🌊 New Lessons skip flow beta, plus other skipping improvements

Hello everyone :slight_smile:

Have a few updates, predominantly around making skipping more robust.

我們開始吧!

New Lessons skip flow (beta)

One of the main pain points we’ve been observing is getting up-to-speed to wherever you’re at – this ultimately means skipping over items you already know.

Though we have skipping, the current workflow to do so can be tedious. It requires you to scroll through the list pages, navigate to its page, and then click.

Thus, we’ve rehauled how our Lessons work:

new-lessons-demo

A few things to note:

  • We took the opportunity to make Lessons more interactive: Each new item you get you must answer immediately afterward.
  • You can skip any item, any time.
  • You see the character you’re queued to learn. Previously, we frontloaded the components and sounds – even if maybe you didn’t want to learn the character it is linked with!
  • When you choose to learn a character, we load in prerequisites on a need-to-know basis – skip them if you’d like though!
  • You’ll now answer twice – first when you see it, and then later on in the Lessons
  • You can go overboard on the number of lessons you have in a day – you’ll see a negative amount up top :slight_smile: it wouldn’t make sense to queue up a character, and not learn it because it had too many components and sounds!

Skip components and sounds

Of course, the above Lessons flow wouldn’t make sense without also enabling skipping for components and sounds.

You can skip them any time by navigating to their subject page and clicking on the Skip button, the same as characters and words :slight_smile:

By skipping components or sounds, it allows you to get to their characters sooner!

sound-skip

Changes around word auto skip

Our previous skip implementation had a clever filter where, if you skipped all of the characters, you’d then also skip all of its words by default unless you specifically go to its page and prioritize it!

It makes more sense to have words available by default, but then skip as you come across them – especially now with the new Lessons flow! Thus we’ve removed this.

Changes around word sorting

Supporting those who track their progress by HSK is important. HSK levels are a great map by which one can get a feeling of where they are in their language learning journey :slight_smile:

Our previous word sorting algorithm didn’t account for this as strongly as we’d like. Toward that end, we updated it so you always get HSK words over non-HSK words.

Skip learned items too!

Why restrict skipping only to unknown items? Maybe you feel comfortable with ones you come across and want to focus on other things instead.

When you enable the new Lessons, you also gain access to skipping within Reviews:

skip-active-items

When you skip a learned item, it’ll no longer show up in your Reviews until you unskip it.

Skipping now reflected in HSK coverage

Previously if you did skip any characters, you would forever be staring at an incomplete HSK circle, even though you certainly know them all!

We’ve added an asterisk to alert you that there are, in fact, skipped items, but now any skipped items count toward the HSK coverage.

This is also reflected within the weekly email progress report, with an asterisk next to the HSK level :slight_smile:

hsk-skip-coverage

Improvements to Skipping by HSK level

Maybe you come back after a break, or maybe you signed up skipping over HSK-1 & HSK-2 and want to review those levels again.

We made it easier to skip by HSK level, instead of restricting it to onboarding. Of course, these are destructive actions, so make sure use it only if you’re confident you want to change which HSK level you’re skipping!

hsk-skipping-settings

Here are the docs.

How to enable the new beta Lessons flow

To try out the new Lessons & also enable skipping within Reviews, just navigate to your settings and switch the toggle:

enable-new-lessons

Would to get some feedback from testers (and also tackle any bugs that may pop up!) before making it the default experience :slight_smile:


That’s it! Happy studying!

4 Likes

The lesson flow beta is still a bit rough around the edges, but we wanted to get it out (behind a setting toggle) in hopes of getting early feedback from our more adventurous users.

Here are some things we are planning to improve during the beta period, to give further context:

First, the new experience doesn’t have any sort of “lesson footer” that indicates what you have learned in the current session, or allowing you to easily navigate to earlier items you have learned in the session. We plan to add this during the beta.

