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New Match Pages - and the Summer Roadmap

2019-05-07 14:17:00

Today we released a significant update to the post-match report page, as well as some smaller changes to the Live Viewer. You can expect better performance, lots of new information at your fingertips, and a design update. We've also taken the opportunity to talk about our summer roadmap.

After an autumn and winter where we tried to release features almost every week, the pace of public releases has dropped a bit - but we are still hard at work behind the scenes.

The match report page is a key element of Hattrick, which has stayed essentially the same for two decades. We have modernized several important game elements over the past year, such as the match order page and the player and transfer pages. Now we felt it was time to give some love to the match report page.

The first thing you will notice on the new match report page is a design similar to the live viewer. If you have followed a live match, it makes no sense that player ratings and sector ratings are presented in a totally different way once the match has finished.

Any finished game will also have an overlay with a summary of the match. When that is "clicked away," you'll find the field with player and sector ratings, just as in the Live Viewer. The highlights are now in chronological order, and we have added several features which were already available in the browser extension Foxtrick. Among these you will find new event type icons, and event descriptions, which will make it easier to analyze match events. There is also a "copy to clipboard" function, which makes it easier to share ratings from your match to the forum. The biggest change, again inspired by Foxtrick, is a change to the sector rating comparison to something we call "Effective ratings." Instead of simply comparing the ratio of sector ratings between two teams we will show the real probabilities of either team winning a challenge in that sector. This number is much more useful, as it speaks the truth about how the match simulation works. For example, a team with a midfield rating of 9 who plays against a midfield rated 6 would no longer be shown to have a 66 % advantage, but a higher one. You will still be able to continue using the old numbers, if you so prefer.

On the Live Viewer page, there is no visual redesign, but all the new features of the post-match page (i.e., effective ratings, descriptions, chronological highlights and event type icons) are available. In addition, the Live Viewer timeline has been improved, making it easier to step back and forth through match events. Most importantly, the Live Viewer is where the improved performance of these pages should be most noticeable - they should be faster to load and less laggy when being updated.

With this out of the door, we will again go back to working on the rest of our roadmap.

For the past month or so since the last dev meeting, we have worked along two tracks. One has been to put forward ideas about a new National Team system for Hattrick to a forum where we invited past and present NT coaches. We explained our goals with the new system as creating an NT and World Cup system that would allow more teams to compete for longer, that would be less prone to cheating and sabotage, and that would encourage a higher degree of participation among regular managers in various ways. The response on this, and the feedback we got, was amazing and really inspired us to push forward with the plans. We plan to have another editorial presenting the new system later in May, with some first new features for the NTs being released in June and a new tournament format sometime later this year.

The other thread we have been working hard on is less obvious to users, but ultimately important too, and that is better ways to promote the game. Why now? We have seen very encouraging improvements over the past 6 months in our retention of users - in other words, an increase in how many users choose to stay in the game rather than drop out. This is immensely important for any online business and something we are very happy to see. With retention up, it becomes more worthwhile to also look at marketing the site better - as we would be more likely to keep any new user recruited.

We have already done a bunch of work on this, mostly related to improving our visibility in search engines, an area in which Hattrick has fallen seriously behind. We have already spent a few weeks on this, and will spend several weeks more in May, hopefully giving Hattrick a much better status in search, which in turn will make it easier for interested new managers to find us. Related to this is also a review of how we use social media, where we hope to be able to raise our activity levels.

We think, however, that the main reason for the increased retention in Hattrick is the fact that we have shifted from running long projects with long periods of silence from the team, to trying to release improvements and updates more regularly, so that everyone sees and feels that the game is constantly evolving. We will try our very best to keep this up, as it makes things more fun for us as well as for you!

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