Where would we be without Wikipedia? How would we settle those instantaneous curiosities without the de facto encyclopedia always available in front of us and in our pockets?
Without a doubt, Wikipedia is a crucial piece to our everyday lives for many of us. But why does it have to be so damn ugly!? Am I right!?
To a certain extent, it makes sense: it needs to meet the needs of billions of people without distracting them or turning them off; it needs to be easy to read to accommodate those with disabilities; and it needs to be lightweight to not be a drain on the resources of the end user or the Foundation.
However, for those looking for a more immersive and beautifully designed layout, look no further than Wikiwand.
Wikiwand has sought to improve the reading experience with typography, design and imagery and they’ve done a fantastic job of it. Just take a look at these images and tell me that they’re not an enormous improvement over the default Wikipedia layout:
All of the main elements that you’re so used to seeing on Wikipedia, like lists, tables of content, galleries and images have all been rethought and put into a more stylish and beautiful layout, which makes it more of a joy to read.
There’s also a host of usability improvements too, like the ability to change the page styles to suit your own needs/preferences, bookmarks, sharing services, keyboard shortcuts.
The best part about all of this is that Wikiwand has browser extensions for all the main browsers which automagically send you to the Wikiwand version of every Wikipedia article you try to pull up, so you need do nothing to alter your behaviour: just keep using the Internet as you would.
There’s also links back to the Wikipedia site, if you wish to read the article there or perform other tasks, like downloading a PDF of the article, editing it, viewing the page history etc.
And to top it all off, they have an iPhone app, which is just as beautiful as the desktop site and has some other benefits like being very lightweight and having “quick fact cards” for certain types of articles, like celebrities.
All in all, Wikiwand is a great addition to the Wikipedia platform and makes my unquenchable thirst for knowledge more enjoyable.