Duolingo needs to do a better job...
I was surprised when I saw duolingo added chinese. I was disappointed in it though. There is no practice for writing characters and there needs a steadier lesson plan. The second lesson is on names! The lesson jumps way to much and if duolingo can fix this, I will be very happy!
If you have a mac and want to draw the characters, then put the "use your keyboard" option and go to keyboard settings and install the stroke or pinyin keyboard.
ive been struggling to learn stroke order and to get the pronunciations. Duolingo does not help with this. I will continue to use duolingo, but Im going to have to find some other way to learn this. Using duolingo, i might learn to read by recognizing charachters, but I wouldn't be able to speak or write
Skritter is an excellent service for learning to write Chinese. Maybe Duolingo didn't want to re-invent the wheel?
Writing characters is a useless skill. If you want to learn calligraphy, take a calligraphy class. I'm not saying Duolingo is perfect at teaching chinese, or even great at it, but it will help you get better at the things you need to get better at.