LingQ Update – Assignments by Language

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On today’s show, Mark and Jill discuss how members can see all their active assignments in order to delete or archive them. There is now a list that indicates a member’s number of active assignments per language. They also discuss future enhancements to the LingQ forum.

Mark: Welcome everyone to the EnglishLingQ Podcast again.

Mark Kaufmann here with Jill Soles.

What’s new today Jill?

Jill: Well, it’s Friday, so I guess that’s not new.

We have a Friday every week, but Friday is a good day.

Mark: Friday is a good day and it’s particularly good today because the sun is shining.

Jill: Not a cloud in the sky.

Mark: Not a cloud in the sky.

We haven’t had too many days like this recently.

Yeah, and on Fridays, of course, it’s our LingQ update day where we try to keep you all up to date to the latest happenings on LingQ, so why don’t we just get right on into it.

Not a whole lot of new features out this week, but a few small things that actually should be quite helpful for many of you, many of our members.

The first one is…and we had a lot of emails from Customer Service and comments from various people about the changes that occurred when we put in our payment system and the fact that people were then required to have a certain number or were limited by their active assignments number.

There were a lot of issues because people couldn’t understand.

They thought they had deleted or archived all their active assignments, but they were still being told that they had too many and they didn’t know where they were.

The one thing that we did this week to help that situation is that we now list…wherever we show your active assignments number we now list the number of assignments per language.

Very often in the questions that people were asking when they contacted us they would say oh, I’ve deleted all my items, but it’s still showing that I have 20; I don’t understand.

Very often the other 20 items were in other languages and they just hadn’t focused on the fact that they’d been to other languages and taken stuff.

Jill: Right, they were just looking at the language that they were studying right then, which maybe was English and they had deleted or archived all those items and didn’t change their language to Japanese, French and Spanish if maybe they had, at some point, taken items from the store in those languages.

They needed to go to all of their languages and delete or archive and so now there’s a list to at least show them how many active assignments they have in what languages.

Mark: And so that answers two questions: one, where their assignments are and two, people wondered also whether that limit applied to all languages or was per language and so it is for all languages and I think that those numbers show it and it’s kind of a good, fun, thing to see.

It shows you which languages you’re active in, so that’s one thing we added.

The other small thing that we have done and we had some comments on the Forum…I can’t remember now exactly who…

Jill: Irene mentioned, there were a few people who mentioned, about the pictures; uploading images.

Mark: Yeah, I know the username of the one guy is APBL.

I don’t know his name, but he also I think mentioned that it’s… you know, we want our members to share content with us; to create content and upload it and share it or to find content online and import it and share it and we realize that it is tough.

We have size restrictions for the image.

The image does have to be 120 pixels by 120 pixels and people have difficulty getting their images the right size to be accepted by our system.

The one thing we’ve done now is you don’t have to have an image.

If you don’t want to find an image or can’t find one the right size you can upload the content without an image and you’ll get a default LingQ image instead.

Jill: That should make it a lot easier to upload content and share it in the store.

Mark: For sure.

I mean all these things, all these settings or requirements that we have, every time we have one it makes it more difficult for people to create and share content.

We would remove them all if we could because we want to make it as easy as possible and absolutely we’ll work at making that process as easy as possible as we go forward, but…

Jill: We have to have some guidelines as well for the quality of sound files and sometimes, you know, it has to be a certain bit rate or frequency or whatever.

Mark: Right. I mean, we are limited by the technologies sometimes.

Like our audio player on the site, if the audio isn’t the correct frequency then it won’t play properly so, yes, we have that requirement.

You know, maybe in the future we’ll be able to automatically convert all sound files to the correct frequency, but it’s just not something we can afford to do right now, so we have that requirement and the same with the image.

You know, we want all the image sizes on our site to be uniform so that the pages look neat and the content when it’s displayed looks neat and proportions are correct and if we have no size restriction on the image then it just creates problems.

For those reasons we have the requirement, but as I said, at least in the case of the image we can make it so that you don’t need an image, which we’ve done.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: Other than that, I mean, we fixed a…you know, we’re always fixing little things here and there, but nothing that most of you would probably notice.

We are very happy with the interaction we’ve had on the forums so far and lots of good suggestions.

Jill: A few people asking questions about phrases and words already.

Mark: I think we haven’t had as many questions asked in the other languages besides English, but I think that will come.

I mean, people have to get more used to the system, but yeah, no, it’s exciting.

