Duolingo

Last modified
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Category

Description of App

Learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English. Totally fun. Totally free.

PC Magazine Editors' Choice for Language Learning: "Among iPhone apps for learning or practicing a language, you can't beat Duolingo." "Far and away the best free language-learning app." —The Wall Street Journal "We’ve also tried a few other methods such as book learning and Rosetta Stone, both of which bombed. That’s why I jumped at the chance to try Duolingo. And believe me, it’s addictive." —FluentIn3Months.com Duolingo is changing the way people learn languages. With Duolingo, you learn a language completely free, without ads or hidden charges. You have fun while you learn, leveling up and competing with friends. You have the opportunity to translate real-world texts in the language you are learning, and in doing so, help us translate the Web into other languages. Yeah, it's pretty sweet.

Version

4.3.5

Free or Paid

Free

Apple Watch Support

No

Device(s) App Was Tested On

iPhone
iPhone
iPhone

Accessibility Comments

In spite of issues making recent versions totally unusable, this version is once again usable.  However, even though it is usuable, there are definitely some annoying problems to watch out for.  The first is that some important buttons on the main screen remain unlabeled.  Fortunately it's not too hard to figure out what they do with some trials.

 

The second is that there is no way to tell what color your tree is.  This means that you can't determine if you need to strengthen weak skills or not.  You also can't easily figure out which skills are complete.

 

The third issue is that it's not always possible to reread what you've typed, in questions where you're expected to enter your answer via the keyboard.

 

In spite of these major problems, I still use the app regularly, because the app is really good at what it does.

iOS Version

8

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads most page elements.

Button Labeling

Most buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability

There are some accessibility issues with this app, but it can still be used if you are willing to tolerate these issues and learn how to work around them.

Other Comments

This app has been known to vary widely in its accessibility from release to release, so I encourage everyone to upgrade with caution.

Developer's Twitter Username

@duolingo

Recommendations

10 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by Aaron C 7 months 4 weeks ago

Options

Comments

Submitted by SoundSchemer on Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I wish that Klingon was available on this app

Submitted by Will on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

hi all, are the developers receptive to feedback? when i tried to do the practice test after completing basics 1 i couldn't record anything, i also thought speaking was part of the lessons? how also, do i move to basics ii

Submitted by Will on Wednesday, September 20, 2017

hi to improve access, why do people who have ios 11 not do the screen recording, to show the difficulties?

I have started using Duolingo and was loving it until I completed basics 1 in Spanish and couldn't progress to phrases and basics 2 which is the next line on the tree. Voice over apparently highlights the entire line so won't activate each individual link. I am continuing on my laptop for now, but hope the app becomes accessible again. I updated to IOS 11 this morning in hope that it would solve the problem, but it hasn't.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Saturday, November 4, 2017

To all those that are struggling to use the app, I strongly recommend the mobile or desktop sites as they are more accessible. There are downsides to the mobile site, notably that it is much harder to repeat an item in a listening question, and that if you relied on the words at the bottom of the screen to answer questions, they are not there--you must type in the answer, and it can be a bit mind-numbing to close the keyboard and find the Check button. The only way for a VoiceOver user to know which skills need to be revisited is through the colour.

I have just updated to V5.1.21 and the app now seems to look a lot more accessible. Voice Over clearly reads what language you are studying, your fluency and day streak. You can see which lessons have full strength and I managed to complete a lesson that I previously couldn't click on. I think I will switch between using the app and my laptop but it is nice to have the choice. I am using the latest version of IOS 11.

Submitted by Will on Saturday, November 25, 2017

hi when i open the new app i see the percentages but still hear phrases 0 slash 2 basic 2 slash 2 or whatever it is say, on one line.

Are you using IOS 11.1.2? I downloaded this a couple of days ago. I am learning Spanish. Another good feature I have noticed is that it says dimmed when a lesson isn't unlocked yet. Hope you can get it to work.

Submitted by Will on Thursday, November 30, 2017

hi all, when undertaking a course and we are asked to test our pronunciation, how do voiceover usous start speaking? also how can i delete a course?

