Product Updates & Casual Natively Discussion

Wow, I just realized we have very few “new users of the month”. None in November nor December… I guess it’s mostly just the same people around here :sweat_smile:

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Yeah a lot of new people don’t seem to be coming to the forums, i’ve noticed that too. Well, i’m not too worried, I think there will be a lot of growth this year with movies & korean & other things (tags…etc). :slight_smile:


Oh wow, I had no idea. I wondered what would be the best way to e.g. add something to the " More Information" section, and already resigned myself that there is no easier way than maybe sending you a DM here.

Maybe making it something like “Anything to add or change here? Let us know!” could make it clearer…

Even the text after clicking on the button (“We love feedback! If you notice something wrong on the site or you have potential improvements, please let us know below.”) sounds more like it’s for bug reports or feature requests than e.g. adding info to the book to be honest.

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Speaking of which, were you still thinking of doing a plans for 2023 post? I’m just curious what you’ve been up to!


That’s good to know! I guess I should make it more clear.

That’s a good push! I am in the process of writing a status update, will release it tomorrow.

Edit: Still working on it, sorry!


PRODUCT UPDATE : Happy New Year, Update on Movies feature progress, What are we planning for 2023

Happy New Year everyone!

You may have been wondering what I’ve been up to and I apologize I haven’t updated you all sooner! I’ve been working on adding movies to the site (which i’ll discuss later), but right now, I just want to give a big shoutout to a great 2022!

What did we do in 2022?

  • Added Forums!
  • @cat started our first book club and @Megumin pioneered a product requests category
  • Added some awesome stats tracking, full with charts on days read, hours read, pages read and much more
  • Made progress on incorporating Movies / TV Shows
  • Overhauled the user profile, allowing photos and more comprehensive details
  • Business / Personal: Incorporated Natively in Seoul and moved there

Where is the site now?

  • Fully graded 2,484 series comprising 16,702 unique books!
  • 45,000+ user gradings
  • 1,200+ written book reviews, 14,000+ book ratings
  • ~5,000 site users, 1,971 forum users

Where are we going in 2023?

  • Finishing movies / tv shows (very soon hopefully)
  • Adding a second language Korean
  • Content Tags, Book Descriptions, Book Provider Search, Favorite list… and working on the Trello backlog (tbd)
  • Book Club support (?, tbd)
Some thoughts on the future roadmap

After we finish movies & a second language, V1 of Natively will have been completed. I know there are LOTS of things still to improve, but I think we’d have demonstrated a V1 of the core vision, that being a general language learning platform focused on helping users track and find native content.

So, after that point, I think it warrants a brief break to focus on smaller, high priority platform improvements (Content Tags… etc) before moving on to more substantive changes. We also will just need to digest a bit on Korean & Movies/TV Show.

What do I envision for V2? Well, I’d say there’s two different paths:

  • Path One: Expand breadth of languages, Outreach
  • Path Two: Dive Deeper into Significant New Product Features

To be frank, we’ll probably have a combination of both, so do one or two new languages and do one or two big new features… but those are the competing forces. A lot depends too on how difficult it is to add a new language. Honestly, I don’t imaging much difficulty from the product perspective… it’ll be more an issue of performing outreach, which I very well may hire for.

As for big new product features, what are my thoughts? First, I’d note that these are separate from the ‘medium size’ and below trello tickets. Those I don’t consider core initiatives but ones which I do hope to be more diligent in completing in a timely fashion. Big new features would be: Content Recommendation Engine and/or Book Club Support.

I think I’m more inclined to do the latter and I think there’s a lot of exciting things we could do around book clubs / movie clubs which fit nicely into growing the site. However, when we get here, I’ll be chatting with you before moving forward.

What’s happening with Movies/TV Shows

  • It’s coming! Hopefully soon. See notes below.
  • I was hoping to have it done by Feb 1, but it looks like Feb 8th is more realistic

Why has it taken so long?

Well, I won’t lie… my move to Korea and trying to learn Korean has been a bit of a distraction. It’s a lot to move to a new country and learn a new language as you all probably know! :laughing: I’ve really been focusing on Korean, but i’m feeling more comfortable now. Looking to focus more on Natively this year.

Secondly, this project also turned into a MUCH bigger project than I expected. I’ve essentially had to go through each interface on the site and re worked it to make sure it worked with both movies & books & potentially some more things down the line. That’s a lot of work and the more complicated the development, the exponentially more difficult it is to complete. But we’re close!

