I like words. I'm not a word snob, but I've always loved opening a dictionary or encyclopedia and reading a random passage. I loved my high school thesaurus until the cover fell off and pages trickled across my college campus.
Wordflex is an iPad only app. The app launches with basic instructions, but it was fun for me discovering the few simple interactions and payoffs.
I started by searching for a single word. Wordflex immediately returned a result with a gorgeous interactive spatial presentation. The definition is there, but that's not what Wordflex is about. A web of synonyms, pronunciations, parts of speech and origin are presented with smooth pan and zoom animations.
Tapping on a synonym explodes a new part of a larger diagram. Along the way, the relationships are maintained in the map. It's a rabbit hole of lexophilia that consumed a large portion of my free time. It was the visual and tactile presentation that drew me in. Tapping a word is satisfying as the diagram explodes and contracts to show new word relationships.
Wordfles is masterfully executed. Every piece of UI has been thought through. There are no default iOS pop-overs and the app has been updated for the retina iPad. But it's not just about pretty chrome. There are easily accessed functions for marking favorite words and a history for recalling them and their maps. Even the audio is well done. Many words have multiple pronunciation dialects that are clear and surprisingly non-mechanical.2
Wordflex provides several ways to experience and share the results of an exploration. Any view can be zoomed and panned then exported to the photo library, Twitter, Facebook, Email or a printer.
There is also an animation mode that provides a passive experience. Switching to this mode presents a screen where related words and definitions slowly drift toward the foreground. Tapping on a element switches the view and focuses on a point in the map.
Wordflex is made in conjunction with the Oxford University Press and the attention to the content shows. It may never replace a proper dictionary, but not many people are looking to do that. For $13 I highly recommend it for anyone that enjoys the English language.
Wordflex Touch Dictionary; $13; iPad Only