How we made Nincha

Hey there, little dragons!

Remember when we launched Ninchanese and you all started sharing your thoughts? Well, grab a snack and get comfy, because I’m going to explain how we transformed Ninchanese into the new Nincha app available to all our Premium members. It’s been quite a journey, and you’ve been with us every step of the way!

The Birth of an Idea

Over the years working on Ninchanese, our inboxes were overflowing with your ideas, suggestions, and yes, a few frustrated emails (we feel you!). And also how you would love to learn other languages with our method. Scrolling through your feedback, suddenly it hits us – Ninchanese needed more than just a facelift. It needed a total transformation.

We started with a simple goal: make learning Chinese (or generally a language) as engaging and effective as possible. But how? That’s where you came in. Your feedback became our blueprint.

Listening to the Nincha Community

We were like sponges, soaking up every bit of feedback. You told us what you loved (yay!), what made you want to throw your phone across the room (oops), and the features you dreamed of having. It was like assembling a massive puzzle, with each piece of feedback shaping our vision for our V2: Nincha.

The Metamorphosis Begins

Now, let me take you behind the curtain and show you how we turned your wishes into reality:

Choose Your Own Adventure Learning

  • Remember how some of you said learning felt too rigid? We heard you loud and clear. In Nincha V2, we’ve introduced courses that are like open-world games. Explore at will, learn what interests you most. And it makes more sense when doing the Chinese Phrasebook course, for example, that learning colors or numbers should not be ordered.
  • And for those who like a bit of structure? Our teachers have worked on a complete curriculum from beginner to advanced to get you to fluency. You can now unlock the next unit by completing just 50% of the current one. It’s all about learning your way, at your pace. Words, sentences, or speaking, whichever is your learning goal, it’s easier to attain with fewer constraints.

Breaking Down Language Barriers One of the biggest requests we got was to make Nincha accessible in more languages. Challenge accepted! We put our noses to the grindstone and translated all our courses into 8 new languages: French, German, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean. It was a massive undertaking, but seeing Nincha speak your language? Totally worth it.

Gentle Steps for Giant Leaps A lot of you mentioned feeling overwhelmed when facing new Chinese characters. We took this to heart and introduced new learning modes that ease you into the process. Think of it as your personal language-learning sherpa, guiding you up the mountain of Chinese characters one manageable step at a time.

The Nitty-Gritty: What’s New in Nincha

Alright, let’s dive into the juicy details of what’s new:

  • Instant Vocabulary: We’ve turbocharged the vocab learning process. It’s now faster and more intuitive than ever.
  • Speedy Reviews: Our review process is now 10 times faster. Yes, you read that right – 10 times!
  • Simplified Sentence Building: We’ve added more help right when you need it, making it easier to construct sentences without pulling your hair out.
  • Forgiving Speaking Practices: We’ve made the speaking exercises more forgiving. Make a mistake? No sweat! Our new system lets you correct it without the stress.
  • Engaging Listening Stages: We’ve revamped these to be so captivating, you’ll be looking forward to them.
  • Focused Training Room: Want to zero in on a specific skill? Hit up our new Training Room to master vocabulary, speaking, or listening.
  • Efficient Review System: Now you can review by course, not just by all the words you’ve unlocked. It’s all about focused, prioritized learning. Want to focus on reviewing HSK 4 content, for instance? You now can!
  • Expanded Nincha Decks: We’ve added 50 new words per deck. More vocab, more power!

The Tech Behind the Magic

Now, I know some of you are tech geeks like us, so let’s get into the nerdy stuff for a sec.

We built Nincha using Vue.js for the front-end. It’s this awesome JavaScript framework that makes the app super responsive and smooth. Our dev team is in love with it because it’s flexible and fun to work with.

For the backend, we’re using a mix of technologies to handle all the data and keep everything running smoothly. We’ve optimized our databases to make sure you get lightning-fast responses, even when you’re in the middle of an intense learning session.

Design Process: From Sketch to Screen

Let’s talk design for a minute. We used this amazing tool called Figma for all our design work. Picture a virtual whiteboard where our entire design team could collaborate in realtime. It was a game-changer, helping us change things as we needed and everyone in the team could participate making Nincha meowsome!

We’d have these marathon design sessions where we’d sketch out ideas, debate over the tiniest details (you wouldn’t believe how heated discussions can get over the shade of a button!), and gradually refine our concepts. It was like seeing Nincha come to life before our eyes.

Redrawing Our Characters

Oh, and the characters! We gave them a complete makeover. I spent weeks redrawing each character in SVG, refining every stroke to make them clearer and more appealing. We wanted them to be easy to recognize while still keeping that unique Nincha charm. It was a delicate balance, but we think we nailed it.

Team Collaboration: The Heart of Nincha

Now, let me tell you, working as a small team on this project was an adventure in itself. It means lots of late-night Slack messages and early-morning video calls. But it also meant we had a diverse range of perspectives and ideas to draw from.

Mat would be knee-deep in code, optimizing database queries, while I was obsessing over the perfect user flow. Sarah was rewriting engaging lessons while our testers were trying their best to break the app (in the nicest way possible, of course).

We hit some roadblocks along the way, for sure. There was this one bug that had us pulling our hair out for days. Those colors that we could not choose. Or the stress that came with finding the right translation for the sentence to the right meaning. But every challenge we overcame felt like a mini victory, bringing us one step closer to the Nincha you see today.

Beta Testing: The Final Frontier

The alpha testing phase was where things got really interesting. We thought we had it all figured out, but our wonderful alpha testers quickly showed us where we needed to improve.

Now, Nincha is in beta in your hands – if you’re a premium member of Ninchanese that is. It’s our way of saying thanks for your continued support, and for your meowsome feedback. Play with Nincha, and tell us what else we need to improve and tweak!

Looking to the Future

Now, I know you’re probably wondering, “What’s next for Nincha?” Well, let me tell you, we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline.

We’re exploring ways to make the learning experience even more personalized. Imagine an app that adapts to your learning style in real-time, serving up the perfect mix of challenges and reviews to keep you engaged and progressing. There’s also the Training room part we are making.

We’re also toying with the idea of adding some gamification elements to make learning even more fun. Think rewards, achievements, maybe even some group team competition. But shh, don’t tell anyone I told you that!

And languages – oh boy, do we have plans for languages. We’re looking into expanding our offerings beyond Chinese. What language would you like to see next on Nincha? Navigate to, choose the language you want to learn, and drop your email. You’ll be the first to test out those languages.

Your Turn: Keep the Conversation Going

So there you have it – the inside scoop on how Nincha came to be. It’s been a wild ride, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Your feedback, your ideas, your enthusiasm – it’s all been fuel for this incredible journey.

So, what do you think? What feature in Nincha are you most excited about? What’s your dream feature that you’d love to see in the future? Drop a comment, shoot us an email at [email protected] , or hit us up on Discord. Your idea could be the spark for the next big Nincha innovation!

Remember, Nincha isn’t just our app – it’s yours. You’ve helped shape it from the beginning, and we can’t wait to see where you’ll help us take it next.

Here’s to the future of language learning. Here’s to Nincha. And most importantly, here’s to you, our amazing community. Keep learning, keep growing, and keep being meowsome!

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