Home Discover by Cooliris: Wikipedia Never Looked This Good

Discover by Cooliris: Wikipedia Never Looked This Good

Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites on the Internet, but the sparse design of the service isn’t likely to win awards. On the iPad, on the other hand, we are now seeing a trend towards beautiful apps like Flipboard, which combines design and functionality. With Discover, Cooliris is now launching a free Wikipedia app with a magazine-like interface that allows users to browse and search Wikipedia on the iPad in a whole new way.

Note: The app is currently still waiting for Apple’s approval. Cooliris expects it to be available soon. For the time being, you can sign up here to receive an alert when Apple approves the app.

The first page users will see when opening the app features large images and links to Wikipedia’s featured article and image of the day. From anywhere in the app, users can swipe down to bring up the search menu and swipe up to bring up their search history. In landscape mode, Cooliris generally uses the wider screen to display additional information like related articles or a more detailed list of your search history.

Articles are generally broken down by sections and currently come in three different layouts that the app chooses randomly. In later iterations, Cooliris hopes to offer more templates. The team behind the Discover app also told us that it hopes to get to the point where the app can choose themes that match the topic of a given article.

In order to focus on the reading experience, Cooliris decided to hide links. Instead of seeing underlined text, users can simply click on any word in the text. If the word isn’t linked to another Wikipedia page, the app will bring up a dictionary definition and if the text was linked, users can choose to open up the respective Wikipedia article.

There are, of course, a few things that Cooliris could still do to improve the app. Currently, for example, you need to have an Internet connection as the app doesn’t cache any content (pages are rendered on the fly). According to Cooliris, this is due to licensing issues. Also, while browsing articles, you can’t quickly skip between sections. Instead of highlighting related articles, it would be more user-friendly to allow readers to see the different sections of an article. The app is also currently unable to render tables in Wikipedia articles, which is not a major problem in most cases, but becomes an issue when reading articles about highly technical subjects.

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