Flashcards Deluxe 2.7
Today sees an update to version 2.7
The most noticeable change is there is now some eyecandy in the form of themes for your cards. This makes it a bit more pleasant but isn’t really earth shattering. Although I’m very fond of the Deep Blue theme that is a graded background from Black to Dark Blue, which is more pleasant than the solid black I was using. More notable changes have been quietly made to the interface. The icons used are now more consistent with the iOS look and feel. There are extra options as to what information is displayed with a card and although I no longer have the previous version to compare it with I feel the preferences panes have been more consolidated. Also welcome are two modes in preferences so the advanced preferences are initially hidden from basic users.
The major change is the help files which have been vastly improved and are now also searchable. The help and documentation were some of the weaker points of this app previously. This is no longer the case, the contextual help is now quite comprehensive. I like that it is in the application itself and doesn’t require the user to go to a web site.
All my favourites are still in the app.
- Spaced Repetition.
- The ability to make and edit decks and cards on the iPod itself.
Editing and making decks on a desktop only requires a text editor or for slightly more convenience a spreadsheet.
- A drawing area that is very useful when learning kanji.
Although drawing with your figure ( or thumb if using it one handed) is not ideal it reinforces the kanji and also makes sure you are actually remembering all the strokes correctly.
- Multiple sides to cards. Each having their own statistics.
- Export of decks including statistics via a txt file.
- Relatively simple and uncomplicated.
- No computer needed.
The remaining weak point in the app is importing decks from your PC or Mac. At the moment it’s done through a server the developer keeps for this purpose or through connecting to a shared folder on your computer via Wi-Fi. I think it would be more straightforward if import and export via iTunes could be implemented. According to the developer he is working on Dropbox and GoogleDocs support which should probably go a long way to bridging this gap.
The developer, Ernie, seems very approachable, helpful and willing to listen to what users say about his app and how they use it. The overhaul of the help system and inclusion of a demo deck is testament to this. I’ve never seen a RTFM reply from him on the support forums. He keeps a forum for support and suggestions and the one time I emailed him a got a very prompt reply. He’s just one guy developing a tool based on his own needs. I hope he is making more than beer money from it on the App Store. (I’ve been put off by the apparent elitism of Anki. It’s ethos seems to be that it’s only for the truly dedicated, with the implication that if you don’t use it you’re not dedicated and only good enough for inferior simpler apps. Simplicity in application design is actually hard to achieve. If many users are reporting problems it’s time for some usability testing and interface design. No-one really reads manuals, and no-one wants to spend time learning a program to achieve a simple task.)
I’m toying with the idea of putting together a FileMaker solution to make deck creation and editing a bit easier. I already have the option to export wordlists from Kanji Sieve to Flashcards Deluxe via the developer’s servers.
I’m looking forward to version 2.8 already.