No, dictionary apps aren’t sexy. But for the avid reader, they are a useful addition. Sure, most e-reading apps and e-readers have integrated dictionaries, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to look up an unfamiliar word anywhere. That’s how I use the Dictionary.com app on my Nexus 7.
It’s always been a functional app, but it looked like a phone app spread out on a tablet screen, not an uncommon occurrence in Android apps. Today, however, Dictionary.com updated its app, optimized for Jelly Bean, and they completely refreshed the user interface. It’s now a nice looking as well as functional app.
Take a look at the widget (directly below), which is how I most often launch the app:
The widget has always shown the Word of the Day, and I’ve learned some interesting words from it. It also had a search box, but it used to look blocky and inelegant. Now it’s crisp, sharp and has the “listen to the word” feature right there in the widget. By the way, the voice that pronounces words is excellent. Clear and sharp, just like you want it to be.
Also, notice the little microphone? The app and widget are now compatible with voice recognition, if you prefer using that to typing.
On to the the app itself. Check out the home screen:
The font choice is readable, and it looks crisp on the high resolution display of the Nexus 7. The previous version was functional but not pretty. And no, pretty isn’t required, but why not have it if you can? Note the ad at the bottom. Yes, this is a free app and is ad-supported, but I haven’t found the ads to be too intrusive. I delete apps when the ads get in my way, and they never have in this app.
So, what does a definition look like in this app? Glad you asked.
You can look up definitions or use the Thesaurus feature. I like that they are both in one app. As a writer, I often need the Thesaurus, and I’m glad to have everything in one place. They also make it easy by allowing you to switch back and forth for a particular word. No need to look it up twice.
Note the slide show feature on the Home Screen? That’s new to this version, and I like it. They take a concept and then find words that fit the concept to create a slideshow, with both the definition of the words and a picture. Gotta love “Turducken,” an example of a portmanteau, which was the concept of this slideshow. Other app features refresh about once a week, and I’m guessing this one will as well.
They’ve done a good job with creating an app you’ll have reason to interact with on a daily basis, as well as being a utility app you’ll use over and over again—probably multiple times a day if you’re an avid reader or author … or just someone who likes words.