Second, sometimes it isn’t clear when one is in the “lesson” or “review” portion of the lesson experience, partly because we make it so one need to answer a “confirmation question” after each lesson item, separate and in addition to the questions asked during the “lesson review” that we are familiar with. This can be a bit jarring, but in our testing we have found that having a confirmation question immediately after learning a lesson item (in addition to another review question towards the end) helps immensely with cementing it. We hope to make some various UX changes to make this “lesson-> confirmation-question → next-lesson” flow much more smooth and understandable.

:construction_worker_man:

1 Like

I’m trying the new flow, overall seems great.

My only slightly negative sentiment so far is that I miss the breaking up lessons into 5 item sections … although this is certainly just a “me” problem and not wide spread.

Personally I’ve got into the habit of setting my new items a day to 20, but very rarely actually do that many. Instead I’ll do all my reviews, then with any free time I’ll do a single 5 new item lessons throughout the day. Maybe one at lunch, one at like 3pm, maybe another after dinner. Depending on how my days goes I’ll do anything from 0 to 4 of those sessions, but due to it automatically breaking up the lessons into the 5 item chunks it’s a nice pre-defined stopping point. Have little break, knock out some items, then if I get time I do more later I do, if I don’t I don’t. Worked well for me so far.

I can just stop manually, so it’s not a huge deal but it’s a change.

Edit: Actually I tried leaving early after reviewing 11 of my 20 items (because my build was done - time to get back to work) and it didn’t save my progress so lessons are back at 0/20. This expected?

Edit2: Ok I get it - I didn’t do the mini-quiz at the end so the items aren’t counted as “finished”. My work around that seems to work is to set my limit to 5 items, do them, then if I want another session set my limit to 10 and it looks like it’ll give me 5 extra. That’ll work as I really do like the shortness of lessons that allow me to jump in/out quickly.

2 Likes

Nice to see lesson overloading. I’ve thus far just abused the time zone selector, which can be used theoretically to get 24 x 20 lessons per day :joy:

My only slightly negative sentiment so far is that I miss the breaking up lessons into 5 item sections …

We are looking into adding this back in. We took out “lesson batch sizing” for the first implementation to simplify things a bit, but I can see the benefit of having it. One alternative we’ve thought is to have a “start quiz” button somewhere. That way one can do e.g., 5 lessons then click the button if they want to review those items immediately. We’re still thinking of the best way to handle this.

Edit2: Ok I get it - I didn’t do the mini-quiz at the end so the items aren’t counted as “finished”.

Yeah, we want to make this a bit more clear with some UI changes. Essentially the immediate “confirmation answers” and the review answers at the end are separate, so we want to style them a bit differently, as well as have some sort of clear transition when going from “lesson” to “lesson review”.

Thanks for the feedback :+1:

1 Like

:laughing:

Yeah there are some other minor gaps in the review/lesson limiting logic that we’ve been meaning to patch up, but other things have been higher priority. We may have an option to get rid of the limit entirely at some point (at least for e.g., lifetime users if we add that). At the very least, this change is a step towards us relaxing, readjusting, and re-evaluating it a bit, which we plan to continue to do as the application and curriculum evolves.

I have tried this for a couple days. Here is my feedback.

I like being quizzed on the character or word or component as soon as I learn it and again later after some time has passed. I like that the lessons are more similar to the reviews now, but doing all 20 at one time is a bit much for me; I wish I could still break it up into smaller chunks.

I like the ability to skip from the lesson view. I personally will only skip words that are super obvious or that I have learned else where. That makes the “skip or lean” prompt hugely useless for me. I am here to learn every character, so I do not need to be asked that every time. For people who regularly skip characters, There is a skip button in the top level along with a key binding to skip a character (I hope I never accidentally pres it).

An error report: during the learning portion of a lesson, if I get the pronunciation of a new character wrong, and I get the meaning correct, then I get pronunciation correct, the sound of that character and the next character will play at the same time. (perhaps I am just advancing too fast?)

