I've started work yesterday on a non-SRS flashcard review mode.
No promises, ETAs or anything. But it's been on my mind for a while. I think most people new to the site are also new to SRS and are confused by it. When I started the book I wanted to do lots of reviews. I would often review the last lesson, and over the weekend review a full stack (paper cards). Eventually the users would turn to the SRS mode when they feel more comfortable or trusting about the mnemonic process.
Usability wise, the "non SRS" mode also doesn't require a trip through the Manage pages. This is a big plus for new users.
So far I've thought of the following options:
1) From: ___ To: ___ (Heisig frame number range)
2) Lesson: ___ (RTK1 or RTH1 lesson numbers)
I don't have the lesson numbers for RTK3/RTH2, and they may be problematic in fact (it's easier to regroup all of RTK3 in one lesson on the progress page).
Editing the story during "free mode" reviews seems like it would work.
Adding/deleting cards via the tool icon in the top right of the card: I may be tempted to disable it altogether at first to implement in steps, but there may be some use cases for it.
I'm thinking of using the new, "lifelike" grid display of flashcards from the Manage pages for the Review summary and perhaps a grid/list toggle.
Also I haven't come up with a good name for it, any suggestions other than "free mode"? I will have to distinguish them from the SRS reviews, in some way.
Non-SRS based lesson reviews have been added. Just click the Review link next to each lesson in the Progress page.
Using "Review" to refer to both SRS and non-SRS "reviews" could easily be confusing for some users. Probably the difference could be made more evident by calling non-SRS reviews "Cramming", both in the Lesson list and the "Cramming" section.
I gave a try to the new non-SRS review mode and it looks great.
Sometimes uncommon words pop-up which could confuse inexperienced students, but besides that it looks like a great improvement on the basic flashcard design.
There's a little detail that got carried into the new mode, after you finish a session, where the message is the one from the normal mode:
Below is the list of flashcards from your last review session. Click the column titles to sort on frame number, keyword, etc.
But in the new mode that page has no columns.
There's also a small grammar slip in the progress page:
The Test links lets you review (...)
About the name, "Test" is much better than "Review" in that it isn't the same word, but it probably sounds similar enough to confuse people. I think a small pop-up asking confirmation to review without using the SRS would be a final solution to prevent misunderstandings. If it had a link to the "Learn more" page for new users that probably don't even know what SRS is would be the finishing touch. Yes, I know there's a message in the page explaining that those "Tests" don't use SRS, but I think the pop-up would help cover all the bases against users making the wrong use of the site.
Congratulations for the new mode, it looks promising.
I had an idea about choosing example words. If people will be able to choose what words they want on their flashcards, it would follow that people can "vote" words, so that they get displayed in order of "most voted", like in the study page. Nevertheless, in the case of vocabulary people would "vote" words with very different criteria: some people would vote the simplest words they can use with the kanji they know, others would vote the most complex/rare, others would vote words that appear on the textbook they're using, others would vote vocabulary they see on their daily life, etc. If people could not just vote, but tag words, and tags were shared among all users, and users could then choose what tags have priority when reviewing, that would give place to a nice amount of customization that could put this site on a new level of usefulness (and awesomeness too).