I’ve written about my… rather intense feelings about flash cards… before. Actually, many times, but that post has links to all the other times. Anki drains me, and things like Duolingo or Memrise waste my time – the flash cards per minute on those are dismally low. Part of that is they don’t trust you to be honest about whether you remembered something. Part of it is a lot of blocking animations, celebrating the smallest success and beating you over the head with failures.
Anki is much more efficient, but it almost provides too much insight. I have the cards I should do today, and I know exactly how much time I’ve spent and I get focused in on that false sense of completion. Because there is no completing what I use flash cards for: learning. But Anki thinks there is. If I miss a day or just don’t review as much as I’d like, it haunts me. The next day, I have even more to do, and keeping it from spiralling out of control is nearly impossible. There are so many charts. All of them will remember my temporary failures forever.
But my app won’t. It hardly remembers anything.
I used to do 60 minutes of 1-card-every-1.4-seconds flash cards, and it would suck the soul right out of me. It created this really strange sense of deja vu (although not quite an illusion – I’d seen those cards before, frequently the previous day, which is a design flaw I’m not the first to fix). I was an automaton, in those moments, as much good as it’s done me. Truly an unpleasant experience.
So I’ve removed some of the sign-posts, added some positive feedback, and made the keyboard shortcuts more comfortable and less confusing. I also made sure re-importing works well so you can export to a CSV, open it up and monkey around with the data in Excel, and drop it back in.
I imagine I’ll be monkeying around with this in the days to come – there are lots of ways to make something like this comfortable. But all the basics are there. Enjoy!