Add visual cues to make it clear that Hard is not a failing grade

Now that people are using FSRS and are becoming aware of the issue with misusing the Hard button, some people have said that to make things more clear, we need to rename buttons and somehow inform the users that Hard/Good/Easy are passing grades and only Again is a failing grade. Aside from renaming them, one additional thing we could do is increase the distance between Again and Hard in the UI, like this:

This creates a “This button is not like the others” feeling.
Do I think that devs will actually rename Again to Forgot/Fail? Most likely no. But I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask.


I agree to the additional thing but not with the renaming. Don’t do this to my beloved Again button :pleading_face:


There has been a feature named Forget. So I don’t recommend renaming the button with Forget.


Fair point. Then “Fail” or something like that.
“Bad” is too negative. “Null” isn’t as clear and obvious as “Fail”. Idk if there any other words that can be used.


And “Fail” is not? :grin:

“Again” has an affirmative-tone, focused on learning and trying again. (It also leaves room for “I want to see that one again” without regard to whether the answer was right or wrong.) I don’t think renaming the button to someting more negative is a good idea. And regardless of what name you put on the button – there will still be people who don’t understand what it means or how to use it.

If there’s something that will directly help the minority of users who don’t understand what the buttons mean, focus on that instead of changing the foundational parts of the app that work for most people.

[reluctantly hijacking your suggestion with a completely different proposal]

I remain baffled as to how people start using an app like this without trying to learn anything about it first. Help > Guide should be plenty – but it keeps not being enough to engage with some users. So, what can we do to get those users connected with the “Getting Started” page sooner?

What about a persistent welcome message/link to “Getting Started” displayed on the Decks page (or popping up on start) until a certain threshhold is met? We would need to find a point that will ensure it will go away when it is no longer useful and will not pester experienced users. What are the hallmarks of a “beginnner” to the app? [I don’t know what we already can “count” and what we can’t, so these might not be feasible…]

  • Number of decks besides the Default deck?
  • Non-empty Default deck?
  • Total number of notes in the collection?
  • Amount of time with the app running or number of app “starts”? [probably better that it be focused on the collection, so we don’t have to worry about it triggering on upgrades/reinstalls]


I thought of other measurement criteria –

  • Total number of reviews completed? [might be hard to calibrate what the right number is]
  • Number of days with studying history? [thinking that if we haven’t gotten someone to read the page in a week, it’s probably target-gone-by]

Colors + spacing between buttons could help. I’ve already shown the idea with spacing, as for color, maybe make Again red and the other buttons green?


That is a good idea. From what @Danika_Dakika
said I also have the fear that renaming to “Fail” would make some people averse from using that button. Anyways a Getting Started page or maybe a Getting Started deck would be much more beneficial.

To answer Danika’s question, shouldn’t users be allowed to remove such message by themselves?

I would go even further. There is a significant group of users who used Anki without looking for any manual and documentation, and as result of it, used Hard button when they do not know the answer. This is especially visible now when they switch to FSRS, have very unrealistic intervals and create post about it on this forum and on Reddit.
Maybe switching default Anki UI to having only 2 buttons will mitigate this issue. They can be named incorrect and correct.
Switch to 4 buttons can be moved to application preferences and left for more advanced users.

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That seems a bit radical. I think spacing + coloring is sufficient.
@dae here’s the idea:

  1. Increase the distance between Again and Hard in the UI
  2. Add a red outline to Again and a green outline to other buttons
    Like this:

This should make it much more obvious which button is treated as Fail and should reduce the number of people who misuse Hard without having to add any kind of tooltips or pop-up windows.
EDIT: see, this is what I’m trying to prevent


When FSRS already supports 2 buttons, why do we still need 4 buttons?
If the default settings for FSRS and 2 buttons (:o::x:) are used, it will be possible to use Anki even if the baby is a 5 year old.

I use only 2 buttons :smile:

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But that looks like a failure caused by someone, who doesn’t know what they are talking about, handing out dumb advice. Your proposed solution does nothing to remedy that.

The solution to solve that specific problem would be putting correct and authoritative information inescapably in front of that new user, so that they know they should be questioning/doubting/ignoring the dumb advice.

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Your proposed solution does nothing to remedy that.

Coloring + spacing makes it very obvious that one button is not like the other 3. I have also proposed this, but Dae didn’t like it.

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People who don’t care to read the manual are the prime audience for this – and that sounds like a group of people who might also be quick to remove a message reminding them of the importance of reading at least a little bit of the manual.

I know the idea of putting persistent text on our already crowded Decks screens is a generally repellant idea – but this would be text on a basically empty Decks screen, and I think much less objectionable.

A long time ago, Anki used words like ‘forgot’. Some users felt it had negative connotations and they said they felt bad when pressing it, so the name was changed to something more neutral.


Regarding putting space between again and the other buttons: I imagine the asymmetry will trigger some users’ OCD, and it feels a bit wasteful to permanently increase the minimum window width for the sake for demonstrating the difference.

The buttons are documented fairly early in the manual, but it is true that their differences aren’t explained well inside the UI. As I’ve mentioned before, at the least, we could improve the tooltips shown when hovering over them, though some users don’t notice them.

I also have no objections to colors (though I think there should be more than just red/green), and the mobile clients already use them - the main issue with introducing them to the desktop is that some users will prefer what they had before, which will mean yet another option. The bottom bar is also likely to be reworked at one point when the reviewer and top/bottom bars are merged into a single page, so it would be more efficient to hold off on that work for now.

Another option would be to add in AnkiMobile’s feedback ticks: a briefly-flashing red X when again is pressed, and a yellow/green/blue tick when the other buttons are pressed. I think that’s a fairly unobtrusive way of demonstrating how again is different to the others.


Wow, that version of Anki is even older than the oldest Anki I found in the archives.

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I would also favour colours.

Red, orange/yellow, green, blue.

Edit: With special colour and/or icons mode(s) for the colour blind available in the preferences.

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Please AVOID using just red, orange/yellow, green colours.

This is hard for colour blind users - you should also include some other visual marker (icon, etc).