Way to make reviews take up less time

Hey team,

I’ve been using the app for around 2 months now and I really like it. I think the way it teaches characters is very efficient and I am planning to continue using it.

However, one gripe that I have with it is that it takes so much time to review items, and I think reviews are pretty easy. I want to learn as many characters in as short a period of time, so I changed the setting to let me learn 20 items per day, which has been working out pretty well. However, as of now, I spend around 30 minutes to an hour reviewing items that I find pretty easy for the most part. And it only takes 30 minutes because I’m a pretty fast typer. If I’m on my phone, then it would take me at least twice as long because I can’t type as quickly on my phone.

So, I think that changing the SRS system (or allowing users to change it) could be a good idea because some characters are just easier than others. For example, pronouncing words with common characters like 对手 is pretty easy even if you don’t know the meaning, and removing those words from reviews could save a significant amount of time in the long run. Could it be an idea to make users rate how easy they found an item and based on that, rescheduling to a later time point? This could have the benefit of making the SRS more efficient and making it so users are not stuck doing reviews for too long, which could be potentially demotivating. It would also allow for a much quicker progression because it would theoretically enable more new items per day.

I get that it would be a bit annoying to rate the difficulty of an item every time, but I think that it could save lots of time in the long run. I also think that it is not too complicated to understand because many people are familiar with the way that Anki works.

Just some food for thought! I love the app, and I love the fact that it keeps being improved based on user feedback.

Have a good day and a happy new year!

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Hi,

I have lately thinking the same thing, especially when it comes to words.
There are many words that I already know or on the other hand, words that I don’t find as useful. It would be great if we could somehow remove them completely, or as you said, use a rating system so that we don’t have to see the words as often.

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Thanks for the feedback!

Is this mainly a problem for words specifically? If you don’t mind my asking, what correct percent do you usually hover around during your reviews? 90%?

Right now our SRS algorithm is a bit simplistic, and we have thought about using a more advanced one that more easily adapts to handle the scenario where one easily gets something right each time (thus scheduling those items less often). We’ve held off on that for a couple of reasons:

  1. The ideal “correct/recall percentage” for most SRS systems is around ~85%-90%, and we find many users hover around that already, showing that we aren’t over-scheduling by too much.
  2. It is a large amount of work, which is fine, but we want to get some other key features done first (like extra study options).
  3. It would change how the SRS stages - and the SRS in general - works, which makes the rollout of such a change much more involved and risky, especially for those who are fine with the current system.

It could very well be that it is mainly words in general that are much easier (I find this to be true myself), so we are only “over scheduling” words, as you both mention, but perhaps not characters/sounds/components. We’ll have to look into the correct/recall percentages across users split out by item type sometime soon to confirm this.

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I usually get around 95% right. I get how changing the SRS system would be a big change, and that other features are more important right now. Thanks for listening to the feedback!

I think an idea could be to implement an option to allow users to opt for choosing a rating system based on how difficult they found an item, so that it’s not a forced change for everyone. Then, if they found it hard, it wouldn’t change its SRS stage and be scheduled again in the same lesson, if they found it moderate, then it would go one stage further, and if they found it easy, it would be upgraded by two stages. I’m not an expert so I don’t know if this is a good idea, but this is just something I thought of.

Thanks for listening to users! I really enjoy this about your platform.

Have a nice day!

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Yeah ideally we could rate items as hard/easy, but instead of overhauling the SRS system, I would like a skip SRS level feature that bumps the item +1 level. I would use it for

  • Words that I am familiar with from immersion
  • Words that are trivially understood from their hanzi (e.g. 海运)
  • Words that got to a low stage from typos or mistakes that I could easily self correct.
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I am reminded of the whole “low-key anki” series, which you can read through the beginning here if you’re interested.

There are two key insights I would extract from it.

We can’t really judge how well we know something

Not to mention the ever-present possibility that the only reason you found a card easy to answer in a specific moment was due to the same sort of memory fluke that I talked about in the previous section. In fact, ja-dark actually cited studies that found that people’s subjective judgments of how well they know something are highly inaccurate. So, just because a card felt easy to answer at the specific moment you reviewed it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is less intrinsically difficult than Anki had previously thought, and thus can safely have its interval grow at an expedited pace. If you mistakenly grade a card “easy,” it’s extremely likely that its interval will grow too quickly, leading you to lapse it in the future.

decision fatigue

From Wikipedia:

“In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making. For instance, judges in court have been shown to make poorer quality decisions late in the day than they do early in the day. Decision fatigue may also lead to consumers making poor choices with their purchases. There is a paradox in that “people who lack choices seem to want them and often will fight for them”, yet at the same time, “people find that making many choices can be [psychologically] aversive.” Notably, major politicians and businessmen such as former United States President Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg have been known to reduce their everyday clothing down to one or two outfits in order to limit the number of decisions they make in a day.”

You are already straining your mind trying to correctly answer your cards; you don’t want to be wasting additional mental energy deciding how well you knew something. Ja-dark also cited a study that found that self-scoring how successful you were at recalling something taxes working memory. Eshapard summed it up perfectly when he said, “From my experience, it really slows you down if you’re always trying to figure out whether a card you remembered was Good, Hard, or Easy. These are really subjective categories and it’s a lot of work to try to use these options for all but the most obvious cases. […] Trying to remember the facts is mental effort enough for me. I don’t need to split hairs over how difficult the card was.”

Either you already know the card as well as you would like to, and press “good,” or you would like to know it better than you currently do, and press “again.” It’s that simple. And because the answer to this binary choice should be obvious in nearly all cases, not only is decision fatigue minimized, conserving your mental energy for actually answering your cards, but also time spent making decisions about how to grade cards is reduced; shaving just a few milliseconds off your average answer time can lead to saving large amounts of time in the long term. In this way, low stakes (no ease penalties + high “New Interval” after lapse) makes grading less stressful, and binary choices make grading more clear-cut, in turn preserving mental energy and allowing users to grade cards more quickly.

The above two insights drove some reasoning around the Undo button, because it can add cognitive load–you have to decide if it’s worth undoing or not every time you answer a card.

In the case of the Undo button, I think the cognitive load is low enough and adds value :slight_smile:

Both of the above key insights could be challenged, e.g. we can justify how well we know something by how often we interact with it in immersion as @lorentz points out and that sort of reasoning sounds great.

The above two insights are interesting to consider with the central problem: time to complete reviews.

We’re still not sure what we’ll do next about it, all of the suggestions thus far in this thread have some weight to them regardless of the above two insights.

Thinking out loud, there are some ways to make reviews even quicker that aren’t necessarily about “skipping” but instead changing the interaction.

One idea would be Autocomplete – There’s still the active recall part, but your keystrokes are reduced since you can just tab to the answer you think is best.

Thanks for the feedback!

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I haven’t read this series but this two points are I big reason why I dislike using Anki, very interesting!

Personally I’m not too bothered about having some easy items on my reviews, makes it easier to get in the flow :smile:

But yeah, I can see how this might bother some users so adding ways to help with that might be a good thing, as long it’s just an option.

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