das Referenz Wikipedia app

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das Referenz is a Wikipedia redesign done right - not just a mockup or a shot on dribbble, but and actual app you can use. And it’s really well designed.

Raureif have taken great care in designing it, from proper typographic features like ligatures, smart quotes and hyphenation, to nice little details like coordinates opening a map pop-over and pulling in wikidata to add context where relevant. Their in-depth article about the design on Medium has more thoughtful considerations to discover.

Reading Wikipedia on the desktop is still oftentimes a jarring experience. So much so that I’ve frequently pushed longer articles to Pocket as a workaround to be easier on the eyes. das Referenz is a great example of apps making the (mobile) web a better experience.

The app is available on the App Store for free. Or $2.99 without ads. Or $4.99 without ads and with karma.

Seduction of the Superficial

Peter Merholz writing about how the conversation around (digital) design has increasingly become about the superficial, often neglecting the deeper underlying layers that make up a product:

It plays into the still-prevailing attitude among business and technical types that designers don’t grok the deeper concerns in these complicated systems, and are best to bring in when it’s time to make something look good.

Still, we must be vigilant in maintaining similar attention to those deeper layers, precisely because their abstraction makes them more challenging to discuss.

Lumen

San Francisco based Mission Bicycles is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a retro-reflective coated bicycle. By day the bike’s a dark charcoal gray but in the dark when light hits it — blammo! the whole thing lights up. No need for plastic reflectors or messy taping. Brilliant.

Darklings and Smash Hit

Two games I’ve been enjoying these days.

Darklings

First up is Darklings by Mildmania. You play as a little fellow called Lum and banish Darklings from the world by drawing the symbols on their foreheads with your finger and ‘poof!’ they turn into stars you can collect. The characters, overall art direction and sound is neat as hell and the in-app purchase model doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the game. Quirky, artsy, fun goodness.

Smash Hit

The other one is Smash Hit where you throw steel (I presume) balls to destroy pyramids and walls and stuff made of glass in a minimalist world to a minimalist ambient soundtrack. The overall experience, though much more polished, reminds me of Speedx 3D - a game I’m very much missing on iOS. The game is free to play, but you can’t save your progress unless you pay, or you’ll start from zero every time, which will probably annoy you into coughing up $1.99.