This is a what-if experiment in web design: What if we designed web-sites according to print principles, an experiment in web design, a high-readability, low-distraction encyclopedia with design choices such as narrow column widths, high line-spacing and a consistent typeface.
It is mostly for my own personal use, but you are very welcome to explore as well.
The experience is primarily designed for full-screen use on desktop computers. It will work on mobile devices as well, tablets better than phones, but only just.
I struggle reading long texts the Internet. I find myself constantly distracted by links and other visual clutter, and my attention is constantly drawn left and right. I find myself skimming and skipping parts of the text. This is obviously deleterious for reading comprehension.
Websites like Wikipedia are very fond of inline-links, which are visually obtrusive, and draw the eyes of the reader away from the text, encouraging skipping sections and hopping back and forth in the text in an undirected manner.
The notion that the attention span of readers is dwindling is popular in web-design circles, but unfortunately, the solution to this is often to make everything even more attention grabbing. This seems counter-productive, as it's the same things that grabs attention that also steals away attention. The result is that it's even harder to focus.
Based on the observation that I have much less trouble reading printed text, I've tried to emulate the design principles of print on this web-based encyclopedia.
I've tried to design this encyclopedia to be as non-distracting as possible. Most inline links are moved out of the text. You're expected to read the body of the text first before advancing to other articles. Most citations are also removed. For citations, the main Wikipedia project is still available.
As an effect of machine-converting Wikipedia articles, some glitches are present. In particular, some tabular data is a bit mangled.
Use this form to search for articles in the encyclopedia. It's a prefix-based search, meaning that your search terms are matched against the beginning of the names of articles.
If for example you search for cat, you'll get a such as
On a technical level, this index uses an in-memory PATRICIA Trie.
This project uses data from the Wikipedia project, licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license. The article content is from the publicly available Kiwix/OpenZIM dumps, which typically lag behind the main Wikipedia project by up to a year.
The code for the encyclopedia project is open source and available on github.
The service itself runs off a Raspberry Pi, so depending on the amount of traffic it may sometimes get a bit slow. Be patient.