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Kyoku Flashcards

Flashcards are handy when learning a new language or when delivering a speech, as cue cards to remind you of all the essential points you need to talk about. There are many Flashcard apps on App Store, but none come close to replicating the idea behind paper flashcards. The best way to go digital is to be able to do what we do on paper but do it better. That is the approach our developers took when creating this app. 

Kyoku Flashcards is available for your iPad, and iPhone for $2.99, one-time purchase. The developers would like to keep their app non-subscription. Which many users will be happy about of course.

Kyoku Flashcards is a minimalist flashcard app. I have finally found the perfect app to revise my French vocabulary. The app is very simple and intuitive. You won’t waste time trying to understand how it works. 

Your flashcard has a front and backside. You can work on either side, in any order you like, effortlessly switching between them. The flashcard itself feels the right size of our traditional flashcards. You can’t zoom out to make it smaller but you can zoom in to add more information on the card. 

You can style your flashcards. They can be ruled, dotted, squared or blank. Let’s hope that in the future, we can customise our line spacing. The app’s default line spacing is a flashcard standard, but more options wouldn’t hurt. That is the beauty of going digital, isn’t it? Taking away all physical limitations!

Toolbar

You have the Apple Notes writing tools, couldn’t be happier. While naturally, you might not like using this toolset for taking serious notes, it works very well for flashcards.

For your writing tools, you get a pencil and pen tool. You can adjust your writing tool’s thickness, opacity and colours. You also get a highlighter to make information pop out of the page. These tools work exactly like the ones in Apple Notes. Kyoku Flashcards has all the cool features that come with Apple Notes’ toolset: 

  • Adding space between written sections using the lasso tool 
  • Hiding the toolbar or moving it around the page
  • True dark mode

The handwriting experience in the app is incredible. There is no lag, as is to be expected of the Apple Notes toolset. You can also split view Kyoku Flashcards with other apps. We usually create our flashcards from other notes. Split view support for this app is thus essential. 

When you have finished creating your flashcard, save it to go back to the homepage to add a new card. It feels a bit manual for a digital workflow; like you are physically picking up some flashcards. A shortcut for adding new flashcards within the workspace will be better. A double-tap gesture or plus icon is needed because going back and forth from the homepage every flashcard is a bit annoying when creating many flashcards. 

You can edit an already created flashcard, move it to a new deck or delete it. The app doesn’t support multiple flashcard selection. Deleting one page at a time is a bit of a pain. Hopefully they can improve on that. 

Organisation

The organisation in the app needs some work. Folders will help us organise our flashcards a lot better. I have thousands of French words to learn. Having them on one deck makes for one impossible study mission, not to talk about how discouraging that can be. The app does offer to study 10, 20 or 30 cards per review session. However, folders will organise my vocabulary into relations, occupations, bathroom, sitting room, etc. Learning new terms in groups is a more practical approach. 

Reviewing the Flashcards

When reviewing your Flashcards, you can decide if you the card was hard, medium or easy. Setting fewer flashcards is better because the app gives you a bit of encouragement at the end of each review session. It gives you a sense of accomplishment to keep you going. After all, it is those small accomplishments that add up, eventually. 

Some metrics in the app will be useful. A way to tell how you are doing and the ability to focus on, say, hard flashcards. The app currently has no way to help you with that. 

Settings

Under these settings, you can set the 

  • number of cards you review per session: 10, 20, 30, all the cards
  • Review direction: front to back, Back to front or Both
  • Default style for your flashcards: ruled, dotted, square or blank
  • Rename the deck
  • Delete

Kyoku Flashcards can’t recover your deleted decks or flashcards. It also doesn’t warn you before deleting the deck that it will be gone forever. A recycle bin is a must-have for any app dealing with documents of any kind. 

You can set how the app appears: system (which copies your iPad’s mode), light or dark mode. You can also turn on the option to write with your finger. Probably more useful on your iPhone, or iPad if you don’t have a stylus. 

Speaking of iPhone, the app syncs seamlessly between your device in milliseconds. Which is impressive considering it doesn’t have a setting for this in the app. While flashcards are fun to create on the iPad, they are more fun to study off an iPhone. The big screen on the iPad suddenly looks ridiculous when reviewing the small flashcards.

Suggested improvements

Kyoku Flashcards is currently on version 1.13.0. It’s been around for less than a year, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. As far as digital flashcards are concerned, they nailed it. They managed to replicate our paper experience. However, we look forward to going beyond paper replication, to a point where paper flashcards start looking like a joke. Here’s how we can start moving in that direction: 

  • Support for drag & drop or copy & paste out of another app
  • Addition of pictures and text
  • Different page colours would be fun (but not necessary for flashcards, but they are digital right?) Why not?
  • Search tool
  • Navigating through flashcards without necessarily reviewing them
  • Multiple flashcard selection

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