Being presented a sequence of random, isolated nouns, verbs, and adjective doesn't seem like typing to me at all, or at least no kind of typing I've done in practice.
Example sequence: swat repetitious defensive tousled pimpled rerun closure poke weigh
This seems more useful for improving, say, my typing dexterity and my vocabulary. :P
Here's a fun one for programmers: http://typing.io/
Edit: I see now I can change the number of words displayed at the bottom of the page. Not great affordance.
That's the point. It's to build up muscle memory in the fingers so you use the correct fingers for typing. It's to bypass bad habits you may have learned with regular typing.
It is much harder to type those typing drills, but they do help when you're building your rhythm and speed.
That would help me, the user, know what to expect and therefore avoid an unpleasant first-time experience. It would also help differentiate this typing tutor from all the other ones.
I'm a reflective guy so I was able to think of a scenario where this tool was useful, but still assumed it was meant for another scenario. Most users will just pattern match this against all the other typing tutors they've used, find it unusual, and never come back.
Now "3" just seems like an arbitrary decision. Why 3? Why not 2 or 4 or 5?
Instead, I might take the fact that everyone here on HN mentioned it* as a signal that they're (1) anxious to change it and (2) can't find a way to relieve that anxiety.
(2) is happening because the attention is (rightly) focused on the typing bit of the screen.
What if there were a slider from 1 to, say, 5 right below the the typing area? It'd be easy to ignore but users would notice it as soon as they felt anxious about changing the number of words.
If you made it tie in dynamically with the value at the bottom of the page, it might also be an opportunity to "teach" your user to look at the bottom of the page for more advanced configuration options. Better yet: have a smaller version of the slider down there and connect the two. Then there would be literal movement to draw the users' attention to the bottom section of the page.
Other design nit: the top bar representing time and the bottom bar representing position shouldn't both be skinny orange lines. I realize the bottom bar is slightly thicker, but it still implies a connection where there isn't one.
A small non-orange triangle pointing up would be a good icon for the bottom bar, indicating "you are HERE." When a user makes an error, the triangle could advance and in addition to the letter turning red, it cloud leave a tiny red "X" on the same line as the triangle beneath the mistyped letter.
*: With the huge caveat that people on HN are lousy whiners and typically can't see the forest for the trees. Depending on how you feel about my feedback, I'm happy to be included in that bunch this time around. :)
Aaaaand this is why I use an IDE, so I don't have to type "protected" 100 times.
The basic issue here is the length of the word string. Normally speed tests have long documents, and as a result the cognitive start-up lag is a constant lost in the noise. But with a very short word string the lag is perhaps as much as a third of the allotted typing time.
Keyzen itself actually has the benefit of training typing on all of the symbols on the keyboard, something that "Keyzen Words+Plateau" seems to throw away entirely, unless I'm missing something.
Some random ideas I have about it (since it's easier to talk about stuff than to build it):
* Your quotes are all from famous books and movies, and you have affiliate links to Amazon... brilliant!
* Do you have a mechanism that minimizes repetition?
* Do you ever need to fake competition?
* Could you visualize mistakes as crashes, to keep things exciting?
* Consider making a keyboard UI for the site (Although I use vimium)
* Build a mechanism to challenge your friends.
* Analyze history and plot it. Take into account difficulty of paragraphs (come up with difficulty rating based on your user data).
* Give typing tips; perhaps it's enough to analyze words that the user mistyped, and offer them more passages with them.
* Improve the CSS. The UI should reflect the incredibly high level of polish in the gameplay.
Maybe I'll have more random ideas when I play it tomorrow. ;)
I used the design from the original key zen which is fairly pretty but I now realize not optimal for typing.
As a user commented on another post, it's a bit tough to type fast without seeing more words on the screen. I settled on 3 words at a time which was okay('ish).
I'd be interested in trying it with the timer bar going from left to right instead of growing from the center. Would give things more of a 'race' feeling.
The sound effects are nice.
Nice resume site, btw. You're very accomplished!
Which kind of makes sense, because "⎵" is more like "_" than like " ".
Also I didn't realize backspace was supported.
Aside from that, fun little game, well done!
I use the US Dvorak layout, but I can't imagine that's relevant.