The Babbel Blog

About online language learning

Dust and Dirt and Candlelight

Posted on May 4, 2012 by

Read this post in German (Deutsch)

Kabelsalat. Photo by strickerat. http://www.flickr.com/photos/strickerat/397768938Many years ago they decided to completely rewire the electricity in my flat. First a lady from the building management came along, then two gentlemen with ties and big note pads and finally, several months later, two electricians. Those two were really thorough and my flat was gutted: walls were drilled open, old cables ripped out, new ones laid. My “vintage” fuse box was exchanged for an alien flat white plastic thing. Newspapers from the 1920s were found hiding behind my skirting boards and all the light switches were re-positioned.

After a few days of dust and dirt and candlelight I had fancy new electrics throughout the flat. I could now drive a nail in the wall without having to use a metal detector: the cables no longer zigzagged through the walls but ran in an orderly manner in strict adherence to modern building regulations. With my brand new plastic fuse box, it was a piece of cake to flip the switches on and off or to create, as if by magic, a cosy ambiance in the living room. But I became a stranger in my own flat because the light switches were no longer where they used to be. I would enter a room, slap my hand against a now naked wall and remain in the dark. Literally. It wasn’t nice.

At Babbel, we are also going through a fancy makeover: rewiring, rebuilding — and moving the light switches around. For example, all community features — the board, the people page, messages and friend requests — are being completely re-vamped.

Why all this trouble?

  • Many users want to use Babbel on iPads or other mobile devices. This is a step in that direction.
  • Babbel will run considerably faster afterwards.
  • We will be able to tackle spammers much more effectively.
  • We will be able to realize your suggestions quicker and easier.

Take our upcoming writing exercises: the new version we developed has resulted in many more of you getting involved. Beginners in particular are now much more inclined to take the plunge.

The course overview pages are also getting an overhaul and should go live in a few days. We would also like to streamline the Babbel login: everyone will be able to log in using an email address alone.

Those of you who are used to the “old” Babbel are may feel like I did when my flat was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. We are very aware that some of these changes may be very irksome, but they have not been made on a whim. Every month we receive hundreds of suggestions and requests from you and we read each and every one of them. Every month we get together to look at your feedback and ideas. We read them, we discuss them, we argue about them, we categorize them, and we count them. Some requests are easy to fulfill. Others require fundamental changes and involve long and meticulous preparation. But the construction work has started now. With dust and dirt and candlelight…

If it had been down to me back then, they needn’t have moved the light switches at all. I knew where they all were and had gotten used to reaching behind the fridge whenever I came into the kitchen. However, that was just me. The real difference only struck me a few weeks after the dust had finally settled: never more do I hear the screams that once haunted the dark corners of my flat — “Anne, where’s the @!#*&$ light switch?!”

Comments

Unlike my building managers back then, we’d really like to hear how the Babbel makeovers are going for you. All our changes are based on user feedback – so keep it coming! Post a comment here, or on the Babbel Board:

http://www.babbel.com/boards/general

Thanks a lot,
Anne

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