Anki Forums

Really hate where Anki is going with it's new design

I made a video to talk about few issues I have with the new anki interface design, as a long time anki user, I don’t think it is as efficient and productive as what we used to have prior to version 2.1

The old design nearly perfect, all dev had to do was just remove the close button on the delete button on the tabs.

I wonder what was the motivation behind the new interface design? Was it just a personal choice by the developer or was there some practical reasons or strong feedback from the community for the new interface layout?

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Usually Damien listens to user demand. He even reverted some changes in the stats (pie chart) due popular demand. You cannot satisfy all users. Also, remember no one is forcing you to update.

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When you can no longer download addons for 2.0 & every addon is being developed for 2.1

It kinda forces you to update

But I still use Anki 2.0 because the Image Occlusion has the Path Tool working in anki 2.0

My only real gripe with anki 2.1 is that it is a buggy mess whereas I rarely ever got issues with 2.0 (And every 2.1 update breaks half of the top 30 addons, and the addon developers don’t have patience to deal with whining entitled users who give thumbs down because the update broke the addon, and thus, addon developers very often delete their addons)

[moderator note: the following has been edited to remove language that may offend some people]

I see so many entitled user reviews in the Reviews Section of Anki addons, it makes me think to myself, “My dear God you gotta be crazy to tolerate these people for free” and then I remember that’s just what I do

Example of Anki addon whose reviews section is a dumpsterfire of entitled people: https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/24411424

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One important point I forgot to make in the video is that just imagine if your internet browser instead of tabs horizontally alone the top, but instead give you a drop down list the size of the entire horizontal length of the browser. Give one browser that does this? You will not find any browser that does this.

Because the only reason you want to put a dropdown list instead of tabs is because you don’t have space horizontally to put all the tabs.

I am sure the devs uses internet browser on a daily basis, how did he even come up with his idea of a dropdown the size of the entire length of the window is just absolutely insane.

And I think he knows this is weird with all the spaces, so what does he do? Instead of just having the name of the card in the dropdown, he does this

{card number}: {card name}: ^ {field name} {field name} {field name} {field name} {field name} {field name} {field name} {field name}

Which makes finding your card in the dropdown list even harder. And it disables the ability to use keyboard, now I have to memorise the card number instead of it’s name. So instead of F for my formula card type, I have to memorise what order is my formula and hit the number, or find it in the dropdown list. Just nuts.

All browsers, chrome, edge, firefox all use the the exactly the same tab system, you have tabs and a plus button at the end of the last tab, when there are too many tabs, tabs auto adjust. Simple, logical and easy to see and switch.

This is just crazy downgrade in terms of GUI design. Maybe there is a reason behind it? The code is easier for dropdown list? IDK, from an end user perspective, just absolutely stupid, I simply have no other words to describe it.

Quite bold to literally call the developer of an open-source project from which you profited for years stupid, just saying.

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I don’t think I said anything like that. I never called dev stupid.

I said the changes made to the interface is stupid after 2.0.41 and the decision to make those changes stupid. I have given my reasons in the videos, given the current ubiquitousness of res screens for desktop and the decrease in productivity of the newer versions of anki due to the changes in the interface.

I have shown in my video how the interface changes caused increased number of steps to achieve the goals.

I have shown the new interface is not using the desktop monitor real estate effectively.

And in my humble opinion, those interface changes are stupid. And just because something is open source, it does not grand the developer immunity from criticism.

Developer can’t just make changes to a software without research, consultation or basic common sense and design logic and expect just praise because it is open source.

Anyways I don’t want to open another can of worm whether open source dev are open to criticism or not, Damian as a dev made some questionable changes, I as a end user gave an honest feedback with I have laid out my reasonings.

So far no one from the dev team or the community has made any counter points to any of my issues themselves.

Indeed, you didn’t call dae himself stupid, but his decisions and his actions. Maybe the latter isn’t as rude as the former, but surely, you wouldn’t call this constructive criticism?

Those are just unfounded imputations. How do you even get the idea that he is “expecting just praise”? @guillempalausalva has already responded to this.

Even if every single criticism of yours was true, with your impertinent and offending tone, you have made it impossible to have a fact-based, constructive discussion. To respond to the content of your comments would mean to legitimise the manner in which you put them forth. That’s why I (and supposedly others) chose not to.

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So we’re on “responding to tone” level now are we?

