Here's what's up at zKorean…

After a month and many hours debugging some pretty complex and archaic JavaScript, I’m pleased to announce that the on-screen Korean keyboard is fixed and even improved.

Thanks for your patience. There were a number of items fixed/improved:

  • Fixed where it was finishing a syllable prematurely by starting a new syllable
  • Fixed Chrome issue where keyboard was not loading after a search
  • Fixed caching issues with shorter results
  • Now faster page loading times
  • Faster word lookups
  • Improved support for IE6 and 7

Auto-suggest results

Replacing the Keyboard

Due to recent issues with the on-screen keyboard in entering Korean, I’m replacing it with a better system, but I’m running into trouble.  So please be patient.

While I’m at it, I’m also addressing the issue of the keyboard disappearing in Chrome one you hit Search. Why does this happen? I gotta figure it out.

Thanks for being patient. It’s going to be a long weekend.

Check that box for maximum results!
With help from a very friendly subscriber, I’ve been making great improvements to the Translation Helper.

Let me break it down a bit.  The Translation Helper uses the same dictionary you use to find words on zKorean.  However, since most words that appear in normal texts are not in their dictionary form, the dictionary search fails.  So even on some simple texts, many words you click return no results.

So by checking the option: “Cut common endings to find more matches”, the search will cut off common grammatical endings in order to find the dictionary form.  Well, I’ve added many more grammatical endings to make it smarter and improved how it finds words.  Due to these changes, it is recommended you leave this option checked. It is checked by default now.

Long story short: you’ll be finding many more words now.

It’s only a matter of time and effort to make even more improvements.  So over time you’ll notice results getting better and better.  Some texts, such as news articles, tend to use many words connected together, such as “한국도로공사는” (Korean road construction [with grammatical ending]).  Since there are millions of combinations with simple words connected like this, Translation Helper will probably never be perfect, but it will make it easier than constantly thumbing through the dictionary.

Tip: when using the Translation Helper, if you see a long word, such as “한국도로공사는”, break it into smaller words of two syllables each: “한국 도로 공사는” and you’ll be able to find each word and recreate the original meaning.

I recently added over 600 more words to the dictionary, and Suzy did the pronunciations. 

express

I’ve been going over the dictionary and filling in areas where there should have been basic words but they weren’t there.

So if you searched for a basic words like and were surprised when you couldn’t find them, I’m working hard to fix that.

I have a long way to go, and should be finished with this “back to basics” exercise in the next week.

Thanks to everyone for feedback.

New Site Design

Have ya seen it?

cap_397_annotated

The new site is pretty hot, if I do say so myself. I designed it based on other things I had seen around the web, as well as a new fun bit.

  • Background changer: click the funny-looking button and change the background on zKorean.  This is saved just for you so it’s there when you come back.
  • Maximize/minimize space: this is a feature that was brought in from the previous design. Great for people on small resolution screens like netbooks.
  • Front page additions: recent blog posts, tweets, and testimonials from some cool customers.

Enjoy!  Oh yeah, I still need to apply the style to the blog.  Will soon, okay?

Redesign Still Going…

cap_378 The redesign is taking longer than I expected, but it’s almost done.  I still have to finish the homepage and tour page, as well as styling up the blog to match.  I may just push out the redesign and then style up the blog afterward as to not hold it up.  In any case, should be soon! 

Thanks for your patience.

Site Redesign in the Works

Let’s face it, zKorean is kind of an ugly site.  Lots of orange and brown, kind of 70’s style and not in a good way.  So I’m taking inspiration from modern design around the web and putting it together.

I’m also adding some fun elements. You’ll have to see.

I also need to restyle the blog with this new style, so the blog and the main site will now match.

I want to keep that “maximize space” button for people on small screens, and will keep the announcement box but make it look better.

One somewhat important thing I’m not doing is trying to make it look the same in Internet Explorer 6.  The IE6 traffic has dropped below a certain percentage, so I’m phasing out support. There are some challenges in making IE6 look good nowadays.  The site will still be usable in IE 6, but not as pretty as some other browsers.  I’m also going full-out png support for alpha transparency. So in IE 6 you will see some ugly blocks that do not blend, but in newer browsers it will look very, very nice.

You should be seeing the new site in the next week!

Just added a little tool so you can share your success on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Yahoo!  Push that pretty button!

new button - click it!

share your success!

Have fun learning Korean!

Known Words List is Here

So I’ve been tracking all the words you’ve learned when using flashcards, and now you can see and edit the list.

Click the Study Tools tab, then Known Words.

Words You've Learned

The list is sortable (by default the newest are on top) and if you discover that you forgot a word, you have these options:

  • remove the word from known list and throw it back to the dictionary
  • remove the word from the known list and put it back in your flashcards

Thanks to Chuck Westbrook and Nick for suggesting this!

Enjoy!

Behind the Curtain

Willy WonkaOK, so I’m not Willy Wonka and my confections aren’t nearly as magical.  So what am I working on? Right now I’m finishing up the Known Words List, which will list all the words you’ve learned using the Flashcards.  You know that little button in the Flashcards?  Clicking that button removes the word from your flashcards and adds it to your known words list.  So this new feature will allow you to see the list of these words, and gives the option to either remove a word from the list (meaning you forgot it), or move a word back to your flashcards so you can re-learn it.

Click the button, mkay?

What else you got?

I’m also fixing errors in the dictionary.  Good old Quality Control.  Don’t want you mis-learning something and getting embarrassed when you try to show off.

I’m making changes to the subscription system so that when you cancel, you will still be able to use the remainder of your subscription.  Pretty basic stuff.

I’m planning to add the embedded audio player to the Appearance and Pronunciation pages.  Also planning recordings of all the sentences in the grammar lessons.

Also planning a redesign of the site, as well as this blog.

So much planned, and some of it is secret and will have to stay behind the curtain.  Can’t let Mr. Slugworth find out.

See ya soon!