Readability: Web reading that's easier for you, less profitable for publishers

Make pages with bad layout easier to read with Readability, a bookmarklet that will reformat a story's layout with simple text.

If you often use the print story button just to get a Web article on one page, and without the hijinks that get you to mistakenly click on advertisements, Readability may be just what you're looking for. This small bookmarklet, which you simply drag up to your bookmarks toolbar to add to your browser, will re-format the page you're on to make it easier to read. It gets rid of layout, advertising, and any of the site's original navigation. In return, the story retains its links, photos, and any embedded content, letting you read freely and without distraction.

To customize the experience you can set the default font size, and layout style, which includes a quirky "terminal" view that puts creamy white text on a dark green background. You can also set the width from super wide to a narrow column view that looks and feels like a newspaper (something my boss would no doubt enjoy ). All of this, however, must be done when first setting up the bookmarklet, so there's no option to change the text side and width from within the Readability view.

This tool reminds me quite a bit of PrintWhatYouLike, the service that lets you customize what page elements you want to print , even if the source site does not have its own print story function. It is, however noticeably faster about cutting out the page elements--it's almost instantaneous.

Update: If you liked Readability, you'll definitely enjoy TidyRead. It does the same exact things as Readability but lets you swap things like the font size, width, and style on the fly. It works in other languages, which as of now Readability manages to flub. It also lets you send simplified article pages to friends via a special re-direct page, just like this one.

(via Metafilter)



Readability : An Arc90 Lab Experiment from Arc90 on Vimeo.
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About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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