I love reading – I read books, articles, magazines, circulars, just about anything I can lay my eyes on… Naturally, I am a voracious reader in the Internet as well – I have subscribed to a huge number of RSS feeds, and have a constant stream of Twitter tweets on articles to read.
The problem, I face when reading on the internet is, eye fatigue – I have astigmatism and the varying fonts faces, sizes and colors is a strain – even to normal people with perfect sight ! Couple this with the increasing number of advertising on the top and on the side of articles and you have a situation where the actual content is increasingly obscured. Font sizes are getting smaller and smaller and content is getting squeezed more and more by advertising and marketing clutter.
Of late, I have been using a tool that I found on the web (I saw it on Twitter but I have unfortunately been unable to track who sent it to me :-( ) that has literally transformed my reading experience. It was created by a company called Arc90 and is a Bookmarklet which can dragged onto your browser bookmarks. When you click on it – it reloads the current page loaded in your browser stripped all extraneous fluff. Simply the content of the page is shown.
As a web-developer and general internet addict ;-), I have seen a lot of tools and gadgets and I like to think I have a good idea of what works – as soon as I saw this tool I knew this would be awesome. The concept is simple, powerful – elegant. It is one of those things
that seem so obvious – when you feel that way – you know you are seeing a work of genius.
What you need to do to get this gadget is –
- Go to the Readability installation page
- Choose from the simple options given there how you want your content to be displayed – the options are simple and straightforward giving you a choice of reading style, font size and margin width (I chose eBook style, large size and narrow margin). A sample text is shown with the formatting you choose so you can play with the options.
- Once you are satisfied, simply drag the big button marked “Readability” onto your bookmark toolbar (or you can right click the link and choose the bookmark option) and your done !
- Next time you are on a web-page with a compelling article being obscured by garish ads and decorations, simply click on the Bookmarklet and the page reloads with the content formatted exactly as you want it.
When I first installed it they had fewer options and every once in awhile it would not work – but they have been going from strength to strength with new options and it’s rare to see it not work.
This tool has certainly transformed how I read on the web – I can’t recommend this tool enough!! So what are you waiting for – go get it !! :-)
PS: It won the NY Times Pogy award for best idea of 2009