzle that isn't in a saved state. Then once you've finished with that view you can just click 'Reset view to default' on the left bar, or use the same menu to change the selection option.

Does this do what you want?

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 9th May 2012 at 16:27
kocos Daily subscriber
Site design was modified just on the same day my PC was reinstalled, so I'm not sure it just me, or is that a global change, but the player and the evaluation page both open in a new window (Firefox 12). I liked it much more when they were opening on a new tab.
Posted 9th May 2012 at 16:46
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Hi kocos,
I haven't changed the way any window opens, so that's down to your new computer I'm afraid. Maybe there's an option in Firefox 12 to 'capture' new windows into tabs?

Not sure if it will help you, but a very quick google gave this as the first result on how to make Firefox work like you want.

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 9th May 2012 at 17:01
kocos Daily subscriber
Excellent, it works. Thanks a lot for the help. Actually I have a feeling, that I used the Tab Mix Plus add-on, which thay mention as a solution, and which I have not added yet since the new install.
Posted 10th May 2012 at 00:08
Shows I have more puzzles available to solve than the total of my solved and unsolved.
Posted 10th May 2012 at 01:48
Last edited by gareth 11th May 2012 at 16:34
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Hi ACW1,
What you're seeing is the total number of puzzles in the daily puzzles section over the past year (1692 at this exact moment), compared with your total, which is slightly less because you subscribed just under a year ago. So that number under 'Available' means more specifically 'Available on the site in the daily puzzles section'. This contrasts with the number under 'Playable', which is the number currently playable by you. The 'Solved' column shows how many you've solved, so when this number equals the Playable number then you've solved all the unlocked puzzles.

I'm planning to add an option to gain access to the previously-published puzzles too, for those who want a lot of puzzles quickly, so when I do that that 'Available' number will become immediately attainable, rather than having to subscribe and wait almost a year as at current.

Meanwhile the numbers under the 'Sets of Puzzles' headings work the same way, except they refer to the different sets of fixed puzzles on the site which you can choose to buy permanent access to.

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 10th May 2012 at 17:02
Is it possible to turn on and off the ability to see all puzzles-including those you can't play? They're clogging up the pages. I just wanna see my saved puzzles and the semi-daily new palyable puzzles. I want an option to only see the puzzles that I can play. You added them to the list lately, so it shouldn't be too much of a hassle to make an option to take them back off. It's not too much to ask, please do so.
Posted 10th May 2012 at 22:02
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Hi NiGHTcap,
You'll always have the new playable puzzles at the top of your list, no matter what. (If you don't, click "Reset view to default" in the left blue column). I reverted everyone to the default view when I rolled out the update, so this should be what you see.

Then to get to your saved or finished (or started) puzzles, and hide all the paid puzzles, just use the filters on the left - click 'All puzzle types' and pick an option.

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 10th May 2012 at 22:06
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
I posted a long reply to a comment about the new design on one of the puzzle threads, but I thought I should reproduce an edited version of it here to provide some more background information about the motivation for the new design:

When you log in your new free puzzles will ALWAYS appear at the top of your view unless you've manually changed your sort settings (just click 'Reset view to default' and this will always restore these immediately), and then if you want to see past puzzles again to play them a second time just click on the left blue column and choose the relevant option to hide all of the paid puzzles ('Started' or 'Saved'). Using the column headings to sort, or these filter options, you never have to be bothered by any of the paid puzzles.

Sure, it will now take you one extra click to hide the paid puzzles each time you want to re-play an old puzzle, but firstly most people don't re-play puzzles and secondly that one option selection is easy to do.

The reason I've merged the daily and free puzzles is because quite simply very many users of the site were totally unaware that there were daily puzzles they could sign up for, and I had to find a way to make it more obvious. Since I created PuzzleMix in 2007 it's lost a huge amount of money relative to the running costs and development time I've spent on it. I subsidise the site with all of my puzzle books and other work, and I've kept on working on the site because I really enjoy interacting with people who play my puzzles. Occasionally it provides really useful feedback on new puzzles too, but almost entirely I do it for fun.

At a cost of less than 1.50 pound per month (€1.85/$2.25), I've made the puzzles as affordable as possible. Even at this price I'd never want to force anyone to subscribe to continue playing the puzzles. That's why I've published thousands of free puzzles on this site since 2007, and that's why I'll continue to do so.

So the intent is certainly not to force anyone to pay, but it's important that I experiment with ways of trying to make the site generate some money, and it's been very clear to me for a long time that I needed to massively improve the 'discoverability' of the paid content on the site. Even so I haven't done enough - I've had emails already from people saying they want to subscribe but they can't find the options on the site. (It's here, by the way). You can work out how little money the site generates by multiplying the maximum number of plays on a paid puzzle by the subscription cost. That's not much, is it?

One last comment. Puzzlemix has always been entirely advert free. There are no sneaky banners trying to take you away to sell you perfume or shoes, or filling the screen with animated pictures of someone losing weight in a week. On the modern internet Puzzlemix is almost unique in this aspect. But I've kept it like this because I want the experience of the site to be as good as it possibly can be.

Perhaps I have it wrong, but I'm going to keep it the way it is for the foreseeable future and see how it works out. I'll track traffic and sales and that's how I'll know whether this was a success or not. Either way, it took a lot of work to do it and I did it for a very good reason - so I could continue to publish free puzzles every week.

None of which is to say I don't want to hear everyone's opinions, so please keep on posting them! (or email me if you prefer)

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 11th May 2012 at 16:30
But I want my saved AND my unsaved but free games both on top. Is there any way I can filter out ONLY the puzzles I can't play?
Posted 11th May 2012 at 16:33
Let me be more clear. Can there be checkboxes for puzzle types and states for what we view? That would make it a whole lot easier on me.
Posted 15th May 2012 at 00:29
Last edited by gareth 15th May 2012 at 00:29
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Hi NiGHTcap,
I'll consider adding an option to select all started (including saved) puzzles, or more likely changing the existing "Started (not saved)" to just "Started".

