so as the title already says, I am looking for some people as beta testers, because yes… I have a new feature called:
My New Favorite Feature
Because you can now pick favorites in the dictionary.
Most of you are probably familiar with my dictionary at this point. If you don’t know what I mean… that’s basically what you see when you use the search function of the site. There’s over 9.000 entries in there at this point and I am slowly building out the meaning, definitions, examples and family relations.
The goal is actually to have my own vocabulary trainer, and the first step toward that is now finished, because you can now mark your own favorites.
So you can create your own personalized vocabulary selection that you can quickly check and review any time.
And that’s not all, actually… .
There are two things that make my system kind of special and one of a kind
2 cool features
And the first thing that makes my system kind of special is the fact that it is NOT centered around words, but around what I call meanings.
Well, actually, I usually call it “ideas” when I think about this stuff but I think meanings might be more intuitive here.
“Meanings” rather than words
One of the challenges of language learning is that words, especially verbs, tends to have more than one meaning and a meaning can itself have multiple possible translations.
Just take the German verb vorstellen which can mean
- to imagine, to picture
- to introduce, to present
- set ahead for your watch.
And while some meanings might be really common, another one might be kind of useless. Or it’s only used in writing or something.
That’s why I have decided that instead of marking words as favorites, it makes more sense to mark meanings as favorites.
So for vorstellen, you could only mark to introduce and to imagine and ignore the last one, because it’s kind of useless.
Doesn’t seem like a big deal, maybe, but trust me… it is. At least in the future once I have expended this into an actual vocabulary trainer...muahahahahahahahahahah.
And it also makes a BIG difference for the other cool functionality… taking notes.
Adding your own notes
If you’ve used my dictionary, you’ll probably have seen that I’m trying to give important usage notes for each of the meanings. Sometimes, it’s grammar, sometimes it’s a context when NOT to use it and sometimes it’s just info about tone.
Anyway, for the favorites, you can actually now and your own notes. Isn’t that awesome?!
So you can note down something that helps YOU remember the meaning.
And yes, it’s not one note for the entire word, but you can add a notes for each meaning separately.
I think that’s pretty cool and no one else really has that :).
So… that’s the new feature in a nutshell, and now it’s time to check out some screenshots of how it actually looks in practice.
A first look
Once the favorite feature is live, you’ll see a little heart beside each of the separate meanings in the dictionary.
Want to add a meaning to favorites – just click the little heart and it’s done :)
Here’s how an entry looks in the search results of the dictionary.
And here’s the same for the detailed entry view:
So that’s one part of it, but the most important thing is of course the place where you can see ALL your favorites together.
And that’ll look something like this:
And here’s a closer look at how to add your notes:
And here’s one with a word that has multiple meanings:
As you can see, even ideas that are not your favorites are still displayed and notes you might have added at some point are still visible.
The reason is that most of you would probably want to know how many meanings a words has, and also which ones, without having to look it up again.
The real purpose of these “favorites” is actually “meanings I am actively practicing“, and it’ll be relevant later once I have expanded this into a vocabulary trainer… *cue evil laugh.
Seriously though, if you’re confused… don’t worry. It’s not that important right now, but it’s a fundamental database design decision that’ll allow a lot of functions that wouldn’t really be possible if you “just” favorited the entire word. Like adding individual notes to each of the meanings.
Now, this is by no means complete and there are a few things that I want to implement fairly soon:
- filter your favorites by active/inactive
- search your favorites
UPDATE: pretty much done as a basic version
- display your own notes in the single dictionary entries, as well
UPDATE: I actually pretty much did that today. Took half an hour to code. So so happy :D:D:D
- for each article, make the relevant vocabulary accessible there, including “my favorite”-function
Now, so far, it has worked well when I tested it, but it’s kind of a big piece of software and we made everything ourselves, including the database design.
So before rolling it out to all the members, I want to make sure it’s runs smoothly and I’d also like to see of there’s any big pain points with the usage.
And that’s why I am looking for a few beta testers.
Become a Beta Tester
If you don’t know what beta testers are… that’s the word for people who use software before it is completely ready.
And I’m looking for 5-7 of you who want to try out the feature and give me some feedback on how it works, what you like, what you don’t like, what functionality you’d like to have and of course if there are any bugs.
I only have two requirements:
1. You need to be a member.
The feature is only for members, so you need to have an active membership. And because you’ll be writing notes, I’d prefer if you have at least 3 months of membership left.