Of course, the Forum has to get much better; the functionality has to get much better.

I mean, I know you were talking earlier about somehow being able to watch the Forum.

Jill: Yeah, on The Linguist the Forum we used then, which wasn’t our own Forum, you could watch whatever Forums you wanted to watch and so any time anybody posted something on that Forum you would receive an email letting you know that something new was posted and you would just click on the link in the email and be taken right to the thread or the post, so that was very convenient.

Right now, unfortunately, you have to go and look and look through all the Forums to find questions and answers and so even if you create a thread asking about something you will not receive an email telling you that it’s been answered.

You have to go check and see if your question has been answered, so I think we have plans, eventually, to have some sort of emailing notification system.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, I guess in The Linguist we used a third-party forum system that we were able to integrate into our system, but in our new system, for various technical reasons, it would be much more difficult to integrate a third-party forum into our system and because we integrate the question from the…you know, when you ask a tutor from your LingQ widget we integrate the term and the content item that you found it in and we put that into the Forum.

There is some integration involved it was just more difficult for us to integrate into an existing forum than it was to build our own, but of course, when you build your own then, you know, you build something to which you gradually add features.

We just wanted to get a working forum up for our members to talk to each other and with us, so that’s what we’ve done and now, yes, we’ve got to improve it and we will do and are doing right now.

Number one on our list, absolutely, is the email notifications so that you can ask to be…to follow…or you can follow a forum or you can follow a thread and every time there’s a post you’ll get an email letting you know.

That’s, obviously, very standard to most forums and it’s something we have to add quickly.

We’ll do other things too like, you know, making it easier to follow…on the Forum…making the thread easier to follow.

Right now it’s a little, I mean, I wouldn’t say jumbled, but it’s not as clear as some forums that you see and so we’ll be doing stuff to improve that.

We’ll be adding, hopefully our RSS feeds to allow people to follow the forums that way.

We’ll be, again, you know, maybe a little further out, adding profiles to the site in general, which will be viewable on the Forum.

Jill: Profiles of members you mean?

Mark: Profiles of members, so if you see someone’s post you can click on their username and see whatever information they’ve decided to share about themselves, which, I think can just help…

Jill: …create more of a community feel.

Mark: Exactly.

Jill: Yeah and, I guess, another sort of minor issue too is the ability to edit any of your own posts or threads.

Mark: Yeah, absolutely, we have to add that too.

Yeah, that’s on our list too.

Yeah, I mean you should be able to edit your own posts.

I know I’ve been in the situation where I’ve put something up and oh, I should have said this or I made a typo and so yeah, that has to come too, for sure.

I know you don’t make typos, so.

Jill: I wouldn’t say that, actually, but your dad for sure doesn’t make typos.

Mark: That’s right.

Jill: No, I mean, who doesn’t make typos?

It’s so easy to make a typo.

Mark: Exactly and it’s, you know, very often it’s easier to see your typos after you’ve posted it and you’re reading it on the Forum and oh, yeah, I did that wrong.

So yeah, we have to have an edit function for sure.

Otherwise, I think, you know, as far as the Forum goes, you know, any of you listening if you have suggestions, please, we’re always happy to get them on the Forum.

If you see it on another forum and you’d like to have that feature on our Forum, chances are we can make it happen, eventually.

Chris, actually, from New Zealand, suggested on the Forum that we offer banners that people can use as part of their signature when they’re visiting other forums and so we will do that and find a place to provide that.

It’s just a good way to have those of you who are active on other forums promote LingQ, which we’re always happy to have so, you know, keep a lookout for that.

We’ll probably put…we’ll mention it in the Forum, we’ll mention it on the LingQ Central Blog and kind of go from there.

What else is new Jill?

I know you’re very close to having us some T-shirts.

Jill: Yeah, that’s right; they’ll be T-shirts, LingQ T-shirts and tank tops.

Basically, a T-shirt for men and a couple different types of tank tops for girls, for women that you can order right online and then they’re shipped to you.

Hopefully, those will be ready soon, maybe even by next week, and when they are we’ll definitely talk about it then and give the URL for where you can purchase them.

Mark: That would be great.

For those of you dying to have your LingQ T-shirt they’re on their way.

I know I’ll be wearing mine.

Well, with that we’ll wrap up our LingQ update this week and I guess wish you all a good weekend and we’ll…

Jill: …see you Monday, yeah.

Mark: Yeah, okay.

Jill: Thanks.

Mark: Bye, bye.

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