Qwiki: the information experience

A couple of months ago I discovered Qwiki.com, a site which aims to transform the way in which people consume information on web by offering ‘information experiences’. The site aims to do this by allowing users to search for information on a particular topic, much like conventional sites although; rather than simply returning a list of results the user is given a short presentation or ‘Qwiki’ which contains a variety of different panels with all sorts of information in various different formats depending on what you searched for.

When searching for a person for example; you will often see a panel containing a little timeline with information on their current age, birth date & even date of death. The image below shows an extract from the Isambard Kingdom Brunel results:


The information contained in the various panels of each Qwiki varies depending on what is searched for, if you search for a film for example, chances are you will be shown a Qwiki containing video clips, movie posters or photographs from that film. Search for a town or city and you will be presented with a map panel which zooms in stages to the specific location using Google maps - which also means that the user can click on the panel & navigate around the map as if they were viewing it straight from Google.

I was lucky enough to receive an early invite to the alpha testing stage of the site which meant I got to sample these various ‘information experiences’ on offer & so far I have been impressed with the results. Each Qwiki is essentially an interactive story on a particular topic, the various panels can all be interacted with and a excerpt of text on the topic is read to you automatically, all of which creates quite an enjoyable experience.

As with all projects in an alpha testing stage there are still some bugs which are being worked on and areas of the site which are being improved upon. One area I would like to see improved is the voice over each Qwiki has to read out the information you would usually read - it is far too unnatural at the moment which may be an issue for some users.

All in all though it will be interesting to see how Qwiki develops over the course of this year as it really does seem like a fresh approach to how information is presented to a user.

The video below shows Qwiki & its founders in action at the TechCrunch Disrupt event:

Qwiki at TechCrunch Disrupt from Qwiki on Vimeo.

Have you tried Qwiki yet? Leave a comment below along with your initial thoughtsi. Alternatively tweet your thoughts on Qwiki to me @TEDavis.

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