Submitted by Sprieto on Friday, December 1, 2017

With voice over you double tap and hold down the record button. If your volume is up high enough you will hear a faint ding which indicates when you need to start speaking. Release the button when you have finished. If it likes your pronounciation it will ding to let you know that you are correct, if it doesn't, it gives you two more goes to try and get it right.

To delete, add or reset a course just double tap on the course tab which is one of the first things voice over reads when you are in the app.

Submitted by DrummerGuy on Saturday, December 23, 2017

It should give me the chance to refresh my memory about my Japanese lessons. I also wish to continue learning Italian, Portuguese, Latin, Esperanto and French. I will download the app and give it a try.

Submitted by Will on Sunday, December 24, 2017

hi how do i delete a course′ also how advance does each language go?

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Sunday, April 8, 2018

Dulingo just introduced a new system for progressions where you can level up skills, instead of having an overall fluency score. Personally, I find this new system a bit confusing as you now have a lot more lessons open to you right away, while before there was a clearer sense of progression. More to the point though this has unsurprisingly broken accessibility again, both on the web and iOS.
in the iOS app, you're yet again unable to select a subject to practice, as VoiceOver is reading multiple subjects on a single item. I tried tapping on a few which did absolutely nothing. On the web, all the subjects are no longer links. They now just show up as "clickable" both on Windows and Mac. This means it's hard to see which lessons have been completed, and there's no way to tell which ones are locked (before, locked items were just text which you couldn't click on). Hovering your mouse over a subject will reveal a start button as well as an unlabeled button that reveals the show notes, that is if you can get your Screen Reader to click in the right spot which can be problematic especially on Windows if you have a high resolution screen.

I think I'm going to look for a new site for my language practice needs, because this new design is a disaster, both in terms of accessibility and progression.

Submitted by Sprieto on Monday, April 16, 2018

I posted on the Duolingo troubleshooting forum a couple of days ago and got a reply today saying they have fixed the issue. Need to wait for an update on the ap store, but the skills on the web version are now links again and accessible.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hi. I haven't looked at this app for ages but decided to start my spanish again last week. Sadly, the app appears to be unfriendly again so I haven't made any progress. I'm also thinking I might delete the course and start again but someone else asked the same question above and received no replies. I'm wondering if it's therefore possible?

Hi. Have you got the latest version of the app? Version 5.2.21 is accessible. Alternatively the web version is also accessible. As for deleting a course, in the app tap on the course tab, it then lists the courses you are learning and an option to add a course, tap on add course and then it shows the courses you are learning at the top before listing other courses you can add. For example yours will list Spanish at the top and there are two options to either reset or delete it. Hope that helps.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Monday, May 14, 2018

In reply to by Sprieto

Hi. Thanks for the suggestion. When I either double tap on reset or delete nothing happens. At least not from a VO point of view.

Thanks though.

Kerry

Submitted by Will on Monday, May 14, 2018

Hi all, when I open the new version of the app, it saying let's start with a phrase that useful in Spanish but the continue button is not on screen. What am I doing wrong?

Submitted by JLYN on Friday, August 24, 2018

I am including this here because in reading all the posts I did not notice anyone addressing this oddity.

First of all what happened to me.

I like the new way of how duo lingo works. I now know many words I will never forget. You need to really do a topic until it gives practice rather than start for a choice.

It helps get the word in your head better.

Now maybe that was there before. But I don’t know.

In any case. I completed the intro lesson until it said practice. Then I went to the phrases lesson.

A conversation screen came up and totally confused me. I tried turning voice over off and touching the screen and turning it back on again. Nothing worked no matter what I did.

So when a family member woke up I asked for their sighted assistance. They did a fantastic job.
If you run into this screen here is what you need to do.

At the top left is a close button. Which does talk.

At the top right I believe is a progress indicator which also speaks. You can also flick right from the close button to get to this. This comes in handy.
The next item on the screen is the start of a conversation. This also reads.

What is not read by voice over is the arrow at the near bottom center of the screen. You need to hit this to continue.

It is not right above the home button. Its I think about half an inch up.

Turn voice over off. Then try to judge the distance and simply put your finger around there.

