Author Topic: Thinking about creating an app for tracking all sorts of stuff  (Read 1911 times)

Hi everyone,

I came across VGCollect because I love tracking things I have done or things I own, managing my collections, and so on. I like using apps/websites for those things, but however, every app or service seems to focus on one specific topic (video games, books, movies, music, countries visited, sport activities, and many more).
Being a software developer, I am now thinking of building a web-based app, where you can track everything that’s important to you, and experience the progress you make with all sorts of things that matter in your life.

I do not want to build a competing service such as VGCollect, but a complementary one. VGCollect or similar apps are great for managing the specific collection / trackings (such as video games), with a lot of benefits for the user that are related to video games. In the new app, the collection (owned video games) might be present as well, but the focus would be on everything that is common across keeping track of all sorts stuff in your life.

For example, I am thinking of gamification elements like a tracking counter which benefits from every tracking the user adds, maybe some sort of online diary that can be derived from your tracking history, a lot of ideas come to mind…
To make using the app/website as simple as possible, the user should be able to import existing trackings / collections automatically from other services.

Now I have a question: If such a service existed, would it be interesting for you?
If yes, what kind of features would be decisive for you to use such an app?
What types of things / collections / items / etc would you track (or are currently tracking)?

I appreciate your feedback, because I am currently trying to find out if the idea of such an app is interesting for others. In this case, it makes sense to pursue the idea and start thinking about the next steps…

Thank you!



Re: Thinking about creating an app for tracking all sorts of stuff
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2019, 10:25:42 am »
The reason why they are specific is due to the creator wanting to track that type of thing either because it is their hobby or they are trying to cash in on some trend. The reason why you do not tend to come across sites that handle multiple types of things is due to requiring the knowledge to manage the different data sets. Even here at VGCollect it is difficult to manage the different types of things because we have no dedicated experts in ALL of the things that we track. Which is partly why some categories are in shambles, or have incorrect/incomplete information or we have catch-all categoriess that aren't really managed.

Other sites seem to follow one of these two methods:
1. Item creation is limited to a select few, in order to maintain data accuracy.
2. Item creation is thrown to the wind and anything goes.

#2 seems to be the most popular in regards to other video game trackers, as well as the movie trackers I have seen. So much missing, and much bad information, because the authors create a service and let it go crazy. I've always felt that any site should not track any item where there is no one to manage said item type.

Also there is a situation that many other trackers do not take into consideration when they are designed. Everyone wants to use a site differently. And these differences need to be taken into consideration during the design process of such a database. In regards to video games or movies, most people only care for the content of the product, rather than the product itself. Then the next would be those who wish to track the product, but have no care for variation. There are those who want to track the specific product they have but have no care for variation. Then there are those who collect for the variation.

Let's put that into video game terms.
1. Tracking the content of the product: User owns Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in some fashion. They may add anything that is Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to their collection, be it the SMS or Genesis/MD game, the Steam game, or some other representation, whichever one it is does not matter.
2. Tracking the product but not caring for variation: User owns Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Mega Drive, but will add any Genesis/MD release to their collection. If they have the EU game, they may put the US game into their collection.
3. Tracking the specific product but not caring for variation: User owns the Portugese Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Mega Drive, and will add that specific item to their collection.
4. Tracking the specific product and caring about variation: User owns British Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Mega Drive, will add that specific item to their collection, and will actively seek out the European and Portugese releases, among others.

So in the ideal situation, not only does your database design need to cater to those in situation 3 and 4, but also have to understand that people in 1 and 2 may see the additional information as a turn off. Information overload. The ideal situation here would be to design customized UX in which the user gets to choose how much information they have access to and how they want to use it.

The amount of time to populate the database should also be a consideration. Consider how long VGCollect has been around and also consider that there are still games that are missing. And not from just current gen systems. The Super Nintendo [EU] section is probably missing a couple hundred releases alone. Inputting all of this data takes time, and the input is not what takes up most of that time. Research takes much more time than inputting data and uploading pictures.

Try not to think about recreating the wheel in some of these cases, especially in regards to the data itself. A framework where you can use an API to connect to other sites would be much more interesting and so far that is not something I have seen anyone talk about. It is always about just making a new site and putting to task of data population onto the users.

Re: Thinking about creating an app for tracking all sorts of stuff
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2019, 03:33:53 pm »

thanks for your extensive reply!

Originally, I thought more of method 1, in order to have better data accuracy.

More general, I have been thinking a lot the last days about creating something "on top of" all those island solutions, and I am looking for benefits users may have. Like, if somebody loves playing video games, and watching movies, he or she could track both in a generic app and see his or her bucket lists fill up....

On the other hand, a framework as you mentioned in the end is a similar "generic" solution, which certainly interesting from a technical point of view, but still needs concrete purpose for usage, in order to be worth developing  :)

I think I will think a little bit more about all that, and I am open for feedback or suggestions. Thanks again for your input!


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Re: Thinking about creating an app for tracking all sorts of stuff
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2019, 04:26:27 am »
Checkout datacrow  ;) It doesnt have a app yet.


Re: Thinking about creating an app for tracking all sorts of stuff
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2019, 06:16:05 pm »
Metal Jesus Rocks made a list of some websites/apps one can use to organize a collection.
(I remember that he did some small mistakes when explaining about VGCollect though... Haha)

The video is old (five years old actually, WOW!), but maybe you can get some good reference from it:

Re: Thinking about creating an app for tracking all sorts of stuff
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2019, 10:48:01 am »
Thank you everyone for your suggestions!