Just came back. I tried the new Speed Review. I feel dirty

I just came back after a long break and I saw some significant changes in the User Experience. I welcome most of them positively, especially the ability to use the arrow keys on the Browser app for pretty much every lesson.

Soon, the courses suggested me to try out Speed Reviews, which is a very efficient way of testing lots of words and expressions in a short time. I was hyped so I accepted the challenge right away!

At first glance I like the new design. Bigger buttons. Clearer texts. Much less clunky when dealing with long expressions (unlike the previous UI). I also like the fact that the audio is left out because it was getting constantly cut off, though I miss the voice at some point: it feels depressing when no one is talking, plus you don’t improve your listening comprehension.

Enter the issues.

For starters, I hate the new countdown. When each tick decreases, the animation is too shiny and draws away my attention from where I should be looking at, i.e. the answers. Also, I’ve run into cases where I clicked the answer just at the last second and it was rejected, even though the time bar was not empty yet. This is awful. We should get a last tick after it reaches zero, not before it reaches zero. I’m not asking for an extra second. If the bar is split in 10 it could be split in 9 instead and the 10th tick would occur when reaching zero. The frustration from getting kicked out before the bar ends is only psychological but this is really upsetting IMO.

I cannot use the 1/2/3/4 keys anymore, which is probably a bug because I can use those keys in other modes and I could even use them in the previous iteration of Speed Review. This is pretty annoying when you need to answer dozens of questions in a row.

I encountered many questions where the same answer was duplicated. It happened with the old design as well but I feel like it is happening more often now. No big deal, though.

When we pick the wrong answer, we no longer have the opportunity of getting one life back after several successful answers. I’m not sure if the change is good or bad because I didn’t really like this old feature either.

Some questions are ambiguous, meaning that sometimes a question should allow multiple different answers. This was already an issue before, but I’m just sad that it’s not fixed yet, especially in an environment where we must answer quickly.

At last but not least, the Game Over video is killing me.

There was this course I hadn’t practiced for over a year, for which I lost my last life at the 89th question, meaning I had 86 right answers out of 89. I was so proud to have gotten such a high win rate despite my nonexistent practice over the months. This proves once again the efficiency of the Space Repetition System used by Memrise and I was happy to have come to the right place for that. Everything was looking great, but then… I saw the Game Over video, sad face and all. This is sooooo depressing. I don’t know if this is some kind of inverted psychology supposed to motivate us to try again next time. I for one felt really bad at that point. I think I would’ve felt much better if I had a “not bad at all, keep practicing” video for my 95% win rate after a long break.

With that said, I like the idea of a final video. In my opinion it’s just executed poorly in its current form. I would suggest having different videos and messages for different win rates, e.g.:

  • a “having a hard time?” video for 0-49% successful answers
  • a “you’re on the right track” video for 50-89%
  • a “impressive work!” video for 90-99%
  • and a “flawless!” video for 100%

(numbers and text may vary, obviously)

And please, please, please write some text that motivates us from keeping up the hard work, not text that makes us feel dirty. Because this is how I feel right now.

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