February 7, 2021 - Streak Fixes and CMP Changes
Hello everyone, it's been awhile!
We've been hard at work on two primary things:
  1. Making it so that streaks work as they are supposed to
  2. Writing the code to fix any broken or incorrect streaks
  3. Getting the content management platform to a place where we can release content faster
Before getting into each of the things mentioned above, let's go over some smaller bug fixes that are in this release.
Bug Fixes
  • Attempt to fix an issue where some audio would not play. We believe this was an issue with the way our service worker was configured and so we have disabled the service worker for the time being.
  • Fixed some theming issues in the blog.
Logged-Out Pages
  • We've simplified and re-arranged the logged-out page content and fixed some issues with the navigation theming.
Streak Update
We rewrote all of the code that manages how streaks are updated to make it more efficient and less-prone to database timeouts and failing because of unrelated tasks running at the same time. This has been running in the background for a couple of weeks now and it seems like it is working as intended.
Fixing Incorrect Streaks
We finalized the code that will fix broken streaks. This has been run though there are some edge cases that we could not account for.
If your streak is incorrect, please message Jacob | ジェイコブ on Discord with the email that you use to log into the website so that we can finally get everyone's streaks to where they should be.
Thank you everyone for your patience during this time, we know it was frustrating to deal with and it was a rather high priority for us to fix all of it. We're happy that this seems to be the last hurdle we have to jump.
CMP Updates
This is where the majority of the development time has been spent. We are transitioning our platform to a serverless architecture and took this opportunity to update the way content can enter NativShark.
In addition to this change, all audio being added to the platform moving forward has its loudness normalized and silence trimmed from the start and end automatically as part of the upload process.
More changes will be done to the CMP over time, but these initial changes allow content to be released at a regular pace.
Thank you everyone for your patience during this time and we hope you are looking forward to new content, new features, and more quality of life changes coming your way!
February 4, 2021 Content Patch Notes
Hi all,
We have a few fixes to kanji elements and mnemonics that have dropped today. Here's the list so far, and we have a small handful more coming in the future.
  • 待 "go" element is now correctly "going."
  • 得 "go" element is now correctly "going," mnemonic grammar changed slightly to accommodate this change.
  • 野 incorrectly had "lance" element in place of "beforehand." Fixed and changed mnemonic to accommodate this change.
  • 亜 element changed to "sub-" from "Asia." This does not effect the mnemonic and will be used later Units not yet released.
  • 莫 Element "plant" was incorrectly set to "flower," fixed.
  • 都 "Barrier" element was incorrectly set to "wall", now fixed. Mnemonic slightly changed to accommodate.
December 28, 2020 - Development Patch Notes
Hey all 👋
We're back with another big update that we've been working on over the past week. This update introduces more stability improvements as well as our referral program, affiliate program, and some quality of life changes.
In addition to what students see, we've been doing a lot of work on the code that runs everything to make it more efficient and easier to work with moving forward. This is an investment that will continue to happen as we move forward, resulting in more stability for students along with quality of life improvements and new features.
Let's dive into the changes!
Bug Fixes
  • Students can now update their payment method without canceling their subscriptions
  • Students are now presented with a questionnaire when cancelling their subscription so that we can make the platform better
  • Fixed an issue where completed dialogues could not be re-visited on iOS
  • Fixed an issue where custom flashcards could not be uploaded
  • Fixed an issue where certain mnemonics would not be recognized (such as rice field on 番).
  • Rewrote modals across the site to fix various instances of a blurry screen getting stuck (as well as the pesky keyboard shortcuts modal)
  • Updated the lessons in the activity log to show when they were completed rather than which category they were in
  • Fixed an issue where the author popup in lessons would go off of the screen in certain circumstances
  • More behind the scenes work on the streak system, it's not ready for primetime yet :shark_sad:
Billing history rework
Billing history has been notoriously confusing looking to date. And students have been unable to update their payment methods on their own. No longer is this an issue!
