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Tianjin42

The Chairman's Bao

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Mati1

From the privacy policy page:

Quote

If you require any more information or have any questions about our privacy policy, please feel free to contact us by sending an email to [email protected]

This is the same address that sends out the service updates / news (or at least some of them). Haven't seen another address either.

 

Edit:

Sorry, should have paid more attention to the posting right above.

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Mati1

I did a non-extensive test of The Chairman's Bao webpage and app again. Some thoughts:

 

  • The speed of the service is alright here (Austria); neither super fast nor super slow.
  • Unfortunately there is now only one sample article per level available for free, making it harder to evaluate the service, which might annoy prospective customers. However, I haven't observed if and how often these articles change.
  • Attempting to log in on the webpage with incorrect username or password does not show an error message.
  • It's good to be able to see prices on the webpage without having to log in.
  • I am unable to find any company address / legal contact on the webpage. Some countries require every website to provide a valid legal contact address. This may not be the case in the UK where the page says the company is registered. However, the first rule internet shopping / payments says to make sure that the website / company info seems legit. My personal viewpoint is, if an online shop provides no company info or fake data, it's probably an online fraud page. (Or they really don't care about their customers ...) The only address I can find is the one given in the Google Play Store, but I don't know if it is actually your address or the address of a software company working for you. Also, it is missing a country name ...


App Bugs:

  • Long press on a word (for text selection) followed by moving the finger without releasing it first results in an invalid empty text selection on the left screen corner. Clicking and dragging these selection handles (modify selection) results in an app crash.
  • Changing the text size in the text size dialog and clicking outside of the dialog keeps the new text size and closes the dialog but desyncs the dialog and actually set text size state. Eg.: Open the dialog, set the biggest size and press set. Now open the dialog again, reduce the size by two or three steps and press outside of the dialog. Upon opening the dialog for the third time the dialog will give you the wrong impression of the size being set to maximum, while it is actually smaller. Also, because the slider is at the right most position, clicking there will have no effect. Further playing around with the text size might also produce some confusing results.


Suggestions For Improvement (ordered by personal priority):

  • A Dark Theme for using the app in dark environments and / or saving power with OLED screens.
  • When reading an article, pressing the audio button again after listening to the audio is slow. It seems like the whole audio file is re-downloaded?
  • On the articles overview page / list: It would be really nice to have a download button on every article for offline usage (specifically the audio, since the texts of the first x list entries seem to be cached automatically when the list is loaded. I feel that a common usage scenario for such an app is starting it up in the morning at home to quickly select those articles for downloading, which one wants to read later when out of the house. This is not only about saving money (cell phone data plans) but also about network coverage in the region.
    •  After implementing cached articles the filter page could be adjusted to filter those and you should add a button in the settings to clear all cache.
  • Depending on one's level, optional word grouping and Pinyin for the full text would be useful sometimes. But please don't change the default Chinese only text layout when those helpers are not active. (See decipherchinese.com for the Chinese only layout I do NOT want to see.)
  • The articles filter page is too crowded: There is a huge page header, followed by the samples. Then there is the filter area, alright; but it's followed by the "Timeless" articles suggestions and a big page footer. If the listings would be text only or use small pictures the overview would be much better. I guess the top area is less crowded with an active subscription, because without subscription half of the header (which takes up more than a page on my PC screen) is about becoming a member, and the samples listing would also be useless; but anyway ...
  • It should be possible to search for articles and filter at the same time.
  • I would like to see an option to play the sound automatically when clicking a word to bring up the dictionary popup.
  • In the app, one can slide-in the keywords list or the grammar points list on the left side, but one always has to switch between them using the buttons on the bottom. It would be much more convenient to have the grammar points slide in on the right side.
  • When reviewing the keywords list it would be much more convenient to have buttons for "Play audio" and "Add to word bank" integrated on the list (increase the list width to, let's say, half the screen width). Right now, when using the list, one has to do three clicks for each of these actions, instead of just one.
  • In case you are not getting rid of the bottom buttons: Add a back button on the bottom while keeping the back button on the top of the page but making it non-floating. When scrolling down in an article this has the effect of not wasting screen space for the floating back button on the top of the screen (covering some text).
  • When using the word bank:
    •  The word bank should be refreshed when adding words to it like this: Word view -> original article -> add words ... -> go back to the word bank.
    • It would be nice to have access to the popup dictionary when reading the original sentence in a word view.

