I’ve been doing wanikani for about 9 months now consistently, and while I’ve had good results with it there are some very irritating design decisions that the service uses that are beginning to grate on me so I wanted to at least air them here so maybe someone will think about improving them at some point.
(1) Pressing enter after getting something wrong takes you to the next item in your review rather than the correct answer prompt My average score on a review session is around 85%, I only have time to do a review session once a day, so going through a review of 200+ items I want to get through them quickly. That means for almost all items I’m going to type in the correct answer (as I know its correct) and double tap enter to take me through to the next item before the green bar even appears. HOWEVER If the item is something I think I know and I get it wrong - after getting a string of 50 items correct - I reflexively push return twice, I see the red briefly then get taken onto the next item without any chance to see what my answer was and what the correct answer is (this is even worse when the wrong answer I gave was simply a typo). Now I can either wait until the item comes up again and guess knowing I’m probably gonna get it wrong (more on that below) or I can open a separate wanikani tab when the item comes up, paste in the item to the search bar and look up the correct item so I can see the correct answer that I should have seen when I got it wrong. What’s even worse is I know this functionality is built into wanikani because if you keep getting something wrong you are automatically taken to the vocab review when you press enter after inputting an incorrect answer. Having exactly the same input requirement for correct and incorrect items is not a good design decision and leads to frustration and wasted time.
(2) You can artificially tank your review items score In the above situation where I guess at the correct answer on a vocabulary item because the interface didn’t allow me to look it up and then get it wrong again within the same session my review score drops by another point. This means you can easily tank a single item from one correct answer before BURN all the way back to APPRENTICE simply because of interface design issues. To me it seems absurd to tank review scores within a single session as at the point of getting an item wrong that’s equivalent to forgetting it (or just typed it incorrectly) but it means there are no bars on you harming your progress because of innocent mistakes. In the end this means that review sessions end up getting bogged down with review items that you essentially already know rather than the stuff that is giving you the greatest gain and improvement.
(3) The KANJI to VOCAB readings are inconsistently evaluated If you type in a vocab reading while on a Kanji review the answer bar will often shake and give you a second chance to re-input. This is good as often I do know the correct on’yomi reading of the kanji I was just working fast and the first answer that jumped into my head was the vocab/kun’yomi reading. This shake prompts me to rethink and find the correct answer in my brain. However, there is no such system for Vocab to Kanji. This really only applies to vocab that is also a single kanji but it is again very irritating when you type in the kanji reading of a vocabulary item that is printed exactly the same as a kanji. Again I can’t understand why this is the case as the functionality to allow you have some lee way with this lexicographically identical elements is obviously in the system, but no one thought to make it consistent for vocabulary and kanji.
Essentially I think my biggest criticism is that wanikani has a lot of good interface features but none of them work consistently. One rule for kanji, one rule for vocab, contextual rules for showing prompt cards automatically that the wanikani has decided for its users. If these tools and features were use in a consistent manner OR at least made customisable that would be a great improvement.
If any one does know of any way to fix these sorts of issues though I’d be glad to hear them.