WikiNodes is a new iPad app that offers a lively new approach to working with Wikipedia. As the name might suggest, it uses nodes to represent articles and to show how articles and subjects are related.
I’ve tried a handful of Wikipedia apps for iOS and would not generally be enthusiastic about looking at another one; but this app’s distinctly different interface interested me enough to give it a go.
When you launch WikiNodes you’re presented with a number of nodes dotted around the screen. These represent a featured article for the day, a series of ‘On This Day’ nodes linked to articles about major events that happened on this date, and a series of ‘In the News’ nodes with topical articles.
You can tap and drag to move nodes around on the screen. Tapping on any individual node opens it up at small size with a brief synopsis of its content. A further tap on the arrows icon at top right of the node container pulls it up at larger size and shows a full article or subject entry. Nodes for single subjects are surrounded by nodes for related topics.
Links within articles are tap-able.
— The WikiNodes UI is a fresh approach and is a fun way to get more involved with Wikipedia content. The On This Day and In the News featured nodes draw you in and lead you to explore a bit. I could see this being a fun app for teachers – as it it can provide new topics for discussion, share a little history each day for students, and let students see at a glance how topics are inter-connected.
— There’s a search bar in the app so you can use it in more typical ways as well. It auto-populates likely subjects as you type.
— At times when you select a search term the results come up very slowly. In-article links can be quite slow to load as well.
— The app doesn’t remember where you left off. It always drops you back out at the main start screen when you switch away and return to it.
— There are some inconsistent interface elements. For instance, some nodes once you tap on them show arrows to toggle them expanded or collapsed, others just show a small link saying show this node
WikiNodes is a light feeling, fun and different take on Wikipedia for the iPad. It needs some work on the performance issues mentioned above and polishing the UI a bit, but it’s still a very likable app.
Here’s an App Store link for WikiNodes; it’s priced at $0.99.
Disclosure: This app was independently purchased by the post author in the iPad App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the "About" page.