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 15th May 2012 at 08:55
kocos Daily subscriber
Last 4 day when we had a free puzzle we did not have the usual 4 non-free. Only 3. Is that a conceptional change?
Posted 15th May 2012 at 15:40
I mean started, saved, and finished-PLUS unstarted with green arrows (but not gray ones).
Posted 15th May 2012 at 15:49
Last edited by gareth 15th May 2012 at 15:50
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Hi NiGHTcap,
As I've explained in posts above, I won't be introducing an option to permanently hide the paid puzzles in all views.

Your new puzzles always show at the top so you never need to go hunting for them. If you want to play them a second time at a much later date when they are no longer immediately visible then you can click on a single option to view them. That's not bad for completely free and without ads.


Posted 15th May 2012 at 15:54
Last edited by gareth 16th May 2012 at 16:47
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
There are 4 daily puzzles, plus occasional bonuses. On top of that those who aren't subscribers will have sample access to one puzzle every two days or so. These are only available for two weeks, so if they miss them they're gone forever. Conversely a daily subscription lets you play them for as long as your subscription lasts (or a year from publication, if you renew your subscription). The samples will generally be the easier puzzles, as they traditionally always were until the past several months when I started picking them randomly. But now I'm selecting them more carefully again. I want the daily subscription to be special not just because of the quantity of puzzles.

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 15th May 2012 at 16:56
Not permanently. What I would like is a set of checkboxes for each option so mediate every possible option. And then I would simply uncheck the box for gray arrows. But even more preferable is splitting the subscriber and not puzzles again.
Posted 16th May 2012 at 08:06
kocos Daily subscriber
Gareth: so basically the weekly puzzles (4/week) are gone? Instead of them, some of the daily puzzles are avaiable for free?

You wrote: "daily subscription lets you play them for as long as your subscription lasts. "

Earlier it was 1 year. Now I can't see any puzzles older than 16/02/12. That's only 3 months.

Posted 16th May 2012 at 08:14
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Nothing has changed. Click the left bar and change the view filter from 3 months to 1 year. It's always been like that. Ever since puzzlemix first launched. Perhaps you just never noticed before?

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 16th May 2012 at 14:54
kocos Daily subscriber
I guess these filters were reset as well, and I set that to 1 year so long ago I couldn't remember. But, it's still not "as long as your subscription lasts."
Posted 16th May 2012 at 16:51
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
kocos, I've added in that clarification to my comment above - thanks. I think I misunderstood the point you were making, so I apologise. And yes, the sort orders and filters are now reset every time you restart your computer or close all of your browser windows. I realised from other comments recently that people were clicking on the filters and on the sort headings without understanding what was going on and then thinking they couldn't see their new puzzles easily, so I changed that a day or two ago to be more 'accidental click'-proof.

I've made lots of small improvements over the past week, so as a simple example if your browser supports it you now get a tick rather than a dash when you use 'Give up' on Hanjie.

And there's a brand new, totally different puzzle coming tomorrow for subscribers...

Posted 17th May 2012 at 13:07
From earlier, yes, that does work - I'd never bothered with the menus before.

A random suggestion which may well be too tricky/not worth doing. If I had the time I would love to subscribe to your daily puzzles, but I don't have the time to do them and if I was subscribed I would want to do them all and at the moment I can't justify the time that would involve! Would you consider doing a subscription where you get one or two rather than all four of the daily puzzles? Obviously if I'm the only one who'd take it up it wouldn't be worth doing and I entirely understand that.

Posted 23rd May 2012 at 15:52
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Hi CumbrianRachel,

I've considered having different subscriptions before, but at the end of the day it just makes thing too confusing and complex for both users and me. And inevitably if I did that some of the people who subscribed to two a day would want the puzzles they couldn't play on particular days.

The amount of time it takes to solve the puzzles varies enormously, so it's really not the quantity that takes the time but the variety of types - so having 2 a day wouldn't help particularly; in fact it would make it take more of your time than having a choice of 2 from 4. And to be honest, given that it's under £1.50 a month to subscribe in any case it would need to cost almost as much for the 2 puzzle option in any case. Have you considered just solving the 2 puzzles of your choice each day?

One way around this would be to sell puzzle credits, but I've looked at the economics and the complexity of implementing this and it really isn't worth it, plus again it would make the site that much more confusing for people using it. As Apple regularly show, keeping it really simple is the best way to satisfy the majority of users.

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 24th May 2012 at 00:44
Last edited by matt 24th May 2012 at 23:19
matt Daily subscriber
As a paid subscriber, I appreciate the new combined view, as it makes it a little quicker for me to find any unplayed/unfinished puzzle, whether free or not.

For those of you who don't have a subscription, I want to give it a plug. I *always* have a puzzle or two to play - this new view should give you some idea of what you're missing out on. For less than 50c (aus) a week, that's pretty bloody good value.

I don't have a huge amount of time for playing puzzles, but since subscribing, I have never been left wanting, and I only play about half the puzzle types (not fond of the Skyscrapers, the Kropki, or any of the Killers, in general).

Seriously, if for no other reason than to keep this site going, subscribe!



Posted 24th May 2012 at 13:13
Thanks for responding, I figured if I didn't ask I wouldn't know. Sadly I find the puzzles too addictive to stop at two (I can only think of one type I don't really enjoy) so I'll stick to just doing the free ones. Yes, your puzzles are just too enjoyable!
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