October 2022 Survey Results
November 27, 2022
Thanks to all who responded to the survey in October. I thought about going over this in another video, but I don’t know how many people would want to watch another long video of me rambling, so I’ll try to sum up the results in a news post.
Over 100 people responded this time, which was a lot more than the previous site surveys, and it’s always nice to have more data. Here’s what I found:
Users’ home countries: The US (42%), The Philippines (15%), The UK (12%), Canada (10%), Australia (5%), Japan (3%), as well as lots of other countries like India, South Africa, Nepal, Iceland, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, and more. I have a feeling that there are more Japanese users than are represented in the survey, but that’s just my guess.
How people found out about the site: A web search (34%), a co-worker (28%), Englipedia (20%), a training program/conference (6%), and a few other ways as well (including one user who I apparently told about the site directly). I’m thankful for the positive word-of-mouth!
School levels: Junior High (76%), Elementary (61%), Pre-K/K (12%), High School (11%). It seems like the most common teaching arrangement is still the stalwart Elementary/Junior High mix.
Activities people use in English class: Print-out based activities (89%), PowerPoint-based games (88%), PowerPoint explanations and demonstrations (71%), board games (63%), activities where students use tablets or laptops (53%). I’m surprised at how common PowerPoint has become. In my schools it was always pretty cumbersome to use a PC in class, but maybe it’s showing how much the IT situation is changing in classrooms today.
I also asked what people thought about changing the name of the site to “Eigo Nexus.” I find that “ALTopedia” is a little confusing to pronounce and spell. While ALTs are still the primary audience of the site, I think that English teachers of all kinds in Japan are welcome to use the site and would benefit from it, but the name was already established when I began developing the code for the site.
53% of users said they’d prefer to keep the name as “ALTopedia,” though, with another 37% saying they were neutral on the name change. It was only about 6% of respondents who said they liked “Eigo Nexus” better. Now that the site has had 4 years of operation under this name, maybe it would be better to keep going with it.
Quite a lot of suggestions came through, so I’ll try and address some of the most common ones:
Several people asked for a “folder” feature to save activities for later. That’s something that I’d been planning for a long time, and the feature is now on the site as the Activity Collection system, which I introduced in the previous news post.
Another frequent suggestion is for some sort of file preview feature where you could see a thumbnail of a file before downloading it. This would definitely be useful, although it’s going to require a fair deal of technical work to generate thumbnails of a bunch of different file types (PDF is probably easy, but Word and PowerPoint might be harder) and then attach them to each file upload. It could represent an increased load on the web server which would bring up the monthly bill.
This has been a pretty constant feedback item, but a lot of users feel like the activity taggings aren’t as consistent or accurate as they should be. With over 2000 activities I don’t think there’s any one person that can review every activity and tag and apply consistent rules across all of them. I’ve been trying to think of a solution that would scale to the size of the site and doesn’t make people feel like their activities are getting changed from under them or lead to disputes about using tags. I’m thinking about some kind of tag voting system and weighing that into positions in listings. It’s something that’s frequently on my mind but I don’t have a direction that I’m sure I want to move in yet.
Lots of users felt like they might lose track of comments on their activities and were wondering about a notification system. Sending an email when a comment gets written is certainly possible, although it would generate a lot more outbound email on the site, and that’s another thing that could increase hosting costs. I also feel a little hesitation at creating yet another web service that’s constantly pinging people’s phone or desktop notifications. Subscribers can see a page that lists all comments on their activities and I feel like that’s a feature that I’d like to reserve for people who are helping to meet the site’s (ever-increasing) costs.
A forum is another suggestion that I hear from time to time. The tough thing about forums or discussion boards is that without moderation, they can turn pretty unpleasant. Every forum I’ve ever seen for people living in Japan has slid into cynicism and backbiting eventually. With clear rules and a commitment from a moderation team to make a productive environment it might be possible to build a good forum, but I feel like the time and financial commitment to do that would push out any other development I could do on the site.
There’s still quite a lot more feedback that I didn’t have room to address, but as always, feel free to leave comments or the Contact page to get in touch. In mid-December I’ll try and make another yearly review post with the year’s stats and highlights, so see you then!