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Vocabulary.com vs Lockcard

Lockcard Team
December 23, 2020
Illustrations by Yuxuan Wu

Starting with English, then Japanese and finally for French, I have been using vocabulary apps for almost 8 years. Here's a review of three of the most popular apps I have used. I write about why some work for me, and why others don't. When they don't, I interview fellow users.

Vocabulary.com

Who is it for?  👤
• You like the old-school dictionary experience
• You need sentence examples to get comfortable with a new word

Price  💸
$3 for Iphone App

I love this website! It's an amazing dictionary that feels like a teacher explaining a word to users compared to other dictionaries that just feel cold. It also has a large number of up-to-date sentence examples in 8 themes and offer review sessions for each word you searched. Basically, this is a one-stop website to understand a word, its origins and its use-cases!

However, vocabulary.com's iPhone app is not as good. First of all, it is not free and the last update was 6 years ago. Therefore, it lacks many of the features available on their website and the design hasn't been optimized for recent Iphone screen sizes. Overall, the UI is old-school, kind of ugly actually, which discourages me from using the app.

Regarding their 'review exercises', according to the App store comments, users who actually commit to those exercices are mostly students who are assigned by teachers from schools in partnership with Vocabulary.com. So I think the exercise does help, but is limited based on your account. 

We're getting close to what I'm looking for, but not quite there yet.

Lockcard

Who is it for?  👤
• You like to look up new words in a dictionary
• You often forget words after you search them
• You're a lazy learner who spends too much time on your phone

Price  💸
Free

Lockcard is an improved version of Vocabulary.com with additional features that make it a great app for lazy people. It's an improved English dictionary that uses 'spaced repetition' via notifications to make you remember words forever. It doesn't teach you new words (yet), but it's a great tool to assist you with the rest of your learning process.

It's worth noting that Lockcard is a young app built by two language enthusiasts who happen to work as product designers by day. Therefore, there is a strong focus on smart interactions and minimalist visual design to give you a comforting experience every time you open the app. However, they currently lack in some resources; their dictionary is not as complete as Vocabulary.com

I use Lockcard to search new words I encounter in life and when reading everyday. Before, I used to search new words in a traditional dictionary but forget them the next week. Lockcard comes into play as a vocabulary partner in that situation. It helps me understand a word at that moment, but also reminds me about it by sending notifications to my phone throughout the day that act as flashcards for my brain. I feel such a relief knowing I will not forget the word I have searched. In fact, it makes me more confident in searching words up.

That's the one. Try it yourself for free on the AppStore. Plus, you'll be supporting two awesome language enthusiasts.

Charlotte Chen, Designer @Duolingo

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