Sneak Peek into Movies

I won’t go through all of the changes, as movies will mostly work just like books do!
However, there are two substantive changes to know:

Subtitle information
Subtitle information will be required for your watched/watching audiovisual items. This influences which things you’re prompted to compare when grading difficulty. However, making a clean UI that is intuitive for inputting this information was slightly tricky. My solution:

  • allow you to easily set a default subtitle setting, so that you can quickly watch a bunch of movies as ‘watched’ and ‘with JP subs’

  • showcase this information via a little symbol (loudspeaker icon means audio only, text paragraph means subtitles)

  • can always specify the info in the big item popup form

Marking TV season progress
TV season progress will be based on num of episodes completed, not minutes watched. These particular episodes can be manually toggled as watched/watching/not watched or you can simply input a current episode number & current_minute and It’ll auto mark the episodes watched.

Auto Marking:

(book page - auto marked episodes)

Manual Marking:

(book page, manual marking)

There’s also one exciting thing we’ll be able to do with movies I’d like to mention. Our movie database (TMDB) has a partnership with and they provide streaming information based on location! I’ve played around with it, and I’ll definitely be able to allow you to search for content based on your location and preferred provider (like Netflix). It’ll be a followup, but i think it could be a gamechanger!!

That’s all I have for right now! As always, let me know your feedback and here’s to a great 2023! :partying_face: :slight_smile:

Edit: I’ll add this as a blog post soon, but on vacation right now


Intrigued :eyes:

I admittedly only know one person seriously learning Korean, but I imagine the overlap in JP and Korean learners is non-insignificant which might help a bit on the organic side.

Also if you’re looking to potentially hire people, I wonder if you may get bang for your buck having youtube ‘influencers’ promote Natively as one-off deals? Not talking the polyglots / learn lots of languages type necessarily, but the more focused single language people. Typically immigrants to that country.

Enjoy! :palm_tree:


How are you planning to handle search? Will it automatically search for both books and movies/shows, or are they more isolated?

Have you decided whether to allow us to disable these major features on the site entirely? Personally I will use the movies/shows section, but not everyone will want to use that (or may not want to use books for all we know). And once you add Korean I will definitely want a setting to block everything about Korean from the site.


Wow, thank you for the update, @brandon! I’m super excited to see all the new movie stuff! It’s an item on the Trello board already afaik, but I wanted to ask about it again, since it seems more relevant to the audiovisual update: will there be any ground-level support for tracking re-watches of a movie/show? It seems especially likely for learners to re-watch content several times, both with and without subs.


So, korean will definitely be optional. In otherwords, the entire site will be only toggled to one language at one time, like other major language learning platforms (Duolingo for instance). Books vs movies is a little more complicated - I’m currently having a drop-down inside the search for books vs audiovisual. I may eventually do a global search like anilist for books & audiovisual simultaneously, but we’ll see!!


Rewatches won’t be incorporated for the initial implementation. We’ll see how much more important it will be for audiovisual! But I know lots of people are already asking for it for books, so it is one of the higher priority items!


Potentially on the YouTubers! However, I suspect the issue won’t be actual outreach but rather organizing outreach and identifying high impact users and getting the onboarding grading process ok.


As long as there are filters on everything so I can turn off Korean, TV shows etc in various feeds (I’m thinking specifically the live activity feed on the dashboard, which I often use to find new stuff to wishlist) then that all sounds quite interesting

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Is there any way to get filter settings to stick? It’d be nice eg to not have to swap my wishlist to sort by level (ascending) every time i want to take a peek ahead for instance. Very minor issue tho


brandon you are a god. The audiovisual update looks amazing. I almost wish it didn’t exist because I have to use it and add a year’s worth of stuff now.

Also I didn’t realize how big the site was. Over 16k books…wow.

Of the smaller features I’m also really looking forward to content tags.


Ha, I was wondering if I was the only one who always did that. I’m not even sure I ever used any other sorting order.


I’m hoping this is the push I’m going to need to start watching more TV and movies and stuff. If I’ve got a handy place to track it, then even if I don’t understand much I get that satisfaction of a nice checkmark for everyone to see. :3


Unfortunately no. The only thing you can do is bookmark the url. It seems like it could be a good idea though… maybe a product request? :slight_smile:

Well, thank you, I love to hear that haha. But i’m very much a simple mortal, I assure you. :joy: :joy:

And 16k graded books yes, but over 36k books on the site, 3700 series!

I agree! I can’t wait until we get to Korean audiovisual for me :sweat_smile:


@brandon I don’t know what you changed, but that white flash on mobile is finally gone. :crossed_fingers: it stays gone!


I did update it recently, so maybe that?? Regardless, great news! :smile: