Ahh Wikipedia. The font of all knowledge on the Internet. Oh how we love you. But your mobile site leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully apps like Articles are here to save the day.
Articles uses a Safari-like interface and custom page rendering to give to a better Wikipedia viewing experience. You can bookmark specific articles, see a random article and view images in far better way than through the standard mobile site. But are you ready to fork out $2.99? Is it worth it? Let's find out.
- Multiple tabs
- Bookmark management
- History of previously viewed articles
- Saves images to camera roll
- Chapter index
- Auto suggestion of articles
- Find nearby articles using GPS location
- Random article bookmark
- Pinch to zoom/increase font size
- Landscape and portrait mode
- Lock orientation
- Share via email
- Access recent articles offline
With every Wikipedia app in the app store, there's always a new interface to get used to. Not so with Articles. Articles uses an interface that is identical to mobile Safari except the address bar is the search bar. On the navigation bar at the bottom there are buttons for going back and forward, adding a bookmark, accessing your bookmarks and organising tabs.
When you search for a page, Articles will suggest pages based on what you're typing as well as asking 'did you mean?' if you make a spelling mistake. You can easily search either just titles or search deeper within the content of articles simply by pressing the corresponding button below the search bar.
Once you have found the article you are looking for the first thing you will notice is how much nicer the page is rendered compared to mobile Wikipedia. The size of the text can be increase or decrease using pinch to zoom, depending on your personal preference. Tapping an image will zoom in so you can get a better look and from here you can either copy the image, or save it to the camera roll. Pressing the '+' button at the bottom will allow you bookmark the app for viewing at a later date.
But what about if you want to have more than one article open at any one time? This is where Articles jumps ahead of its competitors. Holding down on a link within a page will bring up a sub-menu allowing you to open the page, copy the link or open the link in a new tab. Managing tabs is exactly the same as it is in mobile Safari. Press the button in the bottom right and you can flick left and right between your tabs, create new ones and close current ones.
The bookmark management within Articles, as with everything else, works the same as Safari. You can reorder them, create folders and view your history. Articles comes pre-loaded with a selection of bookmarks related to paintings and artists as well as two bookmarks specific to Articles; Surprise Me! and Nearby. Surprise me will 'surprise' you with a random article from one of the many thousands available on Wikipedia. Nearby will use your GPS location and show all articles about places that are near to you, great if you're in an unfamiliar town and want to know more about where you are.
Articles strongest advantage over similar apps in the app store is the interface. It's simple to use, everything works seamlessly and having tabs makes browsing incredibly easy. Other great features like nearby articles and bookmark management puts Articles head and shoulders above other Wikipedia apps. Also, the way pages are rendered to be easier to read is a breath of fresh air. Too many apps simply packaged the mobile site into an app and don't offer anything new.
There is one glaring omission from Articles and that is the ability to jump to a specific section of an article. Without this, scrolling to a specific section can be a nightmare, especially if you are viewing a particularly long article. It's a shame that's such a good app is missing such a simple but useful feature.
Although there is no overview option for jumping to different sections, the other features included in Articles overshadow this; tabs, bookmarks and page rendering make this one of the best Wikipedia apps I have used. Overall, Articles offers a great user experience with excellent features to keep any wiki-addict happy.