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Lexdex – Web-based and mobile flash cards

Added by on Wed 5th Aug 2009

Project Info

LexDex is an innovative e-learning tool based on a simple concept. It has created interactive flash cards and online study guides directly from the content in University textbooks, and uploaded them to the website. With a growing database of over 500 textbooks in more than 20 different subjects, it’s easy to find any book and start studying instantly. Lexdex is aimed mainly at US University students and offers them to browse their flashcards on mobile phones with Lexdex Mobile Flashcards™, or online using the MyDex™ platform.

Such an ambitious project required the collaboration of an extensive team of people with different skills and backgrounds, mostly in New York, United States of America (USA) and Shanghai, China (PRC). Edward Kim, the executive director, planned, managed and coordinated from Shanghai the evolution of the website between the different teams. Working closely with Davyin Internet Solutions, Lexdex’s executive director was able to setup a highly efficient data input team able to input several textbooks in a week. By keeping daily contact with Davyin Internet Solutions’ project managers, developers and designers, the Lexdex teams had immediate response on issues and therefore could assess clear timelines for product development as well as allocation of resources. From design drafts of the website and its mobile phone program interfaces to the conception of the textbook database architecture, Davyin Internet Solutions programmed and built Lexdex mobile phone and online applications.

Key features:

1- A strong textbook database architecture:
As in most web applications, the structure of the database is a crucial factor for the efficiency and growth of the website. Lexdex features a vast amount of textbooks from which data was extracted to be stored in a robust and scalable structure. Each textbook, chapter and flashcard is represented by a set of relations and properties including title, phonetic, translations, pictures for mobile phones or even audio files for certain textbooks. Since Lexdex offers not less than 10 different languages, available in many textbooks, data is completely encoded in UTF-8 to support any possible character such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc… Thanks to a comprehensive content management system, accessible from the back-end, flashcards can be modified, manually added or automatically input through CSV preformatted files. Combining a clear and flexible data structure with a Rich Internet Application (RIA) to manage flashcards from the back-end, the Lexdex team is able to not only be more reactive and reduce its turn-around-time on quick changes, but also leverage batch automated input with CSV files to plan on a sustainable data collection strategy.

2 – The Lexdex textbook library:
By browsing a user friendly online textbook library, visitors are able to choose from a large choice of textbooks, off-the-shelf by subjects, or simply search for particular textbooks by keywords, author or ISBN to start studying immediately. Textbooks can be selected and added to user dashboard to have direct access to all the flashcards in the chapters of any textbook, in just a few clicks. The library also serves as a landing page to provide updates on newly added textbooks and a survey to request new ones. Textbook requests and the ones picked by users can be managed from the account section in which subscriptions to textbooks can be easily removed or extended.

3 – Full content management features:
Built on top of the leading Open Source content management system, Drupal, the website is fully customizable from the back-end to allow webmasters to add new content pages, manage comments or user profiles and change menus. In addition to a great visual identity, Drupal’s template theme was highly customized with XHTML/CSS to be standard-compliant, cross-browser compatible and fast to load to be quickly accessible from any country. By complying with Drupal development standards and framework, we programmed modules and configured the application to produce a highly efficient and extensible multimedia e-learning platform.

4 – Lexdex Mobile Flashcards and Lexdex Mobile Multiple Choice:
Learning on mobile phones is made possible with Lexdex mobile phone programs. Supported on hundreds of phones, these applications enable studying sets of flashcards with an intuitive interface, making learning a new language a breeze. What’s more to this fun mobile design and interface is the ability to select any flashcard online and download the program onto the phone through Bluetooth, WAP or any other method (IR, etc…) allowing file transfer onto the phone. The Lexdex Flashcards programs are downloaded on the user dashboard from which JAVA J2ME packages are generated on-the-fly on the server and sent directly to user’s phone or computer. Making use of extensive caching, packages are almost completely generated before being requested which considerably reduces response time. For an optimal configuration on phones, every supported and tested model can be chosen in the mobile phone catalog[:link] offering a large number of brands (Motorola, Nokia, HTC, Sony Ericson, etc…) and models (BlackBerry, etc…). After setting custom characteristics for their phone in preferences, users are able to generate Lexdex Mobile programs that match exactly their phone’s specifications with more or less memory capacity, different screen sizes, or even different key settings for each phone. Lexdex Multiple Choice™ challenges users to learn on their mobile phones with fun quizzes customized from their flashcards chosen online. It suits perfectly to studying for exams with multiple choices questionnaires and provides a scoreboard with a re-quizz on wrong answers to make sure you remember the next time.

