You're an expert at this, aren't you? How long have you been doing this?
The article is now private. I found another one related to the topic: http://blog.mlive.com/neurotic_mom/2009/04/i_just_finished_reading_outlie.html
So far I'm finding the course excellent for teaching the characters, and particularly the tones. I like the way they put several words together which use the same tone, so you can get used to the way it sounds. But like other people I'm frustrated by the lack of explanation about what the words actually mean. So you're learning the sound, the tone and the character, but you've no idea what the word means. It's not true that you can hover over the words and see what they mean, or at least only as a kind of afterthought right at the end of each lesson.
I disagree - I like seeing the characters too. What annoys me is the fact that the sounds and characters are given without the meaning, which you can only see right at the end of each lesson. I want to know the meaning as soon as each sound or character is introduced - and it's not true you can see it by hovering over it.
Maybe you could try a resource like https://www.memrise.com/course/177397/heisigs-remembering-the-simplified-hanzi/. There’s a lot of requests for more pinyin and character explanation. Pinyin feels quite unhelpful to me. Google translate will show it. Likewise there’s this character familiarization theory of Heisig that says the look and feel of characters and the way they are composed from primatives is familiarized best without sound. I’m not sure about this - mainly bc from what I’ve seen the character’s context is more important than their bare meaning. But there may be something to accustoming the eye to the look of characters. Duo can’t do everything - context characters vocabulary tones grammar discussion stroke training etc - it’s too much. Ppl should prob expect to supplement with outside resources to keep the course focused. For what it’s doing - Chinese in context - this course seems great. Haven't gone far yet but I’ve been blown away - esp by the user discussions. I’d say hang in there!
I changed to this because it is teaching characters as it goes. I've tried other ways starting with just pinyin and it's not as good, and I've tried with learning to write characters properly (including correct stroke order). That is a waste. Day to day, you won't write characters - you will listen, you will speak, you will read, and you will type the pinyin with a keyboard and select the correct characters that come up.