Thursday, January 13, 2011

pinfruit - my mnemonic web app for memorizing numbers

I have created a web app to memorize numbers. It implements the mnemonic major system. The system works on the principle that it is easier to remember words/sentences/stories than numbers. The web app facilitates finding sequences of words that encode a number in the mentioned system. I called the app pinfruit.

My first take on implementing the system was incorrect. I simply associated digits to letters. According to wikipedia the mnemonic major system assigns digits to sounds, rather then the letters of the alphabet. And rightly so, I immediately noticed that it is easier to work with sound associations.

My mistake originated in that I first learned the technique in Poland, and in Polish it does not matter if you assign digits to letters or sounds because both correspond. Unfortunately, in English this is not the case, the major difficulty in learning the language.

I have used pinfruit to memorize mainly pins and phone numbers, but also bank site's user identifiers, which often come as numbers.

The trick is to create a memorable (vivid or absurd) sentence/story for a number. My old phone number: 07514590312, can be encoded with husky leader leaps midway Hanoi, school weather helps Madonna or sickly water leaps hometown. I refer you to the wikipedia article for the detailed description of the system.


xtian said...

Cunning! I haven't heard of the mnemonic Major system before. The app looks nice, and it's pretty intuitive to use too.

One refinement I'd suggest is to show the number split up into the digits corresponding to the selected words - it'd make it easier to get familiar with the associations between the numbers and sounds.

Kamil Dworakowski said...

Xtian, if you mean splitting the number inside the textbox with spaces, I think this is a great idea. Quite subtle.

I was also planning on putting tooltips on the words with the numbers they represent. Both refinements will add to the usability without cluttering the interface, which is what I am aiming at.

Ryan Horrisberger said...

You did a pretty incredible job on pinfruit. I've using it and loving how much more intuitive and clean it is than other options. I found myself thinking, 'wow I wonder who created this web app that I love using.' gave no clue so I googled it so I could thank you!

Kamil Dworakowski said...

Thanks Ryan, I am pleased you like it. It is great regardless, but especially that you had to make an effort to find me.

To anyone that likes the app: link to if you can, it would improve its ranking in google.