We now have a lovely billing history view where you can see if a charge is upcoming, and if previous charges succeed or failed, and you're now able to update your payment method whenever you'd like.
Referral program
If you want to share NativShark with someone and be a part of their learning journey, you can now do so with your own link. You'll be able to see how many students have subscribed after clicking your link and to how many units and hours studied it has led to.
If you have any unique ideas for referral rewards, let us know!
We're open to hearing what students have in mind. Most programs are kind of generic so we opted to just build in base functionality first so that we can expand on it later as we get feedback. Looking forward to growing it!
Affiliate program
If you have an audience or a sizeable platform, we now have an affiliate program; reach out to us via email, we'd love to chat.
December 21, 2020 - Development Patch Notes
When you release updates almost daily, how are you supposed to introduce them? Accepting clever ideas in our Discord.
Bug Fixes
Learning Experience
  • Fixed an issue where the target word would not highlight on custom flashcards during the quiz section
  • Fixed an issue where the spacing was gone on the completion screen
  • Fixed an issue where furigana would be added incorrectly in certain circumstances (such as in How to say how old you are)
  • Fixed an issue where furigana for some words would not show in certain circumstances
  • Fixed an issue where custom flashcard decks could not be deleted
  • Fixed an issue where the flashcard review counts were showing all flashcards rather than those that were in the session
  • Fixed an issue where furigana would not be added over Japanese numbers, such as 5[ご]
  • Fixed an issue where furigana would not be added over symbols, such as ☆[ほし]
  • Fixed an issue where furigana for some words would not show in certain circumstances
  • Updated underlying logic around how literals, definitions, and readings are handled to reduce instances where they would randomly be missing when they shouldn't have been
December 21, 2020 Content Patch Notes
Hello everyone,
Lots of sorting today so we've got another small content patch coming down the line here^^
  • Updated the reading on 瞬く間 as used in the example sentence to match the example word on the 瞬 kanji flashcard. まばたくま → またたくま
  • Added a missing period to the end of the lesson summary for "How to use あら"
  • Fixed some missing literals in Unit 96 dialogue.
  • Fixed a typo in the Phase Two Unit 1 progression badge description
December 20, 2020 - Development Patch Notes
Hello everyone!
Thanks for the feedback to the new learning experience so far. Today's goals have been to fix issues on iOS as well as some other stability fixes.
Let's get into them now!
Bug Fixes
Learning Experience
  • Cards should now take up the appropriate height on mobile devices
  • The answers during the learning experience on iOS are no longer cut in half
  • Fixed the scroll indicator to be more consistent across all devices and browsers, this removes the ghost white gradient on dark mode
  • Fixed an issue where the politeness indicator of a sentence would overlap the sentence during the quiz section
  • Fixed an issue where furigana would be visible on the front of the cards while quizzing them
  • Moved the source from the information modal to the front of custom cards
  • Removed the toast that appeared when marking a card as learned or when unlearning a card
  • Removed the "Sentence Breakdown" from the vocabulary card info popup
  • Updated the circles during the quiz portion to show symbols instead of colors for accessibility
  • Cards should now take up the appropriate height on mobile devices
  • Fixed the scroll indicator to be more consistent across all devices and browsers, this removes the ghost white gradient on dark mode
  • Fixed an issue where clicking on the kanji to replay the stroke order would prevent keyboard shortcuts from being processed
  • Fixed an issue where certain keyboard shortcuts would not work on Mac
  • Adjusted the behavior of scrollbars across the site to try and have a more consistent behavior across all devices
December 20, 2020 Content Patch Notes
Hey everyone,
Hope everyone had a nice weekend!
We're feeling nice and refreshed, bringing you some content fixes to start off the week:
  • Fixed the 等 vocab flashcard furigana to match the sentence's correct furigana. とう → ら
  • Fixed highlighting on 今すぐ帰って来い! in the しろ《命令》 lesson.