Oh… and members with a sponsored membership are of course normal members, too, so feel free too apply!
2. You need to be an active user of the dictionary
For the testing, I’d prefer people who already use the dictionary regularly to look up vocabulary. If you only use it occasionally, the chance that you run into a bug or an annoying little usage problem are much lower than if you use the dictionary all the time. So yeah… some of you are using the dictionary a lot, and I’d love to have you as beta testers for this feature, too :)
If you’re interested in testing this out and playing around and you fulfill the two criteria above… just leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you soon.
And even if you don’t want to be a beta tester, I’d love to hear what you think about the feature and if you’d use it once it’s out.
So yeah, leave a comment with your thoughts and questions below :).
Thanks a lot in advance, have a great week and I’ll see you next time.
Oh… and just to make sure, please note:
You CANNOT access or see any of this on the site yet. It is only displayed to me at the moment and the beta testers soon ;)
Looking forward to the vocab trainer! The issue of German words mapping to multiple English meanings is one that comes up often when I’m curating my flashcard deck (I use Duocards).
However, the issue that comes up even more often is a single English word mapping to multiple German words. Like, is “receive” bekommen or erhalten? Sometimes there are subtle differences (e.g. here I think erhalten is more formal), other times almost no difference in meaning. In my flashcard deck I’ll sometimes annotate the English word with a hint as to which German word I’m looking for (e.g. “receive (formal)”). Do you think your vocab trainer will help with that kind of thing – preferably without me having to enter manual notes!
Thanks again for this great resource. I’ve started using your dictionary a lot more recently compared to using Google translate precisely because of the extra context it gives, though it seems optimized for German to English rather than the other way round.
I am trying to give indications about usage and tone when I make the entries to the dictionary. So you’ll often see stuff like “is rare” or “sounds formal” or “XYZ is more idiomatic in daily life”.
But part of the reason for the note feature is that you can tailor your own hints so you immediately know what translation of a word is asked for.
Oh and yes, it’s a “German first” dictionary. So the German words are at the core of the database, not the English ones. It’s a somewhat simple design, and a many to many match-up with separate notes and annotations would have been better, but it was a bit beyond what we can do without significant upfront investment :)
I’dl like to join you for testing, but unfortunately I’m not a proficient user of the dictionary. It looks amazing and I wish you the best for the benefit of your community, your team and you personally
I’ll release the feature for all soon, so you’ll be able to use it if you want to :)
I’d love to be a beta tester!
Thanks a lot for being up for it. I have enough people at the moment, but I’ll add a second round soon, or make it available to all members. I’ll let you know :)
Nice username by the way!
Thanks, I’m really looking forward to this function, it will really take the website to the next level.
Und vielen Dank für das Kompliment :)
Love the new addition.
is it just me or the like/unlike action for a meaning seems to take a long time?
It varies for me and sometimes is up to a second, but not more.
How long does it take for you? And what part of the world are you in?
Yeah it varies for me too.
About 1 s on average but it goes up to 2 s in some cases.
Ah, I think it’s a connection issue then. My hosting is halfway around the planet and the browser talks to the server every time you favorite something and has to wait for a reply.
I can’t speed that up, but I could maybe make a “loading” icon to make it appear a little more interactive :).
Or I could preemptively change the color, making you THINK it’s done, when it actually isn’t. The problem with that is that people then might click the next one right away and clogg up the pipeline with requests.
I think I’ll go for the loading indication… what do you think?
Yeah a loading icon is perfect if the speed can’t be improved. The lag might be less noticeable if added.
The second suggestion might open up another can of worms.
Adding Notes Box: This is a tiny nit, but I notice in the beta version that every time I open the box to add a note my cursor shows up most of the way across the top line rather than at the beginning of the top line. Maybe that is my computer, or desirable for some reason, but I thought I’d mention it.
Btw, do you want input on small typos/spelling issues — or only those that might be confusing?
I’ve noticed that gap, too. I am not sure where it comes from at the moment. I must have a line break somewhere in the code but I need to find it.
As for typos, yes, fire away, as long as it’s not too many at once :)
Thanks a lot Emanuel for signing me up for a free year membership!
@emanuel the dark mode is a bit odd in some places :)
Oh, I know, but I don’t always know where :).
I am still exploring the new layout of the site and darkmode is kind of in beta still.
If you see something, please please tell me and I’ll fix it, but I don’t have time atm to go through the site proper.
I would like to thank you for letting me join the membership. Your blogs have helped me a lot. It means a lot. On the other notes i would love to be a beta tester !!
