Catch up: In this post, I describe how my Marvel fandom compelled me to make an app that allows me to objectively rank my favorite superhero movies. I've settled on using the Quicksort algorithm, and have built a command-line proof-of-concept. Now, I just need to build the real thing.
In order for mcu.ninja to work, the app had to do a few things at once:
But I drew inspiration from another app on the market that's really good at presenting a bunch of choices quickly: Tinder.
In a way, Tinder has a similar goal. You're shown someone's profile and asked to make a decision — are you interested in them or not? And since they're essentially turning dating into a volume play, they want you to be able to rip through a bunch of options fast.
To make this happen, Tinder refined swiping. If you like someone, you swipe right. If you're not interested, you swipe left. You can blaze through dozens of profiles in a few minutes.
Turns out this mechanic works pretty well for my app, too. First, I show them the pivot movie. I then run a series of other movies past them. Just like Tinder, if they like the test movie better, they swipe right. Otherwise, they swipe left.
Once the pivot movie has run out of comparisons, we choose another pivot, and the swiping continues.
Granted, Tinder isn't asking user to compare two people and pick their ideal date — that's where the comparison to mcu.ninja breaks down. But swiping just made sense. It collapses a long list of comparisons into a single series of a few dozen swipes, resulting in a perfectly sorted list.
Here's how it looked in practice:
I learned a few important things from putting the app in front of people.
I really enjoyed seeing my friends use the app and post their lists.
But it became clear that it's still not super easy to share your results, even though the app offers a Twitter and SMS share feature. Most people ended up taking screenshots and sharing those. Long-term, I'd love to have the app produce a card image that you could export and send to other MCU fans, or post on social media.
Also, this is just a demo website/web app. While I don't think there's a huge demand for ranking favorite superheo movies, it might be interesting to convert it to an iOS app at some point.
But most importantly, I'm interested to see how this list sorting mechanic could be put to other uses. Why stop at MCU movies? I could see a version of this becoming a new quiz format.
Regardless, it was a lot of fun to make. If you're reading this post first, here's my personal list (7/2019: I've updated this list to include Spider-Man: Far From Home.)