Better differentiate between "reading" and "meaning"

Sheesh. I’ve been using this website for years, and I never noticed the black/grey thing. :roll_eyes:


I mean, I think both sides of the argument have a point. It is very visible during reviews which is which, so it should be possible to accustom the brain to detect it. However, seems like this problem isn’t negligible either, seeing how many people are having trouble.

So I have a suggestion. How about using the color schemes for the answer fields themselves, where they are typed? Black background with white characters for reading, and vice versa for meaning.

1 Like

lol same. Well, eight months here, but still.

I definitely don’t see different colors either. It drives me nuts when I get the meaning and reading mixed up when I know the correct answer.

1 Like

It would be useful for anybody who doesn’t see the different background colours to post screenshots so we can see what you’re seeing as well.


I am so glad about this topic!
I was having trouble with this as well. While I was seeing the difference in the input field, my brain sometimes just wasn’t quick enough to distinguish between the two. And I hadn’t noticed the color difference at all before this post.
But now that I see it, my last review session just went a lot smoother :smile:
So thanks to the op for posting this! It changed my reviews and I hope you will get it sorted out as well :partying_face:

I totally noticed that…

1 Like

It also happens to me sometimes. But it don’t mind that much. But I agree that for people who are typing blind (Not looking at the response field) something could be done.
First: Why not replace “Meaning” with “Translation”? Keeping “Reading” should be fine because that’s what the different pronounciations are called.
Second: Change the kanjis or vocabularys background colors? Use e.g. different red and blue tones for meaning and reading? E.g. a strong tone for meaning and a light tone for reading. So the reader only has to scan one object.
An easy job for greasemonkey or settings for WaniKani?

This probably happens more to people who don’t type blind, i.e. people who look at their keyboard while typing.

1 Like

Sorry coming back to this threat I see there’s a bigger problem.

On the one hand I still feel like you’ll adapt to it after some levels, on the other hand, the program should be easy to use from the beginning. I’m really curious why the color doesn’t change for so many of you, this is the first time I read about it happening!

And so far you’ve only read about it. I’ll believe it’s really happening when I see the screenshots as I suspect it’s just that people didn’t notice the inverted white on black.

For what it’s worth, though, I also think WK should figure out a way to make it easier not to make this kind of bedevilling mistake. I don’t make them any more, but for the first 13 levels or so…


Aye, I’m with you on this. Pics or it didn’t happen.


It might happen if you use the Lynx browser…


so this topic has come up ever-so occasionally, but when it does, there are a lot (a fair bit?) of people who come forward and speak to their experiences with differentiating the reading and meaning sections of reviews.

my guess is that it comes down to the whole page layout, the reading and meaning bars don’t take up much room. they’re only a small slice of horizontal space on the screen. they’re not really interacted with in any meaningful way so our brains have learned to ignore it, similarrrr (noncommittal hand gesture) to the banner blindness effect.

i don’t know if there are any language-learning ui/ux designers out there, but if there are, they’ll have more of an understanding on this, i think.

personally, i don’t really have this problem, except sometimes i’ll space out and type in the english meaning in the reading field, however, a step towards higher web accessibility would be nice, just on principle. i’m sure low-vision folks and anyone else who need the contrast would appreciate it.


i felt bad for laughing when i read that someone was going to take screenshots in an hour of their posting to prove everyone wrong and just never came back in the 11 hours after when i had seen it

Heres a dumb suggestion that wouldn’t be easy to implement: keep the “meaning” field the same, but use たて書き for the reading.

OK, that is indeed dumb because the biggest such problem is typing the reading for the meaning, and my suggestion probably wouldn’t help that.

The real problem is that our romaji-adept brains often don’t see the error when we type, say utsukushii instead of beautiful for 美しい.

1 Like

i actually really like the idea suggested above where the field you type in changes its colors.

1 Like

Hahaha right! Let’s see, if people are really bothered by it they can also email koichi and the others with screenshots right? Then they can fix it

1 Like

so i’m doing some reviews now and i’m using the wanikani breeze dark theme for the stylish add-on, and i’m noticing that consistently that i’m able to focus on the middle “meaning” and “reading” bar and the kanji/vocab at the same time. there’s less contrast between the two areas that display the kanji and answer prompts. however what does change color is the kanji or vocab itself, which makes things very readable.

when i do reviews on mobile or tablet, the brightness of the pink, blue, and purple backgrounds overshadow the non-bright black and white banners of “meaning” and “reading”. the differences in brightness/saturation may also contribute to the ignoring of the actual prompts.

just some anecdotes *finger guns*


Or perhaps black-on-white for meaning, but white-on-purple (or white-on-pink) for reading. I think Tofugu would need to do actual usability studies to see what worked best. Maybe by giving some new users a couple free levels in exchange for participating.