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March 21, 2016 / carlispina

Navigate Wikipedia With Ease On Your iOS Device With Viki

Viki LogoIf you are like me, you probably search for Wikipedia on your smartphone frequently. While Wikipedia’s mobile interface is very usable, the browser-based experience is not able to take advantage of all the features available to mobile apps. Viki is an iOS-specific app that offers a fully-featured Wikipedia experience that not only offers additional functionality beyond the browser-based experience, but also offers an attractive design that will make you even happier to use Wikipedia.

With Viki, every aspect of the experience is tailored to your iOS device. The app is designed to be extremely usable on iPhones, iPads, and even the Apple Watch, though this post focuses on the iPhone experience, which is where I think the app makes for a particularly nice navigation experience. You can search for content in Wikipedia using the search box at the top of the app, making the search very central to the app. Though it does not change the content of Wikipedia pages, it does change the order of the content to pull an overview of the article to the top of the page above the box of brief information that typically appears to the right of Wikipedia entries on a full-sized screen. For long articles, the article’s table of contents is available with a single click at the bottom right of the page screen, making it fast to navigate to the desired segment of the article. Using that same menu, you can also bookmark and share a page. In the upper right corner of the app, you can also quickly change the language of the article, which is great for both practicing your language skills and offering a better experience for those whose first language is not English. If you find yourself going to the same articles repeatedly, you will also be happy to find that Viki keeps a list of recently visited articles as well as those that you have bookmarked. Though Viki does not offer the ability to edit articles within the app, it does include a button that will automatically open the editing page for the article in Safari on your device, which makes this a minor inconvenience.

Viki Map Screenshot

Though all of this is enough of a reason to use Viki, what really sets it apart for me is the way that it maps Wikipedia information. Using this feature, you can find all of the Wikipedia articles that are tied to a particular location, either by zooming in to this location on the map within the app or by allowing the app to automatically detect your location to serve up information about places near your current location. The look of this segment of the app is engaging and easy to understand, as you can see in the image above. It is a great way to find out about your current location or to plan an upcoming trip to a new area. All of this taken together makes Viki a fun way to use Wikipedia and well worth the $1.99 price tag if you frequently use Wikipedia on your iOS device.

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