I tested the service yesterday and today with Firefox on the PC (24") and the newest app from the store on a 7" tablet with Android 5.1.1.

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TheChairmansBaoTeam

Hi Mati, 

 

Thanks for the extremely detailed feedback, which I have forwarded on to our development team so that we can implement the suggestions into the new apps. We are in the process of developing brand new mobile applications since the launch of the new website and you can expect these within the coming few months. 


Although the tech side of things is hugely important and we are putting a lot of focus on ensuring we get this right going forward, our focus has always been the quality of the content we produce. I'd be keen to hear your opinion on the actual content/learning aspects of the platform when you have time to review the lessons in more detail. We change sample lessons each week, with each HSK level being refreshed every two weeks.  


With regards to being an official company, the footer of every page shows that we are a UK registered company, also highlighting the official UK company registration number.

 

This coming Monday each new TCB lesson will come complete with between 4-6 comprehension exercises with automatic grading and feedback to track progress (screenshots for which I have attached). In the coming months, we will also be releasing a whole host of new features, as well as ‘shoring up’ the tech side, many improvements of which you have alluded to in your comments. 


Once again, thank you for the detailed insight into the platform and we would welcome any further suggestions or comments you have going forward!

 

Team TCB

 

 

1.PNG.png

2.PNG.png

3.PNG.png

4.PNG.png

6.PNG.png

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Balthazar

I recently took the plunge and ordered a 12 month subscription, making use of the 30% offer.

 

While I am very satisfied with the content (not least the amount), I really wish the filter function in the app was a bit more advanced.

 

Having now read probably the last 30-40 articles available at my HSK level, I am finding it time consuming to filter and scroll down to older articles at the same level. I wish it was possible to filter out those articles one has already read, or to change the sorting (old to new), or allow the user to only display articles published within a specified period of time. I have no technical knowledge and for all I know this might be extremely difficult changes to implement. Just my 2 cents, popping up every time I take 2-4 minutes to open the app, turn on the filter and scroll down to find an unread article (time that could instead be spent reading an extra article).

 

I'd also like to see an optional dark theme.

 

Looking forward to see the changes that are coming.

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Mati1

I am looking forward to seeing the improvements.

One thing I forgot to mention is an option to set all articles to traditional / simplified characters by default.

 

If I had a subscription I would read TCB daily. I am now more seriously than ever thinking about getting one ;)

 

2 hours ago, TheChairmansBaoTeam said:

With regards to being an official company, the footer of every page shows that we are a UK registered company, also highlighting the official UK company registration number.

I must be missing something. See attached footer screenshot!

 

tcb_footer.png

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TheChairmansBaoTeam

Hi Mati, 

 

Well spotted! I'm not sure if you are aware but the website you are seeing right now has only recently been released and this was a slight oversight on our part. Thanks for bringing it to our attention! It is all in place now :)

 

Dear Balthazar,

 

We understand the current apps are lagging behind the website somewhat as the new site has just been launched. We had to develop the site before moving onto the apps sadly. Rest assured, the exact functionality that exists in the site as it stands now will be replicated in the new apps. Both you and Mati have requested a dark theme so I'll certainly push this to the development team. 

 

Thanks Both, 

Team TCB

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roddy

Fair enough if you don't want to answer these questions in public (cough cough *[email protected]* cough cough) but I'm sure we'll all very curious how the shift to paid content has gone. Is this now looking long-term sustainable or is it still up in the air? Has the (I assume) reduction in users meant you can offer a better experience to those who remain? If you were doing it again would you choose the same price points or do anything differently? 

