Each week we feature an app that has caught our or the Crozdesk community’s attention. We look for exciting features that make our lives easier, apps that take a radical approach to existing problems or a service that has everyone talking about it. In other words: Apps that we think you should know about.
This week’s featured app is Grammarly – a browser extension and web app, that helps you improve your writing skills by reducing your grammar and spelling mistakes. The integrated service and app Grammarly has seen an amazing growth since its foundation 7 years ago, and today it claims to be “the world’s leading automated proofreader” winning multiple awards in the tech industry!
Your writing skills matter to you?
Whether you are a content producer, blogger, marketer or are just keen on using proper grammar and spelling in all your email communications, Grammarly is a tool you should consider.
The functionality and seamless integration into important online services allow for a smooth correction process. The downsides of the app are limited and don’t impact productivity to a great extent.
Installation and Sign up Process
The first thing you will want to do when using Grammarly is install their plugin for your browser. Since Chrome is the most widespread browser used nowadays, this review is based on the Grammarly Chrome extension.
After installing the extension (and a restart, Chrome Version 47.0.2499.1 Canary) I was able to log in, using the review credentials Grammarly has provided us with, that do include premium features so we could test them.
But don’t worry, if you don’t have an account yet: The sign up process is as simple as it can get. Open the app, click the big sign up button and you should be good to go in a few seconds. No form filling skills required here. After you have signed up there is no additional login required so you can start straight away. So let’s get crackin’!
UI / UX
Grammarly comes in two flavours: The integrated pop-up in the services/domains that Grammarly already works with and a dedicated web app where you can upload and create documents, change your account details, etc. Both are easy to use, and I had no problems finding my way around (for there is little to fumble around with).
Grammarly should work on every website except the following:
- grammarly.com – and subdomains, but you would use the app here anyways
- facebook.com – the extension is disabled in the chat fields
Using Grammarly in Gmail or Facebook is pretty easy and well designed. Grammarly shows a summary number of the errors it found throughout your text and categorises them into two sections: critical and advanced issues. Correcting advanced issues does require a premium license, though. Critical errors can be corrected in the popup that allows you to work through your text, check the reasoning behind each error and receive suggestions on how to edit it – ranked by priority and criticalness.
No confusing buttons, functions or popups that you have to dismiss. Most corrections can be implemented by clicking on the suggestions so you don’t have to do much manual labour.
The web app is as simple as the pop-up. The icons and navigation panel are designed in a clear and concise way with good contrast and an intuitive layout. The top search bar allows you to search within documents and titles so you can easily look up past texts you have corrected. When editing texts, you can enable/disable separate functions to adjust the app to your needs. If, for example, you are writing a case study with quotes, just adjust your text type to “Case study” in the document type menu and disable the plagiarism function to avoid being spammed with notifications.
Grammarly offers an individual premium plan that you can subscribe to on a monthly ($29.95), quarterly ($59.95) or annual ($139.95) basis. With access to the premium features, you can edited advanced issues, and do over 250 new, premium checks on a wide range of premium-only document types like student essays, business reports, and novels.
Other licensing options are available for enterprises or educational and governmental institutions.
The Crash Test: How does it perform?
Disclaimer: As experts in the SaaS industry we do our fair share of content creation and lots of online reading. However, we do not qualify as professional proofreaders or have the qualifications of a language expert. The writer of this article is not a native speaker. Please consider this when reading the next paragraph. Feel free to comment and show further errors that are not covered in the comment section and we will be happy to implement them and check with Grammarly.
Now, obviously the competence and detection skills of a writing correction app are an important factor.
I tested Grammarly using the following dummy email to my co-worker Stéphane for our Crozdesk page. This is our testing paragraph:
Hi Stéphane, thank you to intro ducing my to Grammarly. Your a really, really cool collegue! But lets see how much of my mistakse grammarly was able to found. The test Im writing has a few errors and grammatical issue to found.
There are a total of 11 critical errors (+/- 1 depending on how you count) and a few wording mistakes, nothing too complex and something everyone should be able to grasp. Here is the corrected paragraph (spelling is highlighted in orange, grammar in red, wording in blue):
Hi Stéphane, thank you for introducing me to Grammarly. You’re a really, really cool colleague! But let’s see how many of my mistakes Grammarly is able to find. The text I’m writing includes a few errors and grammatical issues that can be found.
The following screenshot shows the Grammarly pop-up in Gmail without corrections:
This is what the text looks like after applying all suggested corrections in the right order:
Here is the text in clear writing:
Hi Stéphane, thank you for introducing me to Grammarly. You’re a cool colleague! But let’s see how much of my mistakes Grammarly was able to found. The test I’m writing has a few errors and grammatical issue to found.
Let’s run through the mistakes Grammarly was not able to identify:
- “But let’s see how much of my mistakes Grammarly was able to found.” – Two mistakes still in this sentence (wrong determiner and tense construction): […] see how many of my mistakes Grammarly is able to find.
- “The test I’m writing has a few errors and grammatical issue to found” – Two or three mistakes here (wording, plural and sentence construction): The text I’m writing includes a few errors and grammatical issues to be found. Better: The text I’m writing includes a few errors and grammatical issues that can be found.
Though the tense errors should be fairly obvious to detect and in other instances the app does perform better on this skill set, they were not highlighted in the test. The word swap “text” for “test” is due to the context of the paragraph as one and could be excused. What Grammarly still needs to work on is the recognition of missing plurals (here: the word “issue” in the last sentence). The app also didn’t suggest adding the preposition “a” to correct for the singularity of the noun nor added the “s” to account for the plural, but all in all it caught most mistakes.
Though this is a well established working guideline when you are used to writing, new bloggers and content creators might find that a bit confusing: If you want to use the online App, it will remove all formatting and hyperlinks from your text when you just paste the text from a different application. If you want to keep your formatting use the upload/download function. Applies only to the web app, not the plugin!
In my case, Grammarly used a serif font in a web browser window to display the web app text. Depending on the screen resolution you use to view the app, this might be a little hard to read, especially when you have set a custom zoom to your window. Applies only to the web app, not the plugin!
As seen in the competence section of this review, the algorithm does not detect all the errors that are hidden in a text – including some simple ones.
- Accessible and integrated
No matter where you work: in Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, your blog or an offline document: Grammarly has your back, offering instant corrections and text analysis.
- Better corrections than other apps
What makes Grammarly better than the rest is the combination of a very high accuracy in finding mistakes, and it’s large community to help you figure out the more tricky ones, when it comes to intention and meaning of your text.
Stop worrying about your spelling mistakes and start being productive – Check out their profile on Crozdesk and get started with Grammarly today!
Grammarly is available as a Chrome, Safari and Firefox browser extension, to work with your online tools, and as a Word® and Outlook® add-on. They even have Mac plugin in the pipeline. Though Grammarly does not support Google Docs yet, Affiliate Marketing Associate Galyna Kovalenko told us that they are currently looking into that.