Up to now, if you arrived on the homepage of Fluentin3months.com, you'd see a large segment of several blog posts and the same sidebar as in the rest of the site. It's hardly the best welcome or introduction for first time visitors, since the most recent post may be confusing as to what the site is about, and it's a lot to scroll through.
As well as this, rather than just being about the blog posts that I (and occasional guest posters) write, Fi3M is much more, with an active forum, Learning with texts reading tool, almost 15,000 comments, and parts outside of the domain like the Facebook page, Language Hacking League Email list (where I announce my next projects first and share more in-depth thoughts on my language learning projects) and much more, so it's good that these are emphasised more to first time visitors.
With that in mind, I've got a completely new home page from now on! It emphasises some important posts (language learning, specific languages and travel) for new visitors, gives a much more compact overview of the site and, most importantly, has a video of me giving you the grand tour… in eleven languages (English + my big 10 languages) 😀
I've also added in a site-map, so you can easily look through the archives in chronological order, have an overview of every single language mission since the blog was started (and a link to the final video or post for that mission), and see some of my pre-blog travels.
New multilingual video
This video is the first time I've attempted a multilingual tour of the website. To be honest, I'm not such a fan of multilingual stationary monologues (I've only done one before), so I tried to spice this one up a bit with some cut scene editing and lots of special effects.
I don't have a problem switching between languages, but doing it in succession so quickly can get confusing. I took my time to make sure I was covering everything I needed to, so the unedited version of the video was over 20 minutes long, which is why the Skyline behind me turns from dusk (as the sun had already set) to night.
I'm not so pleased with parts of this video, because I can hear how bad my accent is in some of the languages from lack of practice until recently. It's why my mission this summer is focused on improving them, so you'll hear an improvement as I make videos in ideally each one of these languages over the next months.
My German accent for example definitely needs some serious polishing (for example, I said a hard ‘k' sound for euch :'( – sadly the nature of the video means it's too hard to re-record), and I used the wrong sound for the ‘ou' written form when speaking both French and Portuguese (in French it's “oo” and in Portuguese it's like “oh”, but switching so quickly I did it the other way around). This is generally why I prefer to use just one language for several hours at a time.
Having said that, I am pleased with my current ASL at the start of the video, as I've gotten back into that pretty well and am ready to share some cool things with you by hopefully interviewing those in the deaf community next week in Washington DC!
Feedback on the new site look and on my accent in the video appreciated!
Going with Idahosa's recent guest post about using Soundcloud to get feedback to improve your accent, I've uploaded 7 of the non-English spoken segments (all but Esperanto and Irish) from the video, and I welcome constructive feedback from natives or high level speakers at particular time stamps for how I can improve on my pronunciation and rhythm. If you have thoughts on the video, let me know!
Perhaps I'll record the video again at the end of the summer (if I can find a scene as nice as the Hong Kong skyline behind me!) incorporating the improvements. But a lot of work went into graphically editing it too, so I may use this for the next year or so despite the bad accents. What do you think?
Also, looking at the actual new home page – I'd love your feedback! Would you pick other blog posts to show up in the “Essential language learning”, “Essential travel ideas” and “Specific language posts”, or would you remove certain posts there now? What are your favourite posts on the blog that you think I should feature to new visitors?
And do you like the new design of the front page? Is it easier to navigate? I applied a lot of these changes based on plenty of feedback from readers, but am always up for making more if there are any other confusing parts of the site! A site-map was something a lot of people were hoping to see. Now that I have the new page finally, and am almost finished the most hectic part of my US travels, I can get back to posting regularly again and have a bunch of cool videos and encouraging posts on the way!
Make sure to check out the new home page to see the list of best posts, as well as the site map to see an easy to navigate chronological list of all posts and then shorter list just of all missions. I hope you like the changes! Write me your thoughts in the comments below as always 😉
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.