Website Changes new to me!
So, I am three subjects away from finishing my French-to-English tree. I enter the website this afternoon, and I notice that I am missing the Activity tab at the top of my screen, and the monthly ranking at the right hand side of my screen. According to the Discussion tab, it looks like Duo has been updating users to this new website for almost a month. This is the first that I have heard of new "improvements" to the site, and it appears to me that Duo's idea of "improvements" is to remove tabs that add to my understanding of the language. No more "Activities" to see who else is working now. No more "Monthly" rank which I use frequently as encouragement to do a few more reviews of lessons in my daily Duo time. "Immersion" has not been a part of Duo for almost two years now, and that was an important part of my first Duo English-to-French tree. Duo team, please return the depth of activities that made Duo so interesting to begin with!
It seems to me what they have done is replaced the initial users with highschool kids and teenagers, protecting users numbers just by swapping them. By doing this they can protect their site no matter how ineffective it becomes. It's a shame that despite what they say they are no longer interested in providing a free education to anyone with an internet connection, they have completely shrunk the web using minority by focusing on apps and devices where they get their income from.
My friends used Duolingo for Spanish class in 7th grade (9th graders now) and I don't think any of them have been on since then. Whatever Duolingo is doing to attract younger people isn't really working and only gets a few people. I've used this site for 3 or 4 years and I'm very disappointed at what I've seen occur lately.
I was moved to the new site yesterday but didn't think too much about it as I haven't been doing that many lessons here lately so the new changes don't really affect me. But today I wake up and pick up my phone to check what's happened on the forums, only to discover that the browser site has copied the app interface which also means there is no option for forums on the home page. After a lot of trying I finally figured out that I have to go to Add a course where the familiar three bars still exist and I can click Discussion. The easier option would have been to type the address in the first place but the easiest option would be to put the bars where people can find them. What kind of an idiot thought hiding the forums is a good idea? The mobile lacks features, that (and the simplicity) is why I originally moved away from it. Now there has been talk about Tips & Notes coming on mobile and Sentence discussion on iOS. That's good, that's going to help the learners. But the learners also benefit from the forums. Why would you hide something that would benefit the users?
Duolingo has also started to open "Discuss sentence" pages on their own tab for me (using Firefox). More annoyingly, I can no longer use the number keys to choose between multiple choice questions forcing me to switch over to my mouse every time such a question pops up.
Then I'm gonna reiterate my old pet peeve: Duolingo doesn't give you a warning if you typed your answer in the wrong language anymore. It used to do that, and since I tend to look at the keyboard when I write, I sometimes miss that your supposed to type what you hear rather than translate. It was a neat feature that I have sorely missed these past few months.