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Inspire literacy, creativity, and a love of words with an inexpensive app for visually browsing and discovering words.

Inspire millions of people to discover and explore words. This project will build an iPad app for visually browsing and discovering words and the connections between them -- And publish it inexpensively or free. The app will be an interactive dictionary and thesaurus in English. 

Intuitive, visual browsing

The app will create word maps that blossom with related words, branching out to synonyms and definitions. Users will fly through floating constellations of words and discover relationships between them. Here's a possible design: 

Help us make it inexpensive or free

Your pledge will fund the work at IDEA.org by Michael, Ovidiu, Sean and Greg for two months to build this visual thesaurus app... publish it at an inexpensive price, and sometimes make free. If this project is funded on KickStarter, we'll publish the app at a low price, probably $0.99. 

For every extra $1 thousand in backing over our target, we'll make the app free for an extra week each year so that people (especially schools with scandalously small budgets) can download it freely. 

Encourage literacy & creativity

Students and adults will visually browse and discover new words and the connections between them. Word maps will blossom with related words, branching out to synonyms, antonyms, etymologies, and easily confused words

Project details

IDEA.org is a nonprofit, and if you back our project, you'll get a lot of bang for your buck because we’re super fast and super cost effective. We’ve already created the display technology, called SpicyNodes, which last year won the “Best Website for Teaching and Learning” award from American Association of School Librarians. We've already built a SpicyNodes-based app, "WikiNodes," for browsing Wikipedia. 

Wordnik will supply the definitions and synonyms. Wordnik has clear definitions from multiple sources, including synonyms, antonyms, and words that are more generic or abstract. 

Possible extra features

Our target is $7500 dollars for word maps of single words. If we reach $9000 in backing, we'll also make this awesome way to blend two different words: 

In the above sketch, the word 'ugly' on the left blends to 'beautiful' on the right... Word blends are fun, reveal how words are related, and are a great way to find a word that's on the tip of your tongue. 

To be published this summer

If funded, this summer, millions of people of all ages will have an appealing and intuitive new way to improve their vocabulary and love the English language a little bit more.

Millions. Seriously? 

Yes. Apple sold an astonishing 55 million iPads from its launch in 2010 through the end of 2011. The rate of sales is accelerating, and there are likely to be over 100 million in use by the end of 2012. See chart at Mashable. Free apps tend to be downloaded 10x-100x as much as paid apps.  

Is this really new? 

Yes. There is no app like this. But there are some related projects you should know about, which build our confidence about the app idea. The following are related: 

  • WikiNodes - An app we created for browsing Wikipedia. We'll use a similar approach for this app. 
  • Wordnik - An awesome online dictionary. We're using their API to load definitions and related words into the app. 
  • WordNet - A large, public domain lexical database of English developed at Princeton. We'll use their database for creating the word blends. 
  • DiscovrEncyclopædia Britannica - Discovr's apps for browsing music and movies demonstrate the popularity of radial layouts with nodes; Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal recently noted that the new Britannica app is similar to our WikiNodes app. 
  • VisualThesaurus.com - This web-only thesaurus was a pioneer in 1998, but they have many fewer word connections than we will get from Wordnik, and they are expensive, charging $3/month, or $20/year. -- We are not affiliated with VisualThesaurus.com.       

Credit: Audio in video is adapted from "Mutna sjećanja" by Marko Dragović at SoundCloud. 

FAQ

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    10 backers

    Be credited in the app's 'about' screen and on our web site. Plus get access to behind the scenes previews of prototypes and betas, and be invited to give your feedback an opinions on the app's features and design.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $25 or more
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    3 backers

    Above, plus a postcard... Receive a signed postcard of a word constellation (similar to a view from the app), with a central word selected by vote of all backers who contribute $25 or more. Great for your fridge, scrapbook, or wall.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $50 or more
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    1 backer

    Above, plus your chance to create your own definition... Tell us (a) any word; (b) the additional definition you want to appear; and (c) a secret code. If any user enters your secret code, your definition will be unlocked, and your extra definition will appear as part of the word. (This is also called an 'easter egg' in programming circles.) -- For example, you could add "Johnny Appleseed is the best grandfather in the world," as an additional definition for "Grandfather."

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    0 backers

    Above, plus a mug or bottle... Receive a snazzy coffee mug or metal water bottle with the app's logo and the word constellation wrapped around it. You'll be proud to sip your coffee or your filtered water. (Outside the U.S.? Please add $10 for international shipping.)

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  • Pledge $150 or more
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    4 backers

    Above, plus more public recognition... Your name will appear on the app 'launch screen' as a patron. Every time the app is launched, your name will appear while the app is loading. Proudly tell all users that you supported the app's development.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    0 backers

    Above, plus a memento for your wall... Receive a lovely poster-size word constellation map, signed, to frame and put on your wall. You choose the seed (central) word, and some options for the colors and style.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers

    Above, plus free app for two weeks!... For every donor who pledges $1000, we'll release the app for totally free for two bonus extra weeks at any dates you choose. Your support will directly make the app free for anyone to download.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (28 days)