New interface design / UI-UX theory

Dear Duolingo,

I found you updated the ipad design this morning with a new design theory interface. In the hopes that this is a test, please let me make a clear voice that this is a significant step backwards.

As a 50yr+ user, then immediate impression is of a interface aimed at 10yr olds. I can imaging that many of your users are school children and perhaps that is your future focus, but the childish color scheme and icons mark a clear split that you are not looking to appeal to an adult market.

With aging eyes, the very low contrast design and color on same color highlight UI color scheme makes the icons almost unreadable. Your new icons are literally 3 closely related shades of yellow. Customers with age-related macular degeneration (basically everyone over 45 years old) are going to have a hard time with these icons. Your current multicolor desktop and high contrast Level 5 icons for example, are much much easier to read.

In short, design theory for kids and adults is instantly recognizable. What you have done with this update is told the adults you want them to move on to one of the other options in the market. This seems a poor choice especially as an ad supported business, you are pushing away the customers with purchasing power, to move towards the ones without.

Please go back, you went the wrong way.

Mike Rogero Duolingo user for 4 years.

November 5, 2018


As someone with bad eyes even for my age and also tested as having the genes for AMD, I hope they consider at least adding an eye-friendly scheme.

Also, treating kids' eyes right are really important to helping them avoid cataracts/AMD/etc. later in life anyway. A lot of that is related to parenting (making sure kids have sunglasses/hats to protect their eyes from UVA/UVB/light intensity damage) and personal choices (continuing those habits as adults and limiting screen time).

But website design certainly can increase or reduce eye strain and at its worst cause your eyes to act decades older than they are - my own eye health being some twenty years older than my actual age.

November 5, 2018

Amen. Plus poor design prevents visually impaired kids from using the site. It isn't hard to find information on designing sites so they are visually friendly and still colorful. Duolingo has had a problem with poor color choices from the get-go. The contrast is bad, and trying to set my computer to improve them makes other sites worse instead of better, don't really want to have to reset the computer every time I change sites. Cataracts plus near-sightedness plus the beginnings of AMD make it really hard to concentrate on the mobile version for more than 15 minutes or so. The web site is better, because it's bigger.

November 5, 2018

Hi Mike,

you better move this from the Spanish language sub-forum to Duolingo(English).

Best regards / Viele Grüße

November 5, 2018

Are there screenshots of this new UI?

November 5, 2018

I was using the desktop version since they had not modified it yet. Today I noticed that they changed it and now I´m looking to study in another web site. Thanks duolingo for the disgusting UI.

March 28, 2019

I also just used the desktop version because of the nice interface. The new interface is too bright. My lesson page used to have a nice grey background. Now the whole page is bright white. It hurts my eyes to look at it. Really disgusted. There is nothing I like about the new interface. The shape of the buttons, the font, the new childish picture icons. I certainly won't be using Duolingo very much anymore. Very sad they changed it. It's a shame we dont have the option to switch back to our preferred interface. Duolingo has been my favorite learning tool. Please give us interface options Duolingo!

April 4, 2019
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