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Behind the scenes

Why I made NewWord

#Behind the scenes
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The Motivation Behind Developing New Words

Memorizing vocabulary is an inevitable hurdle in language learning. Common methods involve using vocabulary books or similar apps, starting with a quick test, choosing a book for CET4 or TOEFL/IELTS, and beginning with words like Abandon. Combined with methods like the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, this approach reinforces memory.

This traditional method is effective, but it makes me feel very “passive” because the words are just there, like a fortress waiting to be conquered. Every time I pick up a vocabulary book, I feel a lot of pressure.

I prefer learning each word that I genuinely “encounter” while reading foreign websites, books, or playing games that do not support Chinese.

Thus, I created “New Words,” focusing on collecting and organizing vocabulary that I encounter in daily life to build my own vocabulary book.

What Issues Does New Words Solve?

Having understood the motivation behind developing New Words, I will now explain the methods it uses and the problems it addresses.

1. Overcoming the “Passiveness” and “Pressure” of Memorizing Words

Unlike traditional vocabulary apps, the content in New Words does not come from conventional CET4/CET6/TOEFL/IELTS vocabulary books. The words in New Words are manually added by the users themselves.

This means that users are fully aware that every word in New Words is one they have encountered and deemed necessary to memorize and recall.

This purpose-driven method of memorizing words is fundamentally different from the cramming approach of using ready-made vocabulary books. It alleviates the anxiety of “I’ve only memorized 5% of this book” or “I already know 50% of the words in this book, should I switch to a more advanced one?”

Memorizing vocabulary is like fitness; the first step is to relieve mental pressure, to “step into the gym,” and then progressively enhance your skills.

2. Addressing the Source of Words

New Words has made extensive efforts to ensure users can easily add words they encounter and want to memorize. Currently, New Words supports four different methods of importing words:

Through the iOS share menu: Suitable for any selectable text in iOS, whether browsing a webpage in Safari or reading an eBook in PDF, users can share a text selection to New Words, which then splits it into words for selection and import. Through photo OCR recognition: This method is perfect for capturing words from a sign, menu, or advertisement encountered while traveling, allowing quick import into the app. Through photo album OCR recognition: For some apps, due to DRM reasons like Apple’s “Books” app, the share menu does not allow sharing selected text content. In this case, screenshotting and using album OCR can complete the word import. Manual Import: In case other methods are unsuitable, words can also be manually entered.

3. Addressing the Issue of Scene Recall

As mentioned earlier, combining words with scenes is an excellent way to reduce the difficulty of memorization. Therefore, when importing words, New Words retains the “scene” of the import, specifically:

Through the iOS share menu: The imported new words will keep the selected original sentence, displaying it as a special example sentence on the detail card. Through photo/photo album OCR recognition: The imported words will keep the original image, which can be revisited any time by clicking on the word card. Manual Import: The imported new words will retain the original sentence entered by the user. With scene recall, users can quickly remember “why I wanted to memorize this word.”


Every developer should be an avid user of their product. To date, I have saved over 500 words in New Words.

From the initial idea to the final implementation of New Words, I went through five different designs and demos before nervously releasing it in the store.

I hope New Words can also help everyone, giving a boost to your language learning.

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