Emanuel, I’ll be delighted to be a Beta tester. Sounds like a great idea.
Also, one idea to throw into the hopper. It would be great if the vocabulary trainer, when fully built out, would do flash cards so one could train using that — and ideally it would be lovely if one could set the flash cards to pull up words randomly or in groups of words the user created — or in some cases for logical groupings, perhaps you created.
Flashcards is the plan. But each card is for a meaning, not one word, so one word can have multiple cards. For each card, you’ll have your own custom notes, that can give you a hint.
I’ve planned out the data base to enable users to create their own decks, too.
Not sure about the practice options, but ideally, speaking will be one of them.
Lots of work though. It’ll take a while, unless I find a wealthy venture capital investor :)
Kein Problem. Ich freue mich auf den Beta-Test.
I’m a recent member but would be happy to be a tester.
SURE. I am in. Sign me up to Beta.
I can’t because you’re not signed in as a member ;).
When it goes live, not ‘life’ (sorry to correct your otherwise excellent English!)
Thanks :). One of the mistakes I just can’t stop making.
Sounds like a great feature! I’ve so far not managed to incorporate the dictionary into my routine so I’m not a very active user yet. But looking forward to seeing this feature in it’s final form
Though I have not been using your dictionary that much up to now, I will happily start using it a lot, in order to become a tester for you. But from the comments, it seems you have far better testers than me lining up to help you. No surprise!
Every tester is different, there’s no better or worse :). Input from someone with a coding background is great, but most people don’t have that, so input from someone who has NO coding background is just as valuable.
You refer to “the dictionary.” Would this be a particular dictionary that you are composing to which I have no access at this time, or can it refer to any German-English, English-German dictionary such as Duden, Collins, New Bantham ? Or is this an on-line vocabulary list (dictionary) that I compose with your help ?
I mean my own dictionary that I am building. You access it whenever you use the search function on my site, and it’s accessible for everyone.
Just enter a word (German or English) and you’ll get results like in a normal dictionary.
Ich freue mich auf diese tolle Feature! Ich bin gerne eine Tester ob du noch jemanden brauchst. es kann auch mir druecken mehr Zeit fur deutsch zu lernen
*wenn du noch jemanden brauchst ;)
Hast du das Wörterbuch bisher schon benutzt?
hey! thank you Emanuel for all your efforts.I just want to ask about “indefinitpronomen” sth. I couldn’t find an article about “jemand(?),mehr, niemand” etc. How can ı use this words in sentence?
This is a very broad topic and I haven’t covered it in an article.
That’s a very broad and open question. You’d use them like you’d use them in any language is all I can answer to that.
If you need help, you’d need to be more specific as to what it is that you’re struggling with.
I’m a bit concerned that if you make things too elaborate, people will be put off by the complexity. Also, while I might have a “favourite” usage, I still want to know what the commonest usage and context is. If I’m always presented with “my favourite” usage, I may never step out of my comfort zone? On another matter, is “auschecken” a separable verb & weak or strong?
You will always see all meanings and the favorite feature is meant for the meanings that you intend to add to your active vocabulary, so you’d most likely add the most common one, as well.
Ultimately, it is a feature meant for flashcards. You will be able to make decks with your favorites and practice them and you deactivate them without losing your notes.
But I see you point about complexity. I have a lot of small features on the site that the majority of readers doesn’t really know about or use because I don’t really communicate them well.
Oh, “auschecken” is separable. I don’t know what “weak” or “strong” really means in this context.
Not wanting to hijack the question/answer flow here, but for German learners it’s definitely worthwhile having a browser tab open to something like
That way you can always just type in a particular verb, and instantly see its infinitive form, its past participle, simple past version, whether it uses “sein” or “haben” as helper verb in making the past tenses, and also whether or not it’s separable.
And as a bonus (should you be so inclined!) you can demarcate the “strong” versus “weak” versus “mixed” verbs based on your own understanding of what membership of each category entails.
How’d you like a YDG browser plugin that displays this stuff when you click a word?
One thing I’d love to have but can’t find a way is conjugation. I do not want to enter this by hand or pay someone full this dull shit work. I asked Verbix.com for access to their API but they don’t reply.
I also don’t want to scrape a website for it or write some complicated code to construct the forms all the time.
I would love to help beta test these features!
Hi Monty, I just wanted to activate the beta for you and I saw that you’re currently not a member. The test only works for active memberships, though. Let me know if you need a sponsorship.
Love the site