Site URL: Vocabulary.com
Content: The site’s primary function is to increase the vocabulary of its users. It does this through the use of The Challenge, an interactive game in which the user is asked to define a series of words. Based on the answers, new words are presented. Vocabulary.com uses a proprietary technology called Adaptive Vocabulary Instruction (AVI). Everything users do on the site adds to the AVI model. It’s as if you have a personal trainer in the room, monitoring your work and suggesting new words and exercises to challenge you on your level. Because of this, you don’t waste your time learning words that are too easy or too hard.
The secondary function of Vocabulary.com is the dictionary. The site calls it the world’s fastest, but the truly unique aspect is its relationship to the user’s ongoing progress in The Challenge. Whenever a user looks up a word, it can be added to his/her learning queue. Vocabulary.com will prioritize that word, so users can start learning it right away. That way the next time a user sees it, he/she won't have to look it up.
There is also a section that features original articles. Many of the pieces focus on current events and how they impact our vocabulary.
Design: Vocabulary.com’s design is very simple, which can be advantageous and confusing at the same time. Because you are prompted immediately to begin answering questions for The Challenge, you may not be quite sure what is going on at first.
Once users take a moment to actually look at the site, its design makes sense and its simplicity becomes beneficial.
Review: Apart from possible initial confusion when logging on, Vocabulary.com is a terrific tool for enhancing word knowledge. Sign-up is fast and free, which is an added benefit. The lack of advertising is remarkable, since most free sites bombard users with ads.
The ease of tracking your progress offers an additional advantage. Upon returning to the site, users can pick up right where they left off, with no time spent “catching up.”
Bottom Line: Get over the initial confusion, and a brilliant vocabulary tool is just a click away.