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New A/B test: accent mistakes are not marked red

I just realised I've been included in a new A/B test. I don't like it.

I've seen some people complain that it's confusing when Duolingo marks a word red because of an accent mistake but accepts the sentence anyway. Now they are testing this. They only mark these by underlining the word in the correct version of the sentence. The one that is written with green font on green background and you guessed it, it's underlined in green.

I found it very useful especially in timed practise to be able to quickly see when I've made a mistake with accents, you can see the red even when you are not really looking and the sound tells you if it was correct or not. Now I have to slow down deliberately just so that I'm able to see if I remembered all the accents. I've lost a valuable aid in my learning. I hope it's not going to affect my ability to self-correct while learning accent placement in new words.

Has someone else noticed this A/B test? What do you think of it?

February 4, 2016



I'd like a third colour for typing errors, like orange.


Agreed, I would like to have/keep a more in-your-face reminder of accent-mistakes. In Spanish, for example, it can actually mean you wrote the wrong word ("esta" or "está"; "this" or "(s)he is").


Well, same with Swedish where for example har and här are two different words. (the dots on top of ä are not accents, but they are treated the same way as accents on Duolingo).


I just wrote "ils disont" instead of "Ils disent" twice in a row because I didn't notice I'd made a mistake the first time. (I had made another mistake and fixed that.) The only reason I noticed this now was because I wanted to read the discussions to find more about the other mistake I'd made.

Really not a helpful change.


I like the new look. I find it much more attractive, and just as easy to see where I went wrong. I don't know whether it will make any difference to my learning.


If I have to choose between visually attractive and effective, I'll pick effective every time. People who choose form over function aren't doing themselves, or anyone else, any favours.


Most people when asked will probably react the same in this case.

That's not the point, you don't get to choose, or better said, you are not aware of your real choise.

This is about the subconcious impact on users motivation and if it's worth the sacrifice in users progress.

Maybe there is no sacrifice on users progress. Measuring that is the point of this test.


I wasn't addressing the issue of the test, I was responding to NeridaPeters comment that they prefer the new look.

I'm well aware that we don't get a chance, just as I'm aware that DuoLingo sometimes chooses form over function (like using a font that makes it difficult to differentiate between i and í or a page layout that is about 10% too long for the vast majority of 1366x768 laptop screens).


I agree with you. We should choose function over form. However, I can see the new underlined words easily and I can easily see where my mistake is. I also think it's more attractive. I don't know if it is effective or not yet. I disagree that I am choosing form over function.


The question isn't whether the underlined words are easy to see, it's whether they are easy to miss.


Given the current styling, I wish there were three separate sounds/chimes. One each for a) correct, b) accepted but I have a typo or missed an accent, and c) whoops, try again.

Tones a and b could remain positive, but just enough of a cue to not rush on and jump to the next question.


Do you use the website or the app, by the way? I use the website on my laptop. The screen is kind of small and the correct answer is at the very bottom of my browser window. If my screen were bigger (and not this cluttered), I could have a bigger browser window and maybe this wouldn't be such a problem for me. (Although, I actually prefer to have my windows small, anyway.)


Today, I'm really happy to say, the A/B test seems to be over! I got my red markings back. I've never been so happy to see my mistakes highlighted :D


Are you sure this is an A/B test? Sometimes I get an accent mistake marked in red, and sometimes not; I presumed this was due to the particular marking criteria of the questions and/or courses in question.


I'm sure. It's changed.

I have now adopted the habit of looking down where the correct answer will appear. This way I can see the underlined words, but it actually doesn't help me as well as seeing the red in my mistake, for some reason. I keep thinking "what's wrong with that word? Nothing. Oh, it was the correct version, I wonder what my mistake was." Since at that point, I've usually already pressed enter automatically.


All right, I paid attention to this today. Here are two screenshots I took from the same lesson :



I've no idea why, but it's certainly doing both for me. I haven't noticed any consistency (types of exercise, types of accent, etc.), either; it just seems to be random.


That's weird. You'd think there were some consistency. All I get is the underlined type :/ I hope this test goes away quickly and they get back to the red.


Can anyone tell me what an A/B test is?


To test new features, Duolingo compares two groups of learners. One has the new feature and one doesn't. These groups are otherwise the same and by looking at the behaviour of these groups it's decided which version is more effective.


The key point is what Duo considers effective, not what we like or dislike.



Maybe more users will stay if they don't have to pay attention to accent marks. Duolingo could consider that a good thing even if it doesn't improve people's spelling.


I don't see a point in having a site dedicated to learning languages and then not caring about learning languages. Building such site based on wishes of those who just don't want to work would be counterproductive. You can't really spoon feed knowledge or skills to people who expect to magically learn new things just by signing on to a course or a website.

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...And alienate the serious learners in the process.


We're all guinea pigs in duolingo's big social experiment.

Maybe, a green underlined accent error instead of a red message, stresses less the users, giving him/her more reason to keep going.

People associates red with failure and that de-motivates them.

These A/B tests usually try to prove that.

I see too much effort put in "how do we prevent new users from leaving" / "increase their usage time".

But I don't see (at least publicly announced), any difficulty increase associated with the user progress.

The fluency score would be grate for that, and I'd prefer to have my words decaying slower, but with harder training sessions (ie, more translate to native ).


Well, I hope that by starting this discussion and stating that I find the red markings useful and effective I might encourage others to do so as well. Then maybe we'd be heard.


It's not just accent errors - any typo is now just barely indicated with a green underline, that you'd easily miss, especially when you're doing timed practice.

(Though now that I think about it, I'm not sure when I stopped seeing those black "typo" messages).


It started yesterday, I think.


No, I noticed the underlining earlier in the week, I just didn't pay much attention to it, as I was busy at the time. It was only when I saw your post that I stopped to think about it. It's not just accents, I just tried a deliberate typo (a double letter) and I got a green response, with "Almost correct!" and the word underlined.

It's not as noticable as the black typo-box was.


There's an even stupider a/b on mobile. Thankfully I'm finishing my tree.

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