Readability – Read What You Want, How You Want

Last week I mentioned a nice tool in the form of a bookmarklet. From the lab of arc90, Readability allows you to remove the clutter that surrounds the content that you are trying to read.

Now, I must say that I have some hesitations with this tool. I am a strong believer in the idea of reading someone’s published content in the environment that they painstakingly created. When it comes to reading my favourite blog, I prefer to read every article in the browser, not in my feed reader. Why? Because a blogger’s site is part of the experience.

It’s like you’re being invited into their home. I want to read their writing in their intended setting.

Having said that, there is definitely place for a tool like Readability. When it comes to community sites, news portals, and other online syndications, the characteristics I mention above are not so prevalent.

And, in most cases, these types of sites are the most offensive when it comes to surrounding the reader with digital clutter. These are the kind of sites that Readability was intended for.

Try It Out

Here’s how to get started with this tool. Browse to the page and choose your preferred settings.

Choose from several options to view the text the way you want.

Choose from several options to view the text the way you want.

A nice touch with this tool is how they’ve given different options for how you want the text displayed, and then preview it for you. Have a Kindle? Then perhaps you want your text in the eBook style. Maybe you prefer monospace fonts. Choose the Terminal style then.

No matter how you like your text, Readability should have an option that works for you. My only wish here is that you could specify your font as well.

After you’ve chosen your desired settings, simply drag the Bookmarklet button to your browser’s bookmark bar.

Drag the button to your Bookmark bar.

Drag the button to your Bookmark bar.

Once you’ve done that, you simply click the new button you’ve created. I prefer to use a folder to store all of my favourite bookmarklets for easy access.

Store all your browser tools in an easy to access folder.

Store all your browser tools in an easy to access folder.

Get Reading

Now go to CNN.com or a similar news site and get reading. And learn to enjoy the beauty of pure text.


  • http://www.reecebutler.com Reece Butler

    I must agree on your point about reading the content within the manner in which they are presented. I can appreciate the effort that goes into them.

    However, this is fantastic for those big news sites that would rather blast your eyeballs with advertisements, rather than the content.

    Thanks for posting this my tired eyes appreciate it.

  • http://www.nouveller.com/ Benjamin Reid

    This seems really good for when you get sites which are painful to read but actually have reasonable content.

    Unforunately it’s a bit of work-a-round and we should be giving people a gentle nudge into improving their readability. None the less, it’s still a useful tool.

    If someone was using this to read my site, I’d be dissapointed and want to do something about it. I think the Appstorm sites are some of the best examples for readability.

    Thanks for another great article Chris.

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