If you succeed when you turn voice over back on it will show some more text and a can’t speak button.

I tried the microphone way. I am not sure I am doing it right. But that part didn’t work to well for me. I was concerned if I hit the can’t speak button it would exit me out of the conversation but it does not. What it does do if you hit can’t speak now is it brings up the keyboard. And its really smooth sailing from there.

Just follow the conversation. And if you don’t know the answer it will suggest one.

This was almost enough to make me not use duo lingo when I thought I couldn’t access the conversation thing. But when I found I could I love duo lingo all the more.

I am glad I don’t have to change apps.

Another tip about the chests.

This another family member helped. And it works basically the same way you have to turn voice over off and hit the screen and then turn voice over back on after you hit the screen.

The area you need is the area above the choose a chest text. The chests are straight across the screen above that text. So position your finger there turn VO off hit one of the chests and turn VO back on again. If you did it right you will get what the chest you picked contains.

Should it be this way no. They really should fix it where we shouldn’t have to go through gymnastics like that.

However. The gymnastics method works.

I am going to try to contact the developers and explain this to them and hopefully it will be fixed.

Submitted by Portia Scott on Friday, August 24, 2018

Hi,

Thanks for the tip on duo lingo. Not that this might make accessibility any better, *Smiles* But, has anyone tried duo lingo plus, to see if it makes anything any better? They do have a free trial, maybe it is the adds getting in the way?

Like I stated, probably won't do any good, but anything is worth a try.

On the screens I mentioned there are no ads. So that isn’t the problem.

I haven’t signed up for duo lingo plus mainly because the basic gives me what I want/need. But in this case I don’t think it would make a difference.

Also. The Duolingo Plus subscription to me seems a bit confusing. As far as I know all your paying for is the removing of ads and the ability to download lessons for offline use.

If they added something else I was interested in. For example extra lessons that no one else gets then I might consider it.

Also. As far as I can tell the ads are accessible to everyone and they show up every time you complete a lesson. And all you do is hit get ad free now and then no thanks both at the bottom of the screen just above the home button on the iPhone 8 anyway.

It only takes two seconds if that. And I really can’t imagine how Duolingo Plus saves time by removing the ads.

Sadly I am not sure I answered your question. Yeah there is a week free trial. And anyone could do it I suppose. But what the subscription covers just is not worth it to me anyway to even try the trial at this point in time.

They maybe should consider dropping the subscription to 5 a month or something for what they are offering. Maybe then more people would be interested.

Or as I said add content no one else gets.

But anyway. All in all whatever route one goes. Duolingo at this point is accessible. Of course who knows what the next update will bring. One can always hope for more accessibility helpful updates.
But from what I have read on this forum line alone Duolingo doesn’t appear to be devoted to true accessibility constantly.

But for what they have done so far they have done a great job.

Submitted by fatih on Saturday, September 15, 2018

The settings of the app seems to have disappeared. It was previously accessible from the profile tab of the app. How can I change the settings now?

Submitted by Sprieto on Saturday, September 15, 2018

I am afraid you seem to be right, I can't find a settings option in the app anymore either. There is an unlabelled button in profile but that is to add a profile picture. I guess your only option is to use the web version to change settings until the app is made accessible again.

Submitted by JLYN on Monday, January 28, 2019

As there has not been a response to this since the last post and as I have been using this quite effectively now for a while. I just thought I would pass these tips along in hopes they might be helpful.

Before I start unfortunately both of these do require you to turn voice over off before you touch the screen. Annoying. And quite honestly duolingo should have simply labeled these things correctly and then it wouldn’t be an issue.

First of all. To Get to settings. The icon/image/whatever is indeed there. You need to turn voice over off when on the profile screen and then tap the top right corner of the screen. This will bring up settings. It does work. And I was finally able to edit my settings Just fine.

This trick works in other areas of the app as well. I will say however that sometimes its hit or miss and sometimes I just don’t have patience to try. For example. When I am done practicing a lesson the back button isn’t there. Again no excuse. Its there. And it is where you would expect it to be. Top left of the screen. But you have to turn voice over off touch that part of the screen and then turn voice over back on again.