Good, at least it is better than going completely off topic or ad hominem by previous posters or just use radio silence tactics by the developers.

Maybe one day we’ll get to the “refuting the central point” level and actually talk about the criticisms presented. Hopefully.

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I just partially watch your video. It’s way too long and I have been skipping to see the main points you argue. Almost everything you comment has been recently introduced from 2.1.28. There is no need to go that earlier versions as 2.0.48.

It’s good to see you took half an hour to record the video. I am also taking my time to reply.

I won’t cover what was said earlier as it is based on personal assumptions and biases and it’s not the scope of the topic. I will address that fact that not everyone can afford a 4K screen or even a computer that can run this resolution. If you consider an international scope, 4K is still a niche, and even prior resolutions in a substantial proportion of countries. If Anki user interface was changed to suit large resolutions, people with lower resolutions would complain about crowded interface.

Anki, as any other software, will adapt to the majority of userbase. As coding things that only a small fraction of the userbase will benefit won’t outweigh the added complexity in the code maintainment. So, optimitzation for Anki UI for 4K resoltions make no sense today.

I am a veteran user, since Anki 1.2.X (2009) and I have seen how Anki has evolved across the years. There where years of delevopment stagnation and that caused Anki to be stable and robust, especially for add-ons. Last 12 months have been hectic with a lot of source-code redesigned and features introduced, which break add-ons and need to be updated.

Anki is way better than it was before. I could argue that there has been some features that are missing for my needs, as my case is nowhere near the average. My collection is huge with many add-ons and complex templates. The beauty of Anki is that you can change it as it is open source, so at the end of the day you can write add-ons to modify whatever you want, that is what I did.

If you don’t know how to code, and if you are not planning to learn how to, what I would do if I had the same preferences and interests as you, is trying to gather a community team to build an add-on for high resolution UI to make your Anki experience closer to your needs/preferences. As most likely there will be more people in the same boat.

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From skipping into the video, I found it way too unstructured to be worth 30 min of my time. I mean you do not even cut out installing a new Anki version and thus stretch the length. This is not meant as an attack, but rather a request to formulate your main points of criticism into concise and written arguments, preferably as a list. If you look at other postings made by Dae it should become clear that he does not usually have time for watching a 30 min video of someone rambling about the past being better.

Nevertheless, I agree with some of your points. I am not the biggest fan of the new interface for creating card models either. However, I spend 99.9 % of my time actually learning rather than creating new stylesheets or adjusting the front and back sites. There isn’t any single update which has broken my workflow in any meaningful way. Sure, some things became different, but productivity stayed the same.
Are the changes to the GUI clever? Not really in my opinion, but in the case of the note model editor, it is hard to argue that editing became easier with bigger front and back sites, as opposed to the tiny textboxes of the past.

On the other hand, we got a lot of new features in the search browser, bug fixes, a modernised statistics screen (I personally don’t care) and so on…

To cite Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does.”. So you sure implie stupidity on dae’s side, which is absolutely not okay. It is really mean to start a fact-based argument like that. Objectively, we raised the level of discussion from almost “name-calling” two steps up to “responding to tone”.

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Thank you for the replies, after getting feedback I have to admit the video was poor in achieve the goal of conveying my criticisms and was more of rant. I will remake a proper edited one in the future comparing the evolution of Anki’s UI over the years.

It’s obvious that I am not the only one who feels Damian’s change to the UI is questionable and is objectively more time consuming than pre version 2.1.

p4nix you said that you spend 99.9% of your learning, I am assuming you don’t create cards and DL cards of the anki share deck’s repository, which is fine, but what if what you want to learn is not shared? Trying to convert almost 4000 pages of CFA program material into Anki, which is what I’m doing requires a very systematic workflow that involves using the the card type to preview as you add new notes or edit current notes. I don’t know if you are able to understand where I am coming from since you only use 0.01% creating your own decks.

I’ll give you a simple example, if I have one note with 10 fields (let say field 1 is the sort field, and field 2 to 10 are latex forumla each) and 9 card types, each card type has a conditional replacement on the each of the formula field (field 2 to 10)

Say encountered a new concept and I wish to create a new note and generate say card number 4 which is conditional upon field 5, I enter my things into the field 1 and field 5 and I wish to preview if my formula is correct and not giving me LaTeX error, I need to open type card, click the dropdown list, find the card 4 in the dropdown list, for complicated formula sometimes it might take many checks before you get the formula correct etc.

