Apparently the all new Android app was released some time this month but this morning is the first time I’ve seen it. (I sometimes use the app to quickly check my sentence progress while I’m playing on a notebook, but mostly use it when I’m on my way too/from work. Since I’ve been working from home for the last month I’m currently using it less than normal so I may have missed it when it first came out.)
First impressions… OUTSTANDING, @Mike ! I like the new graph on the dashboard; it’s a useful reminder that I’m not doing as many new sentences as I should be. The collection display is clean and clear and I love that you can order by either last played or alphabetical in List view; that’s something that I’d love to see come across to the Web as well. (It probably doesn’t matter as much for those with a smaller number of collections but I have 74, soooo… yes, sometimes it’s a tad fiddly to find the right one.
I’ll put the key issues that I’ve come across in bold below to make them clearer at a glance.
There may be one small bug in the collections list; it looks like the Android app doesn’t show any personal collections which have no sentences played. I have a small collection called “Body Parts” which has only 6 sentences. (Obviously a work in progress.) I reset it to see what the progress bar would look like in the app display. Instead the collection didn’t display at all. I played one sentence on the Web, refreshed the app and the collection displayed again. To prove it wasn’t a one off, I repeated the experiment with a collection called “Behaviour” (23 sentences). Once again the collection disappeared from the list when it was reset to zero, and reappeared when one sentence had been played on the web.
Then I looked at the play options themselves and… be still my beating heart, YES, an option for speaking! I played some sentences in German and it worked perfectly. To me, leaving the microphone on between sentences was inspired; having to hit record after every sentence is easy on a keyboard, less easy on a phone.
There is one small bug. I intentionally didn’t say anything for a short while other than a loud cough. The recording stopped (that’s fine), the [Record] button reappeared (also fine), but the caption above that button still shows the word “Recording…”, even though it clearly isn’t.
There is one thing that isn’t a bug but which I think is a missing feature in speaking mode. After you have answered the question, one of the icons (the one that looks like a speaker) allows you to play the sentence back again. On the web, you can play the sentence at any time by using [Ctrl]+[Spacebar]. However on the app you DON’T have the option of playing the sentence before saying it. Why would you want to? For me, speaking is about burning it into my memory in an active way, and the fact that I may have heard the answer before I say it doesn’t detract from that. BUT, in German in particular where I am just not familiar with a lot of words yet, I sometimes get that “on the tip of my tongue but can’t reach it” feeling, and I’ll hit playback. It’s also useful if the sentence is ambiguous and there are several clozes that would be equally valid. In summary, could we please have a playback button which shuts off the recording for the moment and plays back the sentence BEFORE the sentence is answered?
Finally, most of the icons after answering (set to 100%, ignore, etc) have a confirmation dialog (which is good). But could we have the OPTION of requiring a confirmation having a confirmation dialog on the pre-question buttons? My finger brushed against “See Answer” when I was moving to the text entry box to test whether I was on the right track, and instead of asking me “Do you really want to see the answer” it just gave me the “Mee-nerp!” of death and told me that I had the question wrong. That’s way too easy to do on a small screen.
But overall… great stuff, and thank you!