So, as Francis mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re currently in the process of completely rewriting the code for Memrise on the web. The current codebase is old and unwieldy, and means that we can’t fix bugs or build new features in any kind of quick way. How we’re going to do this is by tackling big chunks of the app one bit at a time, and updating and fixing them. This also means we’ll be fixing bits of bad UX or UI that you’ve been requesting for aeons, and making the whole thing responsive, and also free us up to actually start making concerted improvements to how Memrise works on the web.
I know in the past I’ve had a hand in some of the forum’s most… divisive… subjects (RIP Ziggy), but we want to make sure we do this right, which is why we’re opening up an alpha group to help us test these new experiences. Just like some of your favourite apps, you’ll be able to turn on ‘alpha features’ (kind of like Labs), which will give you early access to the things we’re building, and in return, we’d love to get feedback and bug reports from you folks before we release things to the world. We’ll set aside a section of the forum for you lovely people to post about the alpha releases, and we’ll make sure we’re actively monitoring it as much as our day jobs can allow.
To begin with, we’re tackling a bigg’un: all the different types of learning and review sessions (like Learn, Review, Learn with Locals etc). We’ll slowly release them as we go, culminating in the two biggest, Learn New Words and Classic Review, towards the end. Obviously these are core to what Memrise does, and we’ll be testing these on both Memrise and Community courses, but we’ll need your help making sure we track down and squash all the nasty bugs that may pop up.
We’ve spent the last week setting everything up and updating what we call the ‘Presentation Card’, which is the screen you see when you’re first introduced to an item, or when you’ve got it wrong.
We’ve made some slight hierarchy improvements to the information that’s presented, as well as updating the container UI to look a bit more modern and Memrisey. As with any design change, we’re sure that some people will prefer the old one, but It’d be nice if you live with it for a while and give it a chance to grow on you, if your feedback is purely on the style.
One thing to note: I want to make it clear, we will be improving as we go, but this won’t always cover off all of the feedback we’ve got here over the years. However, once we’ve got the basics done, we can start looking at how we can move forward with the web and make it as usable and awesome as we can.
So, what do you need to do now? For starters, you can go and track the new Web Alpha forum category to keep up with future posts. In a couple of weeks, we’ll post information about how to turn on your ‘Alpha Testing’ feature in settings. And if you want a little sneak peek of what the new Presentation Cards feel like, you can check them out in the rather hidden ‘Preview Mode’. To access this, go to the page of a course you’re learning (French 1, for example) and click on one of the levels. Click on the ‘Options’ button below the progress bar and click ‘Preview (Alpha)’. This will take you into a session that just has Presentation Cards on it.
Until next release!