This trick seems to fail on me a lot. So most of the time If I am moving on to another lesson I simply exit the app, close it out, and restart the app and move on.

Now for clubs. The exercises. First I have created my own club only to find out. Those exercises you get aren’t club specific. They are put out by duolingo. Maybe the different clubs get different exercises. But the exercises come from duolingo and not from the club leader.

However. In my experience playing with this. I will often come across. “Listen and respond to what you hear.” Again without anything to tap on to hear the audio. The audio is indeed there. You simply have to turn off voice over after tapping on listen to this and respond. (I mean after opening the post) an simply tap the center of the screen near the top of the phone and it will play the audio.

Yay!

It works!

Anyway. That having been said. I created a screen readers group under duolingo spanish. Its called screen readers I believe. I created it in hopes that it would be of help to screen reader users. However I think I am just attracting everyone else. But if you want to join a club that I hope eventually to help blind users of duolingo it is called screen reader users.

My hope that is maybe on the image exercises a sighted member of the club might be nice enough and describe that picture so we can participate too. I haven’t been active in my club lately as I have been a bit under the weather. But the club does exist. At least under the spanish course. As that is currently what I am learning.

Could duolingo be better? Yeah. Honestly I don’t understand the issue. Apparently developers have changed or they just aren’t paying attention to how changes affect voice over users. But the app is still usable. And currently its my favorite.

I hope the silly things you have to do to get at what you need in this app though helps someone.

A tip on this whole thing.

First off. Yes companies like duo lingo when they know they have blind users using their app should make an effort to keep things accessible. And maybe we should cry out to them insisting they fix these minor accessibility issues. Politely but firmly.).

However. When dealing with any app that has been accessible for a while and all of a sudden is not. And you need the app now. Not till they decide to fix the accessibility issues. Try asking a friend or family member who is sighted where the item is on the screen that your trying to get too. Have them take your finger and put your finger on the screen. In most cases this will mean you can simply turn voice over off. Touch the screen in that spot and turn voice over on again.

Should we have to go through this ? No we should not. The accessibility issues duo lingo has right now seem to be a simple non labeling of appropriate text labels or that is how it seems to me. But it is how it is currently.

In my opinion duo lingo has had plenty of time to fix these issues. Maybe there was more of a demand from the blindness community in general that we want to use this app but they keep breaking accessibility on us. Maybe they will be a little bit more watchful and prevent these minor accessibility issues from popping up.

I can use the app. But I am rather an advanced IOS user. What if there is someone out there who recommends duolingo to a person just new to IOS. And they put it on their phone and say what in the world?! I thought this app was supposed to work?! What is going on here. And they give up on using it.

well. That is what this post will hopefully help with. But also duo should have fixed these issues by now. Maybe they are under the impression that not enough blind people use the app. I don’t know. But the app seems to be getting worse and worse with each new release. So what I gave you today may not work the next release. Maybe a bunch of us need to contact them.

Submitted by DrummerGuy on Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I was on a yearly subscription but decided to cancel because I got tired of it. To me, this app is not worth it. One month is accessible than six months is not. Unless things change with this app, I will never get it back. Honestly, I just think that the developers of this application do not take accessibilities seriously. It is quite absurd to have to turn off voiceover to touch the screen and then turn it back on. That is not very convenient or adequate. It is a good work around but it should not be the ideal way to access settings or other menus. Seriously, in my opinion, this app is not worth it.

My apologies for not replying sooner. My life has had another upheaval among many and I just haven’t been able to catchup on things yet.

In any case. Although I understand your frustrations and agree with you on the fact they should have fixed these issues by now (totally agree)

I guess for me it is how much does one really want to learn a language. For me its a possible career choice. So I will use it until its totally inaccessible unless I find something better.

Also. Although I agree with you it’s annoying to turn voice over on and off and all that. I still think its totally a good idea if its a work around for other people to know about the work around. This is why I shared it. In case there are people like myself who need or wish to use the app but needed some guidance.

Generally I avoid apps that require turning voice over off or off and on at all. But again it really depends on how badly someone needs an app.

