Great work!

This site is exactly what I have been looking for! Keep it growing, keep it free!

Ideas: Try to get last measurements from manufacturers to help make fittings even better!

4 comments:

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Permit June 25, 2013

Oh, I forgot. It would be nice to be able to see users' comments on each shoe as well.

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Claus June 26, 2013

Hi, Permit!

I'm glad you find the site helpful. Thanks for the feedback.

Don't worry, the site will remain free to use. As long as the site's costs won't prevent me from buying shoes, I see no need for advertising or something like that.

Concerning the suggestion to make more data public:

On the one hand, others have already requested something like that. But it's hard to tell if this is is just a vocal minority, or the voice of a silent majority. Since I got some experience running the site, I keep wondering if a more personal touch wouldn't increase interest and contributions. But I'm not sure about it, yet.

I've also noticed that I don't see every mistake being made by users. Maybe, a more open and distributed approach would help keeping these in check, and improve results for many members. So, a more public approach might help here.

On the other hand, I'm not convinced, yet, this would be in the best interest of all users:

First, I feel foot measurements and one's rating history are a matter of privacy. I'm not comfortable to make them public is such a way that these can be associated with a user account. Too many people use the same user names on other sites. I know some users have already posted their measurements (and shoe collections) elsewhere. But not everybody may be comfortable if these were be made public here. Not to mention the free riding problem, if the data would be public to non-members.

Second, with public records, there's always the danger that some users might measure and rate according to what they think is 'normal', not what they think is 'true'. You can't see it, but be assured there's still a great variation what fitting is worn by whom.

Third, it defeats the purpose of the site to have users to dig through hundreds of ratings and dozens of measurements to find something they can work with. There are forums for this, already, so that everybody who knows how to search can find and browse the appropriate threads.

So, to summarize my current position: If there will be changes on the publicity of the data, it will happen very slowly, and step by step.

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Permit June 26, 2013

I agree in your reasoning and I think that the user number system you have today is a good compromize.

The question about fitting and personal preference is also something I wondered about. Say for example if I like a very snug fit, someone else may rate the same kind of fit as very uncomfortable. But I believe that with enough data, things are averaged out.

The personal fittings and similar fittings, can they be combined in some way? Say if person A has almost the same foot measurements as me, and have rated some of the same shoes, that both these fact could be taken into account when presenting me with shoes that might fit me?

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Claus June 26, 2013

That's a very interesting question!

Theoretically, it's possible to measure the distance between two members by using their ratings only. This is how some traditional recommendation engines for, say, movies or books work. This measure is just another dimension that could be considered in the person-to-person comparison that results in personal recommendations.

So, the answer is yes: It would possible to combine measurements and ratings in some way.

The question is whether it would be useful.

First, shoes are unlike books or movies. There's a small set of books read by almost everyone, and there's a small set of movies seen by almost everyone. But right now, Sizeadvisors has no set of shoe fittings tried by almost everyone. Expressed differently, most of these pairwise comparisons would probably result in a similarity of zero, because two randomly chosen members are unlikely to have even one fitting in common. My guess is such an additional signal would be very weak, compared to the measurements used now.

Second, the additional step would double the amount of pairwise comparisons between members. Put differently, it'll shorten the time until I would need to buy more computer resources. Pairwise comparisons are computationally expensive, in general. In simple terms, the amount of computations grows exponentially with the number of members.

It's certainly an interesting idea and I'm going to check it out as soon as I find the time. You'll then find the initial results in the blog. :)

Concerning subjective preference: Yes, these are averaged out under 'personal fittings'. To those who do not like that, there's always 'similar fittings' which has no such effect.

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