  • Fixed a typo in the lesson body of "Forming adverbs from adjectives"
  • Added a Writer's Note to the lesson "Sentence-ending particles: よ and ね" directly after the sentence "あの人なんか変だね。". The audio has been seen in a lot of feedback as difficult to understand, so we added a note explaining some quick things about it and about using Shadow Loops to our advantage to get used to this type of audio.
December 17, 2020 - Streak Saver and Learning Experience
Hello everyone!
Development updates have been quiet for a little bit as we've been hard at work on two primary things:
  1. Fixing the way streaks behave and properly implementing Streak Saver
  2. Updating the learning experience to help students be more confident when they first encounter new material.
Encountering new material is now taught to you in a mini-quiz format. First, you're shown the material, given an explanation to help absorb it, and finally quizzed on if you feel you've got the gist of it. This is not an SRS or a flashcard, it's to help you learn material on first time viewing. Though, the kanji and vocab will show up as flashcards the next day as they usually would and then enter the flashcard flow. The goal is that with the addition of this learning quiz, you feel more confident on how well you know a given material once it shows up in your flashcards, and thus help you get through the reviews.
This update is the largest feature update we've put out since launch! Building this in has set the groundwork for even more great updates to come. For example, being able to as a reinforcement activity, run this learning quizzes on specific content you'd like to run them on at any time, not just when it's first shown to you. We're also working on a version of this for helping with grammar comprehension and production.
There's also a lot of other bug fixes bundled into this patch so let's get into the notes.
Bug Fixes
  • Fixed an issue where free students could not review their due flashcards
  • You can now edit custom flashcards during reviews/in the flashcard browser
  • You can now add furigana for numbers in custom flashcards, so things like 300[さんびゃく] works
  • You can now add furigana for things like 3ヶ月[さんかげつ] and it'll work (this includes a fix across all of our content with months where the furigana was broken).
  • Fixed an issue where archiving a new card and then unarchiving the card and refreshing the page would cause the cards to be introduced in the wrong order
  • Fixed an issue where long sources in custom flashcards could break the layout of the page by truncating them to 12 characters during reviews
  • Updated the appearance of the scroll indicator on flashcards to make it more obvious that there is additional content
  • Changed how streaks are managed under the hood to improve stability
  • Adjusted some formatting on the About page
  • Fixed a bunch of issues where the site would try to fetch data from the server when it shouldn't have (resulting in 500 errors on the server)
  • Fixed an issue in the katakana learning tool where text was formatted incorrectly
  • Fixed an issue where Overlay-chan would get stuck on the Extras page
  • Adjusted the colors of the comprehension rating in the lessons to have better contrast
  • Fixed an issue where Extra Credit and Using NativShark on the mobile menu were going to the wrong page
Streak Saver
The long-awaited Streak Saver has finally, officially arrived to NativShark. We had some temporary things running in the background working to this point but didn't announce it as we were not confident in those solutions. We're quite happy with what we've landed on now, so let's discuss how it works.
What is a streak?
Your streak keeps track of how many days you've completed your reviews in a row. Keep in mind this does not mean doing new content but only reviewing the cards that the system wants you to do.
What does Streak Saver do?
Upon maintaining your streak for two consecutive days, you will unlock the Streak Saver. This is indicated under your streak on your dashboard.
If you do not complete your reviews for the day, the following day you will see a message saying "Streak Saved" under your streak. Note that your streak will not increase - it will stay the same.
If you do not complete your reviews when your streak was saved, you will have one more day to do your reviews in order to keep your streak. At this point, you will see the message changed to "Streak At Risk". This means that you must do all of your reviews during this day or your streak will disappear.
We settled on a 48-hour grace period after internal discussion with the team and feedback from our testers. We are open to more discussion around this, so please let us know your thoughts.
If you have any questions about how this works, we welcome you to come chat with us in our Discord community.
Note: Streak Saver can be disabled in your settings if you decide you want to go without it.
New Learning Experience
In addition to the streak saver, we're also releasing our other long-awaited feature: the overhauled learning experience. The goal with this was two-fold:
  1. Apply the concepts that the kana tool uses to all of the material we teach
  2. Experiment and find better ways to approach things of this complexity in code that we can apply to what we've already made and what is currently in the works
How do I access the new learning experience?
