Everyone loves Wikipedia… It’s the centre of most plagiarism in education, an unparalleled source of online information, and easily accessible for everyone. Wikipanion aims to make Wikipedia continually accessible for those who buy an Apple iPad, and with Wikipanion Plus, you can use the queue mode to queue articles you want to read in the future, and download articles from the service for offline viewing. Worth your money? Let’s see, shall we?
Wikipanion offers a very simple client, allowing you to view pages on the Wikipedia that we all know and love. Everything that happens in the app is handled at the top of the page, so you can read a plethora of online resources without being annoyed by tools that you don’t know about, or use.
Of course, there are a few more additions to be found in Wikipanion Plus version for the iPad, as it offers more features than the (very good) free version of the same application. You have some navigation buttons at the top of your screen that allow you to go back and forward between pages that you’ve visited, so you can refer back to something you saw earlier without fumbling around with a brand new search again. On the topic of searching, you’ll find the search bar on the opposite side of the navigation bar, accessible to you all the time when you’re in the application so you can quickly find what you’re looking for without any hassle.
I absolutely love the interface of Wikipanion when it’s in landscape mode on the iPad. In portrait mode, all your tools are lined up on the top of the page. However, when you’re in landscape, the contents of the article that you are currently reading are made visible in a separate tab to the left. This means that you can flick to certain points in the article that you’re reading without having to scroll through the entire thing. Really, really great design idea.
Of course, this section of the window isn’t just limited to the contents of the article you’re currently viewing. You have a choice of contents, related, bookmarks, and queue here. Each one of these are represented in that order from left to right, on the left hand side of the window. This is a lot more convenient than using it in portrait mode, because when in portrait mode, all of these different options are made accessible via drop down menus. Although this is necessary given the horizontal space limitations of portrait mode, it obstructs the article that you’re writing until you’re done with the menu. In landscape mode, it’s super easy to flick between the two sections of the screen, with everything in sight.
If you want to save the current page that you’re reading for later, then you can create a bookmark for it. If you’re using Wikipanion Plus, you can save the page for offline viewing at a later date, so you’re not bound to the restrictions of your Wi-Fi or 3G internet connection.
Wikipanion is a fantastic, free Wikipedia client app that I believe no iPad should be without (as should no iPhone). Therefore, if you spend a lot of time offline, you should perhaps buy the Wikipanion Plus iPad app version since it will allow you to download articles for offline viewing. As always, you can download it from the App Store for £2.99.