The first thing that I have to say is that the idea of Lang-8 is fantastic!, Correct texts in your native languaje and getting help correcting your entries in the language that you are learning is a good aproach to practice the English writing, but I would like to talk about some usability issues.
In my opinion Lang-8 interface should focus on a few actions: writing entries and correcting others. When you get into it for the first time you see a lot of information, links, menus, text, people, etc. Wow, I needed a lot of time to find the basic options, where to write and where to find people to correct. I can not see any organization to their approach.
Second, Lang-8 don’t give useful information or they have to improve the visiblity of it: how will I follow my progress?, How will you award my good corrections?, If I correct more entries, will I receive better and more corrections?.
I would apreciate more tips on the fly in my first interactions.
Another confusing issue is the Friends system, I don’t think this bi-directional relationship is useful here, I would like to have a Follow system as twitter, more superficial, easy to add people (I don’t want to ask anyone to be my friend!) and it would add a new reason to help other users: get new followers, anyway if the objective of this Friend system is to bring my “real” friends, they willl probably speak my same language, then it should be a secundary action, but it appear as your first menu option.
Please focus: I can not see people using the Notebook area, photo album or making an intensive use of Groups. I would love to have a clean interface with direct access to reach my main goals.
Finally, I dont know the kind of entries that I should write, I mean, do I have i to write to communicate something to the community or can I write any text that I want to correct?. My impressión is that Lang-8 is pushing me to have a Blog, but what student probably needs is a source for textcorrections of any kind.
Anyway, I love the idea and I hope to stay there for a long time.
Link | Lang-8.com