This is just a simplified example, if all you’re learning is Japanese and pre made decks, sure you don’t need to learn how to create cards, but if you’re trying to create complicated and esoteric materials into Anki with lots of conditional replacement/latex etc, being able to quickly and easily access card types, card templates, edit field name/positions etc

Because Damian’s implementation of this dropdown list, that’s extra few seconds for every check.
Having a good GUI is not mutually exclusive with having a stable code.
Damian UI change may not have affected your workflow negatively, because you don’t create content, other people do. It has objectively made the process unnecessary slower with extra clicks here and there, with 2.1.33, he hides more than contents and requires more clicks.

Where is he going with the UI? What is his vision? What other UI elements is he going to hide with more clicks in the upcoming versions?

Credit due when it’s due, new Anki versions on Windows 10 are definitely more stable, I remember those days where it crashes three times a day.

@ankick
Except from a deck for remembering Kanji, all my cards are made by myself, and yes, I use notetypes far more complex than basic answer/question. I just checked, I use 36 different notetypes… Some of my notes generate 8+ cards, some of them use stylesheets and javascript written by myself, many use conditional replacements, I also use MathJax a lot. I am coming from a similar position. But maybe your notetype itself is not the most efficient? I can not tell, but sometimes it is easier and less time-consuming to not do everything in one note. It is even recommended in the manual itself.

While that obviously does not change the fact that you dislike the GUI, it has always been a dropdown list. Maybe a tab-based solution would be more clever, indeed. I can’t speak about the other points, as I haven’t watched your video and would rather read a list, but hasn’t the only major change been that the 3 code fields for frontside, backside, CSS are being separated now? Especially with complex notetypes, it is less of a mess now… And again, once you have the notetype, you can start writing cards. In case your notetypes are unnecessarily complex - which I can not tell, but it does sound a bit like that - well, bad luck. However, a better GUI wouldn’t save that much time even in that case.

Based on your tone, you are just rambling, you are passive-aggressive (basically like “What’s he gonna mess up next update?”) and you don’t provide solutions in a concise, written manner.

I for myself won’t waste further time.

It seems to me that you lose to either use ad hominem or responding to tone or use distraction. Now you blaming how I use Anki? What does that have to do the GUI design? Who cares if I generate a thousand cards of one note? That’s my business how I use anki. What that does that have to do with going from a tab based UI to a drop down based GUI?

That would be like Microsoft blaming people for having too complex excel models as a defense of their UI design criticism?

Remember how Apple defended Iphone 4 poor reception by telling people “you’re holding it wrong”. That’s what you’re sound like, “you’re using anki wrong, you’re not suppose to use Anki in a complex manner because the UI is designed for 1980s”

Not being passive aggressive, but being realistic and predictive. Give the track record after 2.0 over the last three years, I fear more UI will be stripped.

This is 2020 and Anki is the only software that I know of that use

  1. A dropdown list instead tab when tab is appropriate. (A dropdown list the size of the ENTIRE length of the window, find me another reputable software than does this)
  2. Use numerical entry to reposition elements (field/cards) instead of drag and drop.

You seem to act as an unofficial defender anki dev team and using all sorts of tactics to win argument instead of focus on the issue which is the terrible UI degradation over the recent years.

Yes, I do agree that the GUI is in part outdated, and have said so. But it is my own opinion that much larger fish are to fry. Personally I believe most time is wasted on an outdated spaced repetition algorithm, but currently I lack the time and competence to do anything about that myself, other than encouraging other people to look into it. Which I often do (on other places than the forum).

This is not ad hominem, but rather a useful tip. Seems to me like you have few options:

  • learn coding yourself and fix it for you and everyone else in form of an add-on which might make it into the official Anki codebase
  • adjust the tone of your message to make it likely that dae or other coders are willing to get input from you in regards to GUI design (there is always the possibility of an add-on making it into official Anki)
  • cleverly adjusting your workflow to the current GUI and hope for the best in the future, while making constructive and friendly remarks in the Anki forum how it could be better
  • keep on rambling

Note: not all options are equally efficient :slight_smile:

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open source. If you don’t like it, maintain your own copy or hire someone to maintain it.

How many hours of python do I need to learn to reverse the UI changes back to 2.0 days in a form of add-on? I think this is a much viable option at the moment.