Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites on the planet, and with good reason: it’s the fastest way to get an overview of almost any topic. And while it’s not a site without controversy, it’s hard to imagine the web without it.
Today Cool Websites and Games gives you tools for getting more out of Wikipedia, from alternative interfaces to games that force you to explore articles and think creatively. Let’s get started!
Minimal Wikipedia (Web): Prettier Version of Wikipedia
Wikipedia is among humanity’s greatest accomplishments – volunteers all over the planet work to give the world free access to knowledge of the arts, science and history.
It’s also kind of ugly.
Minimal Wikipedia tries to fix this with a simple design.
The fonts look nicer, the sidebars are gone and the entire thing is totally responsive – meaning it looks good on mobile and desktop computers alike. Bookmark the home page and you can quickly search for any article on any device.
Wikiwand (iOS, Android coming soon): Alternative App for Browsing Wikipedia
Minimal Wikipedia isn’t the only service out there that gives Wikipedia a new look. We told you about Wikiwand, another way to customize Wikipedia, back when it was only a browser plugin. It has since released an iPhone app (there’s an Android beta, but you need an invite).
The app not only gives Wikipedia a new look, but offers some new features – there’s a search feature that provides recommendations as you type, for example, and also a preview tool for seeing what an article is about before you open it. If you’ve tried the official Wikipedia app but didn’t love it, this one is worth checking out.
Wikireverse: See Who Linked to Wikipedia Articles [No Longer Available]
Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites on the planet, and that means that a lot of people link to it. If you want to find out which sites are linking to a particular article, Wiki Reverse has you covered.
This could be useful for many reasons. For example: if you help edit a particular page on Wikipedia, and notice a lot of people with a particular point of view seem to be editing it, this site can help you find out if there’s a site linking to the article asking people to make changes. But outside of use cases like that, Wiki Reverse is just interesting. Play with it a little.
Wikispeedia (Web): Game Based On “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon”
Wikipedia articles link to other articles a lot. This is useful if the reader needs more background, and is also the reason it’s so easy to get sucked down the Wikipedia Rabbit Hole. Wikispedia is a Wikipedia game that takes advantage of these links by turning them into a challenge.
You’re given two random Wikipedia articles, and you need to find the quickest path between the two. Can you do better than my path above?
Endless ($2, iOS): StumbleUpon for Wikipedia Articles
One of the real pleasures of reading Wikipedia is accidentally finding out, and reading about, something amazing. Endless shows you “random” Wikipedia articles from among a hand-picked selection known to be interesting.
If you love trivia and learning new things, try this one out – you’ll almost certainly find something you’re interested in.
What Wikipedia Tools Do You Use?
Wikipedia’s a lot of things. A source of information. A not-for-profit with millions in the bank. A great example of how open source projects should work. But everyone uses it differently, so I’m glad there are so many tools out there for making it truly your own.
We’ve gone over everything from Chrome extensions for Wikipedia to dedicated Wikipedia search engines, but there’s always more to cover. If you’ve found a tool that makes Wikipedia better, please let me know about it in the comments below. I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys find!