"Is America here?"
Use здесь when you talk about real life; when you want to express that something or someone is close to your physical presence.
Use вот when you point to a map and want to say: "Here are we", "Here is Украина" and so on. Вот is much less related to your physical presence so it gets used with maps and documents a lot.
Order matters a lot to computers. You have to go to a lot of trouble constructing an amazing number of possibilities to program the computer to accept all conceivable, grammatically correct options.
On a free program like Duo, it is best to stay with the simplest translation. The simplest one is the one that the programmer had in mind when building the example. Use his word order where ever possible.
Alternatively, you can stretch it as much as you want and see if it works. Its not like anything bad happens really if you get an answer marked incorrect.
I leave aside the whole issue of word order being irrelevant in some situations from a grammar point of view but not from communication and style considerations. Given that, you might want to consider that since you are taking this course and at your current displayed level, it is probably best to regard Duo's grasp of Russian manner of speaking as being better than yours. If you want to be mellifluous in Russian, take your pointers where ever they come from. First, learn to sing the song. Then start playing with the rhythms.
Word order matters in every western language to some degree.
It's interesting. I wouldn't use "here is" (in the sense of вот) in a question in English and I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing is true in Russian. "here is"/вот is about presenting something to the listener and just doesn't work as a question.
So I don't see "Вот Америка?" working. I think both of your examples translate as "Америка здесь". Even though they are different, both come down to a question about the location of America and not involve presentation.
But I could be wrong and I 'm happy to be corrected by a native Russian.
This exercise should be removed because it was improperly designed and misleading. It was started from a russian phrase that was translated to an english phrase that students are asked to translate without context to russian. A VERY SLOPPY AND ERROR PRONE APPROACH THAT LITERALY INVITES GUESSING AND ERRORS. WHERE IS AMERICA. IS IT GONE, DESTROYED, MOVED OR HERE ON THIS MAP. Вот,ждесь? Америка ждесь, ждесь америка, америка ьот, ьот америка?
It takes about a week to learn to load, manage and effectively use a Cyrillic keyboard. That will be the least difficult and easiest thing to deal with in learning Russian.
If you choose not to learn to use a Cyrillic keyboard mapping then you are choosing to make a years long process of learning Russian much more difficult because you want to avoid three or four hours of practicing a certain kind of typing.
If you are using windows, just use their own Russian keyboard map. It will work perfectly with any format intended to work with windows. Look for installing U.S. International Keyboard first. Then add the windows Russian language pack
If you are using apple products, I'm sure that they have their own native Russian keyboard as well. Probably even easier to install than the couple of steps needed for the windows version.
Both in English and Russian, America is regarded as a term for a particular country. Both in English and Russian, there is no single continent referred to as American. There are historic, cultural reasons for that.
This is not true for some other languages but English and Russian are the applicable languages for this course.
I have to disagree.... "Historic and/ or Cultural reasons" doesn't necessarily means something is right. For years the western world called Bombay and Pekin two important Asian cities, and there was a global effort correcting the actual names: Mumbai and Beijing... Please fix this app to show America as the continent that includes citizens from the southern locations as Argentina and Chile provinces to the northern cities in Canada. It is not correct to simplify as 'America' the United States of America. Check in any official form, questionnaire or document, none will show a country called America. Please fix it. Thanks!
History and culture are what determine the actual language people use. In the two examples you mentioned, the authorities in the English speaking world agreed to change the name of the city to agree with the local language. They did not agree to change the name of India and China. In both of the cities you mention when people there speak English they use the term America to refer to the U.S. They refer to North and South America. I have no idea what terms they use in the several languages used locally there.
All English maps show two continents, North and South America. All native English speakers consider America to be the short form of the United States of America.
No native Canadian considers him or herself to be American and strongly resent foreigners applying the term to them when those foreigners speak English.
The official documents of any country use the official name of that country. Countries whose name involve several words have their name shortened to ease of communication in normal conversation. People talk about France not the Republic of France when speaking English.
Again, there are deep historic and cultural reasons why this is the case for English speakers. There are historic reasons why this is the case for Russian.
You are free to use the appropriate mode of expression in whatever language you grew up with when speaking that language. But it is insulting to English and Russian speakers to insist that your choice is the only valid one when using their language.