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.
The distinction that is being made by the design choice is the following (i think):
Kanji have many readings. WK for simplicity of memorization only associates one chosen reading as “the” main reading for the kanji. But if you type a kun reading when it wants an on reading (for example), you are still answering the question correctly. i.e. you provided a correct reading for the kanji, it just wasn’t the reading that WK asks for. And in acknowledging that their choice of the “one” reading is somewhat arbitrary, it gives you another chance.
Vocab, however, have only one correct pronunciation. They are words. if you give another reading for a vocab word you have provided an incorrect answer.
So its not that I don’t get your frustration, but i don’t think that (3) is an arbitrary or poor design decision.
As for the other issues, try out the Double-Check script. It has a “mistake delay” feature that locks out the Enter key for a configurable amount of time after a wrong answer (and optionally if a vocab has multiple meanings; or if your English answer is slightly off, which could be due to a wrong answer that’s spelled close enough the pass the typo forgiveness filter)
Edit: As @flanfatal mentioned, the Mistake Delay script has the same functionality. I usually point people toward Double Check because it has additional features that you can choose to use, and the two scripts aren’t compatible. But if you just want the Mistake Delay, it works just as well.
No. Revealing the correct answer after typing the incorrect one makes the game too easy. And what’s the point of showing the same answer prompt again? Obviously you will answer it correctly if you just saw the correct answer. No, let it return to the loop and be repeated some time later at the unexpected time. This is the only correct design choice. Similar situation happens all the time to me; I press double-enter fast and if the answer is incorrect it flashes away so fast that sometimes I do not even recognize what was wrong, did I made a typo or did I really made a mistake. And I like it that way. And by the way, failing an item once and failing an item twice during the same review session lowers the SRS level by the same amount. Only the third failure decreases the SRS level further. So you can fail it the second time and check the answer without lowering the score any more than if you checked it the first time it appeared.
That is a great feature, I sometimes use it to deliberately tank the score all the way back if I think I genuinely forgot the item. I just repeatedly fail it a few times, even when I already know the correct answer. I think lowering the item level in WK is too merciful; if I fail an item once in Anki it goes all the way to the beginning, and I like that way more.
You should distinguish possible readings of the kanji characters and possible readings of words, even if they consist of single character. Some words can have multiple readings, and WK support that, but most words have only one reading.
Q: How character “I” can be read?
A: It is “ai”, like in the word “while”
Q: Correct, but we expect another reading
A: Then it can be “ee”, like in the word “give”
Personally I don’t think its unreasonable to want to get through a review session quickly. Wanikani is a useful supplementary piece of learning software, but when you have a job and family life and only a couple of hours a day to devote to Japanese study there is only so much time one can spend doing SRS reviews in priority of other learning methods.
Also, as I stated above, the delay feature already exists in wanikani, my complaint is more directed at why that failure delay is not the default rather than something that only triggers after you get an item wrong several times.
Ok. Thank you for the clarification. I guess it just seems a little needlessly punitive to me when the Kanji and vocab look so similar out of context (as they are in an SRS, only the color background tells you the difference unlike in actual text). But from your answer I can understand from a linguistic point of view why they made the decision, I’m just not sure I agree with the decision considering the fact that kanji and vocab can’t be inherently distinguished in the system and the extra color coding is required.
Yeah, this is a drag, so the mistake delay script linked earlier in this thread is a must!
But I also wanted to mention that you can see the last 10 items you’ve reviewed by hitting the comma key, or clicking the checkmark icon second icon under the answer box. That way you don’t need to try to search for the item manually:
Also, please pay no mind to the “lmao your fault for hitting enter too fast” replies. That unfortunately happens in every thread even tangentially related to this topic, offering little beyond a finger-wagging admonishment.
Thank you for clarifying how the SRS level system works. And similar to the response I gave above about the kanji and vocab distinction, I understand it now from a linguistic point of view, but I still think its needlessly punitive in terms of the kanji and vocab basically being indistinguishable out of context when viewed in a SRS. To your other points I think we probably just view wanikani differently. To me its an efficiency tool to make communicating at work easier. I want to get through as efficiently as possible.
Thank you so much. That’s a really useful piece of information about looking at the last items reviewed. I really appreciate the help! I’m still beginning with wanikani so its useful to get inducted into the features by other users.
Yes, I from reading around I think some people on the forums seem to view wanikani as a game (which is fine) and are just saying “get good” and that whole elitist mentality. Personally I don’t view it that way. I’m using it because I have Japanese clients in my job. It’s work for me so I want to make it as efficient as I can to make progress in a way that suits me personally. Other people are free to do it their own way if they want.
There’s a script that can automatically display all accepted answers when you press enter:
Make sure you check “settings” on your WK dashboard to configure when the answers are shown.
Also, I leave all of my personally-added synonyms lower-case so that I can immediately tell which synonyms came with WK (capitalized) and which I’ve added (all lower-case).