The new app: meeting the needs of long-time users?

I am trying out the new September IOS release for the first time, although I have dipped into checking out the Beta app from time to time in its development.

My perspective is that of someone who has many years of Chinese, and who has found the straightforwardness of the original app, and especially its exceptional learning algorithm, to be extremely efficient.

I am especially dismayed by the new app’s apparent lack of intelligent algorithm. There seems to be no way to “study” without using the “test” mode and that involves practicing a large number of words I already know.

Currently with the old app I follow this daily efficient study routine:

  1. I locate a text for new study, either online or on paper.
  2. I go to lists and enter the new vocabulary into an existing or new list.
  3. I click on “advanced study” and select the list I want to review (which has both older and brand new vocabulary)
  4. The algorithm feeds me older (yesterday’s) words first, allowing me to review them.
  5. After a certain period of review, the algorithm starts feeding me the new (today’s) vocabulary.
  6. I work through the review and new words together, in the sequence provided by the algorithm, until I’ve done 1/2 an hour’s work daily (that is usually enough to both keep up and add new words)
  7. Voila, I am done and happy with my progress, which I can check in the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly progress indicator.

The new app seems to permit almost none of these efficient habits.

I don’t see the point of the “test” mode at all. What is the point of the expense of Skritter if I can just test myself off of an existing list, with pen and paper.

The main reason for subscribing is to be able to avoid the waste of time it is to practice words you probably already know. That is what the algorithm in the old Skritter so brilliantly provides, which is well worth the money.

If the new app is not going to keep existing subscribers happy, I see a lot of subscription cancellations in the future - both mine and yours.

If there is a way for me to continue using Skritter as efficiently as I have been doing for the last five years, someone, please, enlighten me.

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So I haven’t been using skritter as long as you have(1 year+) but I was using anki for 5-6 years before that so I also have developed some study habits and am quite familiar with SRS and I think in general the new app is actually more conducive to efficient study. With the exception that is seems to low count time studied even more than the old app so those of us tracking by time spent do get tripped up a little by that

The old app had a bad habit of letting you continue to review cards even after you have finished those due for the day. This makes you feel busy but reviewing cards before they are due defeats the whole purpose of efficient study in SRS systems. The new app properly handles this by actually finishing reviews for the day.

Once I have finished reviews for the days if I have more time I go to add new cards. This is where I greatly prefer the new app. Instead of just having new cards mixed into the reviews you get some focused study to intro a new word/char. This makes my study more efficient. If I know the word or am comfortable with the characters that compose it I will mark it as already learned so I don’t have to spend the extra time, but if it is truly a new word I take the time to focus and understand the new word as I add it. Words I already know essentially work like before as if I had just clicked the plus 1, but new words get a little more focus so that I have a better chance of remembering the first review. Otherwise words often take 4-5 reviews to make it out of the first day of study.

Now it doesn’t do the srs for words that would be due within the day but I think this is way more efficient for me. It lets me truly finish for the day and if I need to review a word multiple times a day I think I need to focus on it a bit more and maybe come up with deeper understanding/context for the word. The next day I find out which words I truly need a bit more to make stick while most words actually stuck around.

I love the design of the new app and I have seen a jump in learning rate. I do have a few bugs that cause some heartburn with occasional synching issues, lowball time counting, but overall I think it is more efficient.

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An update to my original comments: I have heard from Jeremy since, and am much reassured about the usefulness of future versions of the new app to more advanced users. While the current app does not have the ability to apply the algorithm contained in the review mode to individual lists, they are working on this ability not only for lists but for subsections of those lists. This will be a great enhancement. That will solve my problems!

Meanwhile, the original app will remain available at least until these new features are implemented.

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I know I replied via email, however I thought I should post a snippet of what I wrote to you here so other people can see as well.

The app is available in the App Store and isn’t in beta, however that doesn’t mean it’s “complete” and there are still many features we’re working on. We don’t want to give the wrong impression that if something isn’t in the app yet, that it’s not planned or won’t be. We’re working on adding the ability to review just one list or a subsections of a list! I do see how it’s not working for you since you have so many items due, and even if you didn’t-- it’s quite efficient the be able to just review a particular list without being bogged down by other due items from other lists.

I also thought I should mention that besides being able to review just a single list at a time, there will also be a focused test mode as well which will just show words that had been marked as incorrect.

We want to make sure that the new app is more powerful and not at all a hindrance or step back from the previous version, so if there’s anything else at all please let us know.

the Review mode is the study mode based on scheduling, I wanted to make sure if others read this they know!

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