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TheChairmansBaoTeam

Hi Roddy, 

 

These are moving brilliantly thanks! We have over 130 schools and universities using the platform globally now on institutional subscriptions and individuals are growing nicely. The switch to a paid service has meant we can truly invest more into the platform, improving functionality and implementing brand-new systems and functions (such as the new comprehension questions for each and every lesson, learning hub, stroke order / drawing capabilities) across the platform. 

 

Thanks Roddy, 

Team TCB

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roddy

Glad to hear it! Congrats!

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Mati1

I am under the impression that this thread has been renamed from "The Chairman's Bao - App" (or similar) to "The Chairman's Bao". However, this is the exact same name of the other main TCB thread, you know the one which did not start out being primarily about the app. Having two active threads with real content and the exact same name is way more confusing :-?

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roddy

That was me - hang on...

 

Right, closed the other one as this was more recently active. There can be only one! I could merge them, but as they've been active concurrently that might get messy. 

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Mati1

:shock:

Could you also update the TCB app in the Amazon app store (every now and then)? I'm sure everyone trying to access HSK 1 and 2 articles will appreciate it >.>

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TheChairmansBaoTeam

Dear Mati, 

 

The usage rate was so low for the app on the Amazon App Store we stopped releasing new versions and bug fixing for it. We can release it back on the store on Monday if you wish but any Amazon specific bugs I'm afraid likely won't be fixed until the new apps are published. 

 

Thanks Mati, 

Team TCB

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Mati1

Less updates on that platform are ok, I'm glad that the app is available at all.

I don't know about the extra work you need to invest into it. From a programmer point of view I wonder about Amazon specific bugs ^^

o/

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杰.克

Admittedly been a fanboy and paid user of the Chairmans Bao for a while (encouraging colleagues to use a employer discount we get) but gotta to say (with biases admitted) the new comprehension questions look fab. Had a little on an article today. Only improvement would be that it wouldn't let me skip till id got all the questions right, and I wasnt interested in doing a section (of the 3)

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abcdefg

Hello @TheChairmansBaoTeam --

 

The "Keyword Test" does not work for me (using the website version.) This is the quiz whose instructions say: "Connect the Chinese Characters, Pinyin and English..." I cannot draw lines between the various boxes. Does this require something or other to be enabled in my browser's settings? For example, does it rely on Flash?

 

Running Win 7 and Firefox, both with latest updates on my laptop. Am trying out one of the free sample dialogues.

 

I was thinking about upgrading to premium, but if this feature doesn't work, that gives me pause. Any help appreciated.

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TheChairmansBaoTeam

Dear ABCDEFG,

 

Can you confirm you aren’t dragging words around, and instead just clicking each keyword to connect? 

 

Thanks

Team TCB

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abcdefg
11 minutes ago, TheChairmansBaoTeam said:

Can you confirm you aren’t dragging words around, and instead just clicking each keyword to connect?

 

Hmm, my bad. I was clicking then dragging in order to draw a line. (The quiz function on ChinesePod has a similar section, and I was using the same technique I used there.) I'll try it right now the proper way. Just click on the three items that I am trying to link, one after the other.

 

Thanks for your quick help!

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Mati1

I tried the TCB webpage on an older device which does not get the app. It kind of works, however the dictionary can't be used because there is no straightforward mouse select with touch input.

This may be low on your priority list, but maybe you could change it so that a simple click (not a click and mark) on a character selects the the word, adding three benefits: Faster lookup, correct word segementation (like in the app) and usability on more platforms.

o/

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Mati1

After not using the TCB app for some days, I wanted to listen to a new article today.

 

Started the app on my Nexus 7 several times, upon auto-fetching the newest articles it crashed every time. Deleting the "cache" did not help. Two hours later it worked.

When using the Kindle Fire, at the first try it did not fetch new articles. When reloading if fetched the texts successfully before crashing (scoll attempt). On the next try it also fetched the images on the main page before crashing. On the fourth try I was able to scroll down.

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