You do not have to do anything special on your end. By working through your normal flow, you will find that you enter the new learning experience for kanji and vocabulary automatically.
If you are doing custom flashcards, you will notice a message once you've finished reviewing that says whether or not you have flashcards to review. By clicking on the presented link, you'll be taken to the learning experience for your custom flashcards.
How does it work?
The learning experience is split up into two phases: learning and reviewing.
The learning phase for kanji and custom flashcards shows you all of the information up front so that you may familiarize yourself with all of the information available. The learning phase for vocabulary is slightly different in that it blurs most of the information first until you click "Play" or hit "Spacebar", at which point the information unblurs. We did this to encourage users to try and think of the meaning of a word when they first see it based on the kanji that it uses or their previous knowledge.
The review phase is the same across all card types and you will be shown the material in a random order with limited information on one side and the full information on the opposite side. This phase respects all of your audio settings that you have for your flashcards.
The Navigation
Our goal with the navigation was to make it clear to the student where they were and what their learning progress was at all times.
During the learning phase, you see the full items in the navigation that are colored based on their current status:
  • Accent color: ready to be reviewed
  • Text color: current item
  • Gray color: upcoming
  • Faded circle: archived
Also note that you can hover over these to get more information at a glance.
During the reviewing phase, this view simplifies to merely show the student the current status of the reviews, but to not spoil or give away any answers:
Note that we use colors here as well:
  • Filled in red: incorrect
  • Filled in green: correct
  • Filled in gray: upcoming
  • Colored ring (accent): Current item with no previous answer
  • Colored ring (red): Current item which was previously incorrect
  • Faded circle: archived
In Closing
This was a pretty big update and has a lot of things going on under the hood that will help us release more stable features moving forward and that we can use to bring stability to areas of the platform that we are still not satisfied with (looking at you shadow loops).
Please give us any and all feedback either on our Discord community or, if it's a bug, report it at our feedback site.
Thank you as always for your ongoing support and choosing to study with NativShark. This is the start of a lot of great changes that many people have been waiting for.
December 16 & 17, 2020 Content Patch Notes
Hey everyone,
Patch notes were a little short yesterday on the 16th so I've consolidated them into one for today to trim down on the notifications a bit.
Just keep swimming~~
  • Changed some wording in the "Verb stem changes" lesson to make mentions of the causative form feel like introductions instead of references.
  • Linked definition to 止める vocab flashcard that was missing
  • Fixed missing literal on 怒る vocab flashcard
  • Fixed スルー vocab flashcard's missing highlighting
  • Fixed こら vocab flashcard's missing highlighting
  • Fixed うんこ vocab flashcard's missing highlighting
  • Fixed unattached furigana in the note of the いとこ vocab flashcard
  • Fixed furigana and missing literal on 誕生日 on the いとこ vocab flashcard
December 15, 2020 Content Patch Notes
Hey everyone~
Hope you're all staying warm as we get close to the end of the year. The last few updates have been all about temperature at the start recently because I'm keeping my hands unfrozen thanks only to this life-saving space heater that sits next to me. Maybe I should invest in finger-less gloves.
Anyway, let's take a look at the fixes for today:
  • Vてしまう vocab flashcard note has been updated to talk a bit more about how to form this conjugation.
  • Updated the definition of 抜く to get rid of an extra ";" showing in it.
  • Fixed a missing literal on 磨かないで in the sentence 彼はときどき歯を磨かないで寝る。
  • Updated a missing literal in the dialogue in Unit 94. いく now shows as properly "go".
  • Fixed capitalization on "Western style" on the kanji flashcard for 洋.
  • Fixed two incorrect literals in unit 164's dialogue. なんか is now "something" and いる is now "need" in the sentence 駅で買い物して帰るけどなんかいる?
  • Updated 選択 vocab flashcard note to be gender neutral. "To each his own." → "To each their own."
Load More