Your Ideal Flashcard App?
Hello! I'm the developer of Gridded, the free flashcard program for iOS and macOS (and also an avid Duolingo user).
Since so many of you have spent so much time with flashcard software, I thought I would ask you to describe for me your ideal flashcard application: what features it should definitely have, what you could live without, what gets on your nerves, etc.
Specifically, if you could tell me which of the following features are most important to you, that would help me know where to spend the bulk of my effort when programming the next version of Gridded:
- A place to find and share user-created content
- Motivational tools, like goal-setting with notifications for specific decks or on a daily basis
- The ability to put pictures on cards
- The ability to put audio on cards (besides text-to-speech)
- A mode for "ordered" memorization, like poems or digits of pi
- Android support
- Windows support
Of course, feel free to mention things I didn't list if you want to. Even if you have wacky "experimental" ideas you'd be curious to see implemented, I may be able to add them as optional features from Gridded's preferences menu.
Thanks a lot! -- Theodore Mitchell (HatchetHacker)
Gridded for iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gridded/id1046419120?ls=1=8 Gridded for macOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gridded/id1084234862?ls=1=12
Here are some ideas:
1) M to N correct answers. Which is to say, 'side one' of the card has m possible values, and 'side two' has n possible correct matches. This would allow flashcards to more accurately model languages, where several words in language A all map to several other words in language B
2) an option to apply any one of several spaced-repetition algorithms. Many flash card apps offer a single SR algorithm, but the details are usually obscure, and there is usually only the default choice
3) custom tagging of cards. This, as opposed to putting cards into a single category. For example, I should be able to tag a card as 'Welsh', 'noun', and 'animal' (or whatever I like). Then, I can have the option of only looking at 'Welsh' and 'verb' cards, or perhaps I could look at 'animal' cards and it would give me any card thus tagged, whether it was Welsh, Italian, Latin, etc.
4) Gamification. Points and leaderboards. It's just human nature to want to compete against one's self and others.
I've often wondered why more flashcard apps don't offer 'M to N correct answers'. Then I wrote the basics of one in Xcode and it appeared that the underlying data structure would be substantially different from that of a standard flashcard app. Hard to add such a thing as a feature.
User-created content is absolutely essential to flashcard apps, so I'd say that is the primary focus. After that, the ability to upload your own audio files to flashcards is critical to language learning.
I'd probably put pictures at the bottom, but I've never really been a fan of association-based learning. If you are going to include it, something along the lines of Memrise's 'help me to learn this' button would be nice so we can show or hide the pictures we want with a single click.
When it comes to 'ordered' memorisation, how about a single 'Randomise? Yes / no' popup before each learning session?
More than two sides possible on each card for additional information. Hands-free mode with audio to learn while listening only. Maybe a possibility to set the time between each card to help to repeat and to set an option if the answer should be read out as well.
Important and export of Memrise/Anki/Quizlet/etc decks would help to gain popularity.
A discussion forum for each deck to collaborate.
An essential detail is being able to give alternative answers. It should also be possible to put in things where it should look for as mistakes. E.g. to set for a course that it should look for:
and that these all three can be set separately. Memrise doesn't have this feature, but you can give alternative answers. Tinycards has neither. Anki can do both, but it is rather technically set up and the interface is meh.
I just released Gridded 2.1 with a feature called Leniency.
It should be pretty close to what you requested, except for the arrangement that each response type can be given its own leniency setup, not each course. You can choose whether to ignore spacing, punctuation, diacritics, and also capitalization. As for alternative answers, the default in Gridded has always been to take a response like "moche,laid,vilain" and accept any rearrangement of the words between commas, such as "laid,vilain,moche" or "vilain,moche,laid". With 2.1, you can set the leniency so that Gridded will accept just "vilain", "laid", or "moche" on their own.
Here's a screenshot. https://www.dropbox.com/s/96uzu29dw8gj7ro/Leniency.png?dl=0
I've been using Anki, Quizlet, and Tinycards by Duolingo for most of the year. For me, Quizlet is by far the best, with offline support for both iOS and Android, the most functionality (including easy import and export), ability to pronounce Pinyin (Mandarin), add images, etc. It's also the most fun, with various testing and game modes in addition to flashcards mode.
I did a full comparison here: http://felixwong.com/2017/08/tinycards-vs-quizlet-vs-anki-the-best-app-for-language-flashcards/
I haven't tried your Gridded app as I own no Apple devices, but I believe Quizlet has set a really high bar to beat. Good luck!