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User Experience Learning "Across" Languages

I am currently learning French from both Spanish and English. I plan on learning more of these redundant courses, between any combination of languages. I believe this redundant, "across" approach provides a level of learning that is an order of magnitude greater than learning "out" from a single language, and I'm sure many users will agree.

While I was learning from the single base language of English, I was more or less satisfied with my user experience. In fact, I am very satisfied with the function and useability of the user interface across the desktop and mobile platforms, however I do think they can be better in (at least) one big way:

Duolingo was designed for learning "out" from a single language, instead of "across" languages.

Currently, If I want to move from learning "English -> French" to "Espanol -> Frances", (and I am on the desktop web platform), then it is necessary for me to click a button labeled "Add a new course".

As you can see, this is counterintuitive. I am then directed to find my desired course in the same fashion that I would find any other course -- as if i was browsing for a new course! This process is even more cumbersome on the mobile platforms.

As you may agree, this is unacceptable.

There is a stance in the design, to preventing the accidental user-action of switching the base-language of the user interface. Most of the time this action may be in fact accidental, however, the experience design does not seem to support and include users who choose to learn "across" languages, at all. There must be developed practical considerations for users who routinely intend on switching between multiple base-languages.

One may actually find this silly, seeing that Duolingo itself is creating quite a plethora of polygots!

I believe it is neccessary to present all languages being learned by the user side-by-side, in all areas where there are opportunities to select them, e.g. the "Languages" topbar dropdown menu next to the user avatar on the desktop web platform, the "Reset or Remove Languages" screen (also on the web platform), or the Main Side-Menu of the mobile platforms.

Considerations should be made, though, to clearly present each course as being grouped with others of the same base-language (possibly with color and/or flags, or a collapseable accordion-list GUI element within dropdowns) so there is no confusion. But, there are still going to be accidents. There should still remain the modal warning before any switching of the user interface's language occurs. However, for the users who are well aware of what they are doing, this warning may become an obstacle. There must be a system in place to hide (and un-hide) the appearance of this warning, e.g. a checkbox that says "dont show again" which, when clicked, displays instructions to undo this request.

In conclusion, I am a learner who intends to continue learning "across" languages, and am seeking interest in this topic from other learners and developers of the Duolingo software.

June 14, 2015



This userscript might be of interest to you. I just have my "Learn Spanish from English" and "aprendo íngles desde español" course pages bookmarked, so I can't attest to the script's efficacy. But it comes highly recommended by other posters.


Thank you for the suggestion. I installed the userscript using tampermonkey for chrome. I have never heard of userscripts before, so for that I will give you five lingots lol. However this is a third(fourth?)-party approach and it seems to be barely operational at that, let alone this still does not solve the problem on the mobile devices.

What I'm looking for is a formidible cross-platform rethinking from the designers and developers at Duolingo.

Anyone know how to get in touch with them?


If you click "Info" at the bottom of the page, you will find a section with all the Duolingo staff.

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