5 – Lexdex interactive flashcards dashboard: MyDex™
The core of the interactions between users and the Lexdex flashcards application stack takes place on the MyDex user dashboard. Through this interface, users are able to create and save groups or decks of flashcards, called “Dex” that can be retrieved anytime, on the website. User Experience is enhanced through a rich application interface (RIA), built with the Dojo ToolKit Library that provides great support for widgets and AJAX to handle requested flashcards. Extensive user testing was carried to design simple steps to enable users to build their “Dex” in a few seconds and start browsing flashcards online. Browsing Lexdex online flashcards is possible in different modes with various actions to challenge user’s memory such as shuffling cards and chapters. MyDex™ is designed as a framework to be interfaced with other applications such as mobile device software and currently allows users to select Dex™ of cards to study with Lexdex Mobile Flashcards™ and Lexdex Mobile Multiple Choice™. The user preferences section provides a comprehensive list of options allowing configuration of practical applications such as the Lexdex Study Guides™ and mobile phone settings. One of the cool features of the MyDex™ dashboard is the capacity meter that shows the amount of space required on the mobile phone as users add or remove flashcards.

6 – Tutorials and training
A very wide range of online technologies were deployed to ensure users would be able to fully understand how to save time and use LexDex to create their flashcards. The Mobile Tour™ provides a quick and full overview of the functions available on Lexdex Mobile Flashcards™ and Lexdex Mobile Multiple Choice™. It also points visitors to selecting their mobile phone and configuring correctly their My Dex™ dashboard. In addition to a very user friendly website with vocabulary carefully chosen, to keep visitors on the right track, answers to simple questions are collected and posted in the website’s faq to sum up Lexdex’s answers to common inquiries. From screen casts and flash tutorials showing creation of Dex™ and online flashcards, to mobile phone packages creation and download, everything is explained in simple words. You could perhaps spend 5 minutes to discover this brilliant online service and learn how it could work on your mobile as well.

Result: a full media e-learning platform

Lexdex is a great example of what modern online technologies can achieve to perfect computer assisted education and make studying easier.
By putting at the disposal of every student a full media e-learning platform that provides content integration with mobile phones, Lexdex opens new perspectives of evolution on the highly competitive e-learning market. Combining cutting-edge Web 2.0 Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and AJAX, with mobile phone content integration through JAVA J2ME programs, Lexdex surely offers to its users to study with the most flexible functionalities available on the web.

Above all, Davyin Internet Solutions is particularly grateful to the whole Lexdex team for its professionalism, hard work and for having given us the chance to take part to such a great and challenging project. Not only have we learnt from their experience in the publishing and e-learning industry, we have also greatly enjoyed our interactions with this colorful team involving people with very different skills and backgrounds.

LexDex launched its first public release in April of 2008 and moved on to Beta testing in September 2008. It started as a simple idea that has quickly picked up momentum, acquiring new books and subjects for the library as it continues to grow in popularity.

This project has be developed in partnership with Davyin internet Solution. Davyin is providing drupal development in Shanghai and

  • Type of site:
  • Drupal Version:
  • Development Time: 2 months
  • Copyright: Pictures and content are registered under Creative Commons Share Alike 2.5 2009. Some rights Reserved.
  • Site URL: http://www.lexdex.com/

Comments (6)

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Jacob – 800 Numbers

jeremy33's picture

First of all thanks a lot for the great and useful link. Well I have to admit that I always follow your website which is full of useful information about drupal and various software. I have just started to work in the software development company so I am very interested in this sphere now. It is really great that in your web I could find many useful information which is all explained in detail. The link which you have shared for me is really great created I think. Thanks a lot one more time for the great post and keep up publishing those useful information in the future. Jeremy from web development

Inspite all the functionality of LexDex it didn’t gain the popularity it deserves. What about its present? Any news?
Regards, Nilson @application development group

Upon searching on the internet, i got to find this very informative post of yours that catches my attention to read. I was impressed with the information that I learned from here and i;d like to take this opportunity to thank you for this wonderful blog post. Keep posting.

Two-thumbs up for this.

You did a great job in showcasing this web-based mobile flash card site. Definitely I’ve been looking for.