I like duo lingo because it gets all aspects of the language in my head. Memories is another good choice. But it has its challenges too.

Innovative works. But guess what. A few accessibility issues are in that app as well. And as great as listening to short lessons on a language is. It doesn’t help you really remember things.

I find using a combination of language apps is the best choice for me. But of course this is not for everyone.

Currently I have innovative and duo lingo on my phone. I use duo lingo primarily just because it gets the language to stick in my head. I do not pay for the subscription. Its just not worth it. All that does is gives you the ability to download lessons which I have never really been a fan of downloading much of anything no matter the app. And to skip the ads thrown at you. But you can quickly get through those in less than five seconds.

But then I don’t have extra money to spend to even support free learning. Not right now anyway. Which is why I am currently not using innovative although I have it on my phone. The free lessons on innovative aren’t enough for me. I need the subscription there. I don’t need the subscription for duo.

Submitted by Tara on Friday, March 29, 2019

Hi all,
One of the problems with Duolingo is that some courses are accessible, meaning the buttons are labelled correctly, and you can select the correct word and sort sentences, and in others the buttons are all unlabelled. I tried the app again a month or so ago, and I found that the German and French courses worked great, and I was able to use it. However when I tried Polish and Dutch, all the buttons were unlabelled, so I couldn't even do the first question, making those courses completely unuseable. And before someone says I should contact the developer, I won't be using Duolingo again, because I hate their method for learning a language. I'm learning Italian for work, and various other languages as an interest, and I'm using Duolingo for none of them. I thought I would give my findings here, since the problem is inconsistent throughout the courses. Some are accessible and some aren't.
Regards,
Tara.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Friday, April 26, 2019

Leading on From Tara's comment above, I went back to Duo Lingo just yesterday as its app became very inaccessible for a while. I can confirm that the spanish course is also accessible with one issue. When I'm recording the phrases, it hangs my iPhone 8 and I have to do some fancy footwork to get it working again. Other than that, it's the nicest it's been in a long time.

Submitted by Jimmy V on Friday, November 15, 2019

Seeing that this app posting hasn't been updated since 2017, I'm proud to say, as of the latest version, there are no longer any accessibility problems. Everything works amazing. Been using this for about a week to learn Spanish, love it! I hope it stays this way!
I especially love how the keyboard switches to the desired language when you have to type in the language your working on, and also love how Voiceover switches to the language voice as well!

Submitted by Kareem Dale on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Just downloaded this App using the latest version of IOS on an iphone 8. When VO reads the Spanish, it's mainly garbled and it can't be understood what Spanish word is being read unless you move character by character. I'm wondering if there is something I'm doing wrong or a setting I need to adjust. It seems as though it should read the Spanish words at least close to what they sound like, otherwise I don't know how this is useful but there must be something I'm doing wrong.

Submitted by Blinken223 on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

So after some time, I thought I would re-download the app and try it again. At first glance, it seemed to have improved.

The only downside is, each time I close the app and reopen it, I lose everything I had previously worked on.

I thought perhaps if I created an account, it might then keep my progress, but I can't seem to find any place that allows me to create an account with just an email. The only way it seems I can create one is by using either Facebook or Google, and I refuse to use this method to sign in.

I hear people say that you can click on the Profile button, where you can log in or view the settings, but even that doesn't seem to be visible with VoiceOver.

For now, I'm sad to say that the app will most likely be removed until they can correct this or add the option to sign in with Apple.

Submitted by Jason SW on Friday, March 27, 2020

I've been using Duolingo to learn Spanish for several weeks now, and it's been working great for me.
The only area where I've had issues is the stories section. I can read the text, and answer the questions, but there is no easy way to tap on a word to see what it means.

Submitted by NS studios on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Hi,

I've been using the app for a week now, and I was surprised to find it to be quite accessible.
The only problem I have is that I am unable to close advertisements that don't close on their own.
I can see a close advertisement button, but it's dimmed, and it stays dimmed no matter how long I wait for.
I've even tried tapping it without Voiceover on, but no go.
Does anyone know of a way to close that screen somehow?