Library structure

I know some changes are being developed in this area, but do they include changing how lessons and collections appear in the Library interface ?

At the moment, what happens is this:

  1. When you click on “Library” you are presented with individual lessons.
  2. If you click on a lesson, you get some kind of pop-up box showing all the lessons in the collection.
  3. You can then click on “Go to collection” at the top of the pop-up box which takes you to the collection.

My first question - what is the point of the pop-up box ? Surely you should go straight into the collection window itself (3 above), especially as this window has more information, such as number of words known, whether you’ve already “taken” the lesson. The pop-up box seems completely redundant to me. And it’s an extra click and extra waiting time etc.

Second question - shouldn’t the Library structure be changed, so you first see Collections rather than individual lessons ? This is more logical, as collections are at a higher level. Then you can choose to drill down to see the individual lessons themselves.

The current structure is confusing and illogical (to me anyway)… you start at the lesson level, then you go up to the collection level (via two different windows), then back to the lesson level again !

This has all been pretty confusing to me also.

Me too

I am with LingQ since September 2010, and the Library is THE section of LingQ I don’t like and seldom use.

I mean the USABILITY of this section, not the lessons / the content.

I think LingQ users normally are not looking for individual lessons, but for interesting collections or courses. But the current structure is very lesson-oriented, not collection-oriented.

A LingQ newbie needs also much more guidance to find suitable content.

I mostly import my own stuff. It’s still difficult for me to find something interesting within the library. Mostly I look into Friends’ activities and look into lessons/collections that other users use.

We are looking at the Library currently and trying to figure out how to improve things. The suggestion to show collections instead of lessons is one we have had before. There are a few reasons why we show lessons:

  1. We have always shown lessons because we used to show the New Words number for each lesson. This can’t be done effectively for collections since collections can contain lessons of varying difficulty. We have since removed the functionality on the Library home page because the process which calculates these numbers is very resource intensive and slows the site down. The New Words calculation is now only available on the Advanced Search page (on demand in the filters area) and on the Collection page. This focus on the lesson could now be changed theoretically, but we are planning on bringing back an option to display lessons by fewest new words in the near future.
  2. Collections are not uniform. They may contain lessons with varying difficulty levels and they may have new lessons added all the time. If we only show collections on the Library page, would we show them still if you have previously taken a lesson from them? If you have taken 99% of the lessons from them? If a new lesson is added? If the lessons that you haven’t studied are of a higher or lower level than your current level? Given that a collection only appears once on any shelf, you are essentially looking at Collections now and you know that there is at least one lesson in that collection available at your level.
  3. I quite prefer the popup on the Library page. It doesn’t require paging on long collections and is more concise than the collection page. I also like the fact that I can look at collections while staying on the same page and shelf that I am looking at. If we took you straight to the collection page and you want to go back to the same view in the Library, it is less convenient.

I do understand your points but there are different perspectives on this issue. We do appreciate the feedback but probably won’t make that change at this time.

While we are on the subject of the Library, do you prefer the Library home page view or the search list view? We provided the home page “shelf” view because we felt we wanted the Library to be more attractive. On the other hand, the search view may be more functional. Or, do you find neither view functional?

I can see the logic, but I am just going by feel.

I think maybe a personalised “Suggested lessons” shelf like they have on Youtube and shift the lesson search parameters from the roght side to below with a succinct explanations of what they mean and how to use them. Also add “Search collections” as a meta parameter.


I’ll come back to you on the collections vs. lessons thing when I’ve had a think…

Re. which view is “best” in the Library - my view is the search list view gives you much more information straight away. The current “shelf” view is not really that usable - you have to click on a lesson to find out what it’s about.

A few thoughts (I’m trying to think of this from the angle of a newcomer to LingQ)…

  1. When I first go into the Library (using no filters) I want to see, at a very high level, “what’s there”. This means being able to see all the collections for that language, with maybe some general information about each collection (number of lessons, total audio time etc.). To be confronted by a huge sprawl of lessons spread over many different collections is going to confuse me at best and irritate me at worst.

  2. As soon as I use filters to cut down the search results returned, I completely agree that I should get individual lessons returned, but could this not be done still within the context of a collection ? e.g. suppose 20 lessons are deemed to be hits; these could be ordered by collection, with the individual lessons themselves indented. If there are a lot of “hits” within a collection, perhaps this could be summarised at the collection level (displaying number of hits and the user could click on the link to drill down to the lessons that are hits).

  3. I understand there is some variety in a collection, but surely not a huge amount (else why would the lessons be in the same collection?) I would expect the level and subject matter to be pretty much the same.

  4. Search results can be “drowned” by large collection; this skews the actual situation, e.g. in French I get pages upon pages of results when I filter for “RFI Radio”, because some fool has created large collections for “Mots de l’actualité” :wink:
    Being able to see the results at the collection level would avoid this.

@ dooo - Unfortunately, a personalized shelf takes a lot of time and effort to do right and works a lot less well when there is not that much content available like in some of our libraries. We did have a recommended content area in our previous library incarnation that was not very useful.

@ Jamie - We have added a control to only show 1 lesson per collection on the Search results page. This should help with many of your concerns. We will be pushing this update shortly.

Otherwise, we will continue to make incremental updates and we appreciate your ongoing feedback as we try to improve the library.

Interesting discussion. I’ve thougt about ways to improve the library. I’ve the same problems as Jamie. I would prefer if the collection view would open immediately. I dislike the popup as well. I admit that it looks nice but I miss the most important information on the popup. And it is really slow with IE. What is more important? Looking nice or Usability?

Maybe you could add a checkbox to control if the collection view should open

  • in the current window
  • in a new tab
  • in a new window.
    That would prevent people for opening the library again and again. I could imagine that you store this checkbox and suggest the earlier choice when the user comes back to the library.

Additional I would love to have the collection view like it was earlier: without pages and scrolling over all lessons of this collection. And I would love to have the option to sort the lessons in a collection by new words or percentage of new words.

P.S. Maybe you shouldn’t allow any longer to share lessons that not belongs to a collection. For existing lessons you could create automatically a collection for each user who shared such lessons a “XXX’s lessons collection” or something like this.

Vera, I’ve exactly the same problem as you. Collecting a library content isn’t possible for me. It lasted so much time that insert my own contents from the internet is much quicker. So I publish my own contents independent of the fact whether it is in the library or not. Actually, the other possibility is to claim contents from other members if it interested me. For my personal view an easy written list would be much better than such picturesque pictures. Indeed, it is but my own true, humble opinion and I understand or more sympathise with the view expressed in the post by mark. From me described solution is quite ok and I am absolutely happy with Lingq.

Thanks for all the comments, everyone. We’re making note of all your suggestions as we continue to work on improving the Library.