If you spend any amount of time reading things on the web, you should be using Readability. Yes, I think it’s that simple! I really started using it after Anil Dash blogged about it back in November, and it has made an incredible difference for me. Here’s what it does:
“Readability turns any web page into a clean view for reading now or later on your computer, smartphone, or tablet.”
Simple enough, right? Simple, but powerful. After adding a simple bookmarklet to my browser, I am just one click away from having any web page become instantly more readable. And by that I mean larger text, a consistent font, and no clutter. Or I can save an article for later, or I can even send an article to my Kindle to read on that device instead.
Here’s an example of the difference it makes. The square on the left is the original article, and the square on the right is the Readability page that I get after clicking the bookmarklet (if you’re not logged in, you’ll have to click “Readability view” at the top of that page to see what I am talking about).
The comparison is better when you look at the actual pages, but do you see the difference? The Readability view is just text, no clutter. I could turn off images too, so even the featured image wouldn’t show up.
Here’s another example. Compare this Edmonton Journal article about Stephen Carter and Linda Sloan’s tweet debacle with this Readability view of the article. Which would you rather look at? On my laptop, with a resolution of 1600×900, the actual text of the article is below the fold on the Journal. With Readability, I can start reading right away, with nothing to distract me.
You can control the way it all looks too in the settings. You can pick a different color scheme, a different font size, you can hide images, etc.
In case you’re wondering about lost revenue because the ads aren’t being displayed, Readability has a solution for that too:
“Readability features an innovative way to support writers. Become a Readability Subscriber and 70% of your monthly contribution will go toward supporting great writing. Subscribing is entirely optional.”
“Here’s how it works: Every time you use Readability to read an article, a portion of your monthly contribution is earmarked for that publisher or writer.”
It’s a neat concept.
I love Readability. It makes the experience of reading things online much better. I’m also a fan of the Kindle functionality. Santa gave me a Kindle for Christmas, and with Readability I have been able to quickly and easily get content on it to read on a screen built for reading! I love reading the stuff at Longreads and Longform, but I spend enough time in front of a computer screen as it is, so being able to send those articles to my Kindle is huge.