2 Likes

Thanks for the feedback!

breaking into smaller chunks

This is something we definitely want to add during the beta. We were thinking of either adding a “start reviewing now” button or continuing to support the “batch size” setting in the new flow. I think one thing we will likely do for “batch size” if we go down that route is to make it so it is “flexible” in that it will expand or contract slightly to allow the components and sounds to be always learned alongside the character that is being learned. I.e., if a new group of character + related_components + related_sounds would go slightly over a batch size of 5 and instead result in 6 total lessons, allow it for the sake of lesson colocation.

This is because one of our main goals with this change, in addition to integrating skipping, is to make it really obvious to brand new users why sounds and components are being learned at all. This is a common source of questions and confusion. We hope this degree of lesson colocation will help a bunch on this front.

Skip or learn prompt

Yeah I can see how this could be a bit annoying if you always want to learn each character. The reason it exists is to make it so we don’t schedule components/sounds for a character if you aren’t going to learn it. E.g., if you don’t want to learn character 啊 which has component “hills” in it, then we don’t want to teach you the “hills” component quite yet if you haven’t learned it already.

We should probably not show this prompt at all for any character that has all components/sounds either learned or skipped, as that will be the common case for most users who have already learned a couple hundred characters already, such as yourself. As you note, they would still be able to click the “skip” button just the same.

Error report

Thanks for the report, we’ll look into this. :+1:

Hey yall! Thanks for the update. Just passing along a bug report. Nothing too serious but somewhat annoying.

Scenario

  1. Correctly answer a question.
  2. Item promotion toast appears.
  3. Skip item via in-review workflow.
  4. Toast persists across subsequent pages.

Browser: Chrome v123.0.6312.124 arm64

Refreshing Hanzi Hero clears the toast as would be expected.


1 Like

Originally I would have 100% agreed and asked for this to be removed as default (but allow advanced users to turn it on in settings via a “confirm characters” option or something). In-fact I was going to suggest that setting could also default to off for people who start at the beginning, but default to on for people who skip ahead since you know they’re likely to want to skip etc.

However having played with it for a few days now I’ve come to like it. I’m learning all the characters so I’ll never press skip, but what it does is give context for what I’m about to learn. It’s a “hey, you’re building to this” prompt for me now. And I think I like it. Since I can just hit enter to progress past it, it doesn’t really add much time to my new lessons, but I instantly know WHY I’m learning that new sound/component that show up after it. So while it’s technically unnecessary for me I think I’d keep it personally.

Although if you know all the sound/component so there is no context and it’s just a prompt directly followed by a character itself then yeah it’s irrelevant and can be removed.

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Having a “start quiz” button would be great, because I often do my lessons in chunks instead of all at once. Else it looks great!

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Hey guys, thanks for all of the feedback & bug reports :slight_smile:

Here’s a quick update on the various changes/fixes:

  1. We brought back the lessons / lessons quiz distinction
  2. You now have a footer which keeps track of all the items you’re learning this session
  3. There’s now a “Confirmation” tab to confirm you got the information :wink: – we thought this to be far less jarring than the previous interweaving experience of reviews/lessons. You’ll see both the footer and the tab get a checkmark/green dot when you get it correct.

confirmation

The “permanent toast” bug and the “audio plays on question” bug should both be handled with this new update too, thanks for the report on these bugs @char @mikefernandez @imnotlinling @VickTheBrain (and anyone else I may have missed :slight_smile: ) and for test driving this new experience!

5 Likes

This new version/flow of the process feels so much nicer to use. Huge fan of this update!

1 Like

Thanks Phil!

Noticed a small kink on my first run through the new workflow. I think I might have veered away from the intended workflow of the “Confirmation” section of the card but here’s what happened.

  1. Added pinyin to upper box
  2. Clicked down into lower box to input meaning
  3. After first character typed in lower box the cursor resets to upper box
  4. Finally realized you’re suppsed to click enter when you are done with one textbox input.

Not sure there is any action here because there are no functional issues when I clicked enter as probably intended but thought perhaps others might run into this on their first time through.