Usability and core functionality

Hi LingQ - I signed up and started on one of the easy lessons. My near-term objective is to learn a few phrases for an upcoming visit to Mexico, and my longer-term objective is to someday be able to do trainings for my work in Spanish.

I like the basic idea a LOT and I could see signing up for the paid service potentially. The easy download into iTunes is great. But I ran into a few problems that are making me hesitate:

First, there doesn’t seem to be a reliable way to access a translation! Where the LingQs I created popped up a hint they seemed right, but a lot gave me no hint - and then I realized they’re user created. I have no idea if I’m learning the right translation or not from them! It says to look up the lesson in my home language to find an authoritative translation, but this should be easier than having to back out of the whole course and find it in another language.

Second, the overall flow of the application is very tricky. Try to think through the flow and create a simple path, especially for new users, as well as for how to move through the lessons.

Third, the move from reading and listening to interacting with a real person could be made optional in the lessons. I don’t have time to schedule tutoring sessions at this time, and I would like to at least build my vocab and go through the online parts of the lessons first before tackling live communication. Part of this is certainly the fear factor for new speakers, but that’s a common problem I’m sure, and it seems like you could structure that transition a little easier.

Third, in general it seems like you need to focus on the core functionality of the system - which I’d guess for most people at first at least is on the lessons & LingQing. (your usage logs should tell you) For those functions think about what options and features you can remove from the system (or perhaps move into an advanced mode). Every button and word on the screen makes the system more difficult to learn.

If you can focus on solving the core functionality problem and give users a convenient way to create flashcards out of words and phrases they don’t know, with an authoritative translation and perhaps links to usage & more information, that’d be a huge win.

Good luck!

Dan Ancona
da at vizbang dot com

Welcome to LingQ, DanAncona.

There is already a thread where usability is discussed. May be want to take a look:


Your points of dissatisfaction appear to be

  1. No, or inconvenient translation for the texts
  2. No or unreliable dictionary translations
  3. You do not have the option not to interact with a tutor
  4. The importance of listening reading and LingQing is not clear enough

Thanks for taking the time to write us. Here are my views on this.

  1. Whole lesson translations are usually only available for some of the beginner content. Most of the units which have full translations are part of a series, and are easy to find. So, while it may be a little troublesome, it is not difficult to open another tab and keep the English or other native language version open there. Remember that our learners have a variety of native languages.

  2. We offer dictionary definitions from Babylon as a default. However, if at least two of our members have selected a translation from Babylon or another dictionary, this automatically appears as the Hint. Note that no dictionary can tell you exactly what the meaning of the word in a particular context. You will have to meet the word in a few contexts to get a better handle on it.

    1. People are free to just listen, read and LingQ, which is what most people do. We do encourage people to write and speak as well, not often but maybe once a weak. It gets them in touch with a tutor, which is usually helpful to their learning.

The site is not necessarily easy, and there is lots we can and will do to improve it, but the benefits are significant for many people. So just keep LingQing along!