For the past 3 years, I've been building an iPhone app for studying Japanese via flashcards. Today, (with Fabrice's gracious permission) I'd like to share it with the Kanji Koohii community! I'm opening it up as a private beta before the public launch so that I can start taking your feedback into account while I iron out the remaining details. This forum has always been one of my top resources over the years, so I'm excited to have something of my own to give back.
Why build a new flashcards app?
Valid question! I built this out of my own frustrations with existing software out there. Besides what I hope to be an overall superior user experience, it comes with extra Japanese-specific features.
- Flashcards are best for retaining, not necessarily for learning new material. Despite that, it's a popular use-case; so, Manabi lets you scroll down on a card to learn more about it: it'll automatically pull in example sentences from Twitter and Weblio, and let you easily look up the word in a real dictionary (not just EDICT, as wonderful as it is). This helps you build new associations to native materials if you decide to use Manabi to learn new expressions that you didn't encounter "in the wild". (It's also just fun to use Twitter for studying!)
- Features a novel method of grading cards that optimizes for the common case, while still letting you mark them as "Too Hard" to "Too Easy" if you need to.
- The flashcard editor understands kanji, so it automatically puts furigana above them without making you use a special notation.
- Kanji-writing cards automatically include stroke animations.
Of course, Manabi has the standard features we've come to expect from flashcards in the year of 2016: a refined "SM-2" spaced-repetition algorithm; decks can be shared with other users (and any non-destructive changes are automatically synced to subscribers of a deck); self-graded rather than multiple choice, to allow for active recall; and so on. (There's no offline support yet, but I'm working on it—I just wanted to get this into people's hands first for those who have connectivity most of the time, but I totally understand the need for studying on the subway, on vacation, etc. so I can assure you it's coming.)
So, let's get started!
Sign-up for the private beta (or just send me a PM here). I've already launched the beta at the start of the year, and I'm improving it on a regular basis now that it's live. To be up-front on pricing: Manabi is free while in beta, and it will be a commercial product once it launches. I'm not looking to quit my day job with Manabi—pricing is not yet finalized, but will be used to fund its continued development, and will include a discount for students. As thanks for early feedback from the community, I'll extend free service to beta testers for a generous period after launch.
Edited: 2017-02-09, 8:56 pm