PROS / A sleek user interface and muted color palate help reduce the stress of learning a necessary skill.
CONS / The lack of games and quality tests forces users to rely solely on brief lessons.
VERDICT / The user interface is nice, but the lack of features is disappointing.
At first glance, Key Advantage Typing appears to be a wonderful example of Mac typing software. It has a nice-looking user interface and is well organized – two vital aspects to a quality application. It offers both QWERTY and Dvorak keyboard layouts, as well as the always helpful option to save and track multiple users. However, a lack of games and quality tests lands this program in sixth place on our list.
Lessons are prefaced by a short paragraph explanation and are not timed until all keys have been learned, which makes learning much easier for novices. User preferences are relatively simple, but based on convenience.
Customizable options are lacking. You cannot add music from your own libraries or even chose from pre-loaded music selections, making the process of learning to type somewhat arduous. You're also unable to adjust text size to reduce eye strain, or turn on sounds to indicate whether a keystroke has been executed correctly or not.
On the bright side, Key Advantage Mac typing software offers detailed instructions on ergonomic health, instructing users how often to rest and how to sit with proper posture –with photo examples –to avoid injury or strain. It even offers a feature found in no other Mac typing program we reviewed: ergonomic exercises.
The ergonomic exercises include rotating wrists, stretching arms, hand massage, neck stretches, taking walks and covering eyes (to prevent eye strain). The guide even goes so far as to recommend cutting out tobacco products to help increase blood flow.
The application offers no games, though adults will hardly find this a deal breaker when choosing a Mac typing software program. What they will find disappointing, however, is the lack of instruction that the lessons themselves provide.
Each lesson consists of a line or two of random letters that were featured in previous lessons or are being introduced with the lesson. Later lessons are composed of short pairings of two or three letters and short words. Lessons teach the full keyboard, numbers, symbols and the 10-key number pad.
Additional practice is not available until you've completed all the lessons because the practice exercises include all the keys that this Mac typing software program teaches. The additional practice consists of hundreds of texts and is designed to help identify problem areas. Once you've identified problem areas, you can return to the lessons that address them and keep taking and re-taking each lesson until you master the skill. Fortunately, the lessons produce different letter and word combinations each time, so you are challenged no matter how many times you take a lesson.
In addition to its lack of games, the application also offers no quality tests, though each lesson is scored for accuracy and WMP/AWPM results the way tests are scored in other Mac typing software programs. During our review process, we found that separate lessons and tests make learning a much simpler process, with a more clearly defined learning path.
Key Advantage does have the fortune of being very easy to use. The application itself is set up to be simple to navigate and, as we mentioned, has a very pleasing color palate and a modern, simple design. Like most Mac typing software programs, Key Advantage automatically saves each user’s progress. Progress reports are extensive, going beyond the typical statistics to include a detailed graph, accuracy information for each finger and a list of achievements earned for each lesson.
The user manual is accessed through the application, though the content itself is saved as a web page (which, fortunately, you can open without an internet connection). An additional ReadMe file is included with the download, and it has instructions for installing and uninstalling the application.
The help and support options for this particular piece of Mac typing software aren't as great as those of its peers. Updates are not available for download, though updated versions of the software can be purchased as they come out. The only means of technical support available include an email address, a postal address, user message boards and the aforementioned user manual. There is no FAQs page.
Though Key Advantage Typing may appear to be an excellent example of Mac typing software, a closer inspection reveals that it lacks what many of its peers include. From its sparse main feature set, to its lack of games and quality tests, to its substandard help and support options, Key Advantage Typing simply cannot stand up to similar Mac typing software programs.