What is the problem with LingQ.com?

@Steve

Those resources exist, yet, but they are not obvious ones. I don’t know what LingQcentral is, the Help is well-structured to answer questions but does not provide a template for a new user, and the Forums are good but require delving into.

I am not sure I agree that you need more traffic. I think you need more repeat traffic, and that is a very different thing. As part of my ‘English for Life’ course here in Japan, I require students to join LingQ and do a certain amount of reading and listening (it is their homework for one week). All of them do it, but most do not then go back to LingQ (at least, according to their exit questionnaires none did). Some of them commented that the site was confusing.

If people who have used the site briefly do not come back, all the promotion in the world is not going to do any good (in fact it may be counterproductive, as people may visit once then be discouraged, resulting in negative word of mouth).

As a comparison, about a quarter of my students continued using Smart.fm (I site I consider to be inferior to LingQ, but with a better interface/presentation) after trying it for homework.

We have a page in the Help sidebar called “How do I learn on LingQ”. Perhaps we should link to some of the more informative Forum discussions from that page so that people will find them.

sendaiben, smart.fm is a very slick site and they have been very successful with a lot more resources than we have. However, I don’t necessarily agree that they do a better job of presentation. They are faced with a simpler task since their service does very little. Basic lists of flashcards presented in a graphically pleasing way. Navigation is not clear by any means.

What they do have going for them is that the basic activity of flashcarding is done very well, is easy to do and gives a sort of instant gratification to the user even though the benefits are relatively limited. The functionality on LingQ is much more complex and the range of things you can do is much greater. Our task of presenting it clearly so that users can figure things out without reading help files is much more difficult. Unfortunately, we don’t have one simple activity that gives people that instant gratification. I’m not sure our system will ever get the people looking for instant gratification which is why we seem to only attract the serious learners. Fundamentally, that’s who we are.

Whether there are enough serious learners to support this project remains to be seen. But I don’t think wikis are going to get large numbers of people using LingQ. Nor are help files. All we can do is to try and incrementally improve the site to encourage more people to use it and definitely drive a lot more traffic to the site. Those who get LingQ and stick are a relatively small percentage but a small percentage of a large number is still a large number.

Upon rereading my last post, I think seems a little sharp. I don’t mean to denigrate any suggestions in this thread. We definitely appreciate all suggestions on how we can help get LingQ more members. Believe me we have had these discussions for years at LingQ. We have tried many things. We can try a wiki but I don’t believe it will help because very few people will visit it or are interested in reading up on why or how to use LingQ. If some of you want to try and start a wiki, we will try and find a place to link to it on the site. We do appreciate the goodwill and helpfulness you all show towards LingQ.

@Mark

Hi Mark

My original point was that LingQ is extremely powerful but somehow the interface/presentation is getting in the way of people jumping in to the site. I agree that wikis are not going to change that (although they would be a welcome resource). I believe that if you want to see a largely expanded user base, you are going to have to play with the layout of the site/try different versions/tweak the colours and position of links, etc.

Small changes can make a huge difference. The ‘how do I learn on LingQ’ link that you refer to above is something that I have never noticed, perhaps because it is fairly small, in red, on the far right of the page. Would it be more obvious if it was a large green button in the top of the centre? Is it important enough to have that kind of prominence? This kind of tweaking is really important in keeping people on a page, getting them to come back, etc.

Tim Ferris talks about fine tuning websites (among other things) on his blog The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss - Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)
Most of it is way over my head, but the premise makes sense to me and I think LingQ would benefit from being optimised.

All the best

ben

Sorry, the link I refer to above is actually blue :wink:

To be honest, I think LingQ is much improved, both in functionality and layout, from when I first came here. However, I am pretty sure it could be made more intuitive and welcoming (although I am not sure exactly how!).

All the best

ben

Newbees need to see your clearly explained strategy of how to learn from the scratch

I agree infosim12, I think it is more the need to understand how one learn’s on LingQ rather than how to navigate the site. If you understand the methodology and believe in it, it isn’t that hard to get started. But, since we don’t have a conventional approach, many people are confused when they arrive. Sure, the interface can always be improved and that is a constant process but impact of these changes is always incremental never major. The problem is that people who do figure out what to do still don’t want to do it.

On the subject of a wiki, I bow to the pressure… :slight_smile: I have created an account at PBWorks, http://lingq.pbworks.com/. Over to you guys… I will have to approve your access to the wiki but will do so as quickly as I can after you apply for approval. I wasn’t sure if I should just open it up to all on the community at PBWorks since I know nothing about the site. Good luck!