Better differentiate between "reading" and "meaning"

Reading and Meaning are of similar length and presented in the same font and same position within the UI during reviews. I constantly confuse them and have to focus on reading the specific words instead of what we should be focusing on: remembering the readings and meaning of each radical/kanji/vocab. I suggest a design change where the color of the word reading and meaning is differentiated or where an icon is provided (reading may have a Japanese character next to it and meaning may have an English character next to it).


You mean the actual word “Vocabulary Meaning” or “Vocabulary Reading”? The background changes color, gray for meanings and black for readings. And the text color inverts with it.

Maybe you still consider that insufficient, but I think it would be easily fixed with the tools we have available for customizing how the website looks. I’m not sure how people do that specifically, since I haven’t myself, but plenty of people do.

Tbh I think you’ll get used to it after some more levels

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I do mean the actual words “Vocabulary Meaning” and “Vocabulary Reading”. The color definitely doesn’t change on my browser (Chrome).

So you see something other than this? I have some scripts, but I don’t think I have any that changed that kind of thing.

image image

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Also, as you can see from Leebo’s screenshots, the prompt text is “Your Response” for meaning, and “答え” for reading, to match the language you’ll answer with


I definitely don’t see the black backgrounding from Leebo’s screenshots (they must be an extension). I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed the Your Response vs 答え distinction (which may mean it’s not a good distinction from a design perspective).

It’s not an extension, that’s the default.


The backgrounds are a core feature, they should work. Is it possible that you’re reviewing radicals? They don’t have readings at all. Otherwise it sounds like something is not working correctly. Which web browser are you using?

Yeah, I just opened it up in Firefox, which I never use and thus have no scripts installed, and the colors were the same as I posted.

I’m reviewing Kanji and Vocab. The background of the reviewed term (Radical, Kanji, Vocab) changes, but the meaning vs reading does not change. I’m using Chrome. I’ll post some screenshots when my next review opens up in an hour and you can buy my first month of WaniKani if you’re wrong!

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Why would I want your first month of WaniKani?


How much are you selling it for?


… It’s the default. If you’re not seeing it too, it’s not that we’re wrong, it’s that your browser is wrong. You can try to convince Chrome to buy you a WaniKani subscription if you’d like, but a better option would be to give a different browser a try before telling us that we don’t know what we’re talking about.

Oddly enough, I have the same situation as mylesl in that the colors don’t change. (I’m using firefox, on two different computers.) However I had noticed the different languages prompts, and been going by that usually. (I occasionally still miss the prompt and type the wrong one. Dyslexia + ‘In the groove’ with several “meaning” or “reading” ones in a row kills me soo many times.) I will need to look into why the colors don’t invert, as that would help me greatly as well.


regardless of how easy someone thinks it is to distinguish, and what other ways exist to circumvent it, via scripts or other means… this is not the first such thread. it keeps coming up again and again, and that indicates that it’s not perfect.

maybe add some icons, a colored frame or whatever it takes, because easing newbies in should have a high priority.


Sounds like we should get @viet in here

I agree that it is a source of frustrating mistakes and a distractor. There are
some changes that although when put side to side are very apparent (like color
inversion), attentionaly get dismissed by the brain (which is focused on remembering).

I think a very good solution would be, just as when you enter the kun-yomi reading
instead of the on-yomi reading; when you enter the meaning instead of the reading
or viceversa, just to let the user know that something else is expected, instead of
marking it as a mistake.


It’s highly unlikely to enter the meaning for the reading, because a lot of English words end up as garbage when treated as Japanese input, so they won’t be accepted at all. It’s also obvious when you start typing and hiragana appear that it’s not the meaning side.

By the same token, if you are on the 女 card and you see onnna in the field, it should be clear that it’s wrong since readings will always be hiragana.

yeah, but seriously, what would be bad about improving the system?

we’re not yet so old and bitter that we’d brush off any suggestions as “unneeded” and to think that life has to be hard for the youngsters, because we walked 30 kilometers to school, up the mountain, through the snow, with storms from the front, barefeet… or are we?

i’ve seen like 10 such threads, maybe more. if new people get confused by this frequently, then there’s potential for improvement IMHO.


This doesn’t strike me as all that common of a complaint, but maybe that’s just me. It’s just that the requested improvements already exist.

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