How to Use Readability to Simplify your Online Reading Experience

Herbert Lui

The internet is a sea of ever-growing content, mainly articles. Whether it be through a major news outlet or an independent blog, there’s an article on almost anything you want to find. However, there are many things that can end up being unpleasant when going through these articles. Examples are annoying advertisements, inconsistent themes, sans-serif fonts et al. The folks over at Arc90 created Readability to get around this issue.

Readability is a bookmarklet that can be used to transform any webpage from a cluttered design into a much simpler text and image-only barebones display. As a bookmarklet, Readability can be used on any browser that supports them.

Before Readability

The features that jump out at me are the ability to tweak margins and font sizes. I don’t particularly enjoy reading size 9 font on websites, with extra-narrow margins. With a 1920×1080 display, it can be quite difficult to fully follow an article formatted this way. Readability allows me to make the margins wider, so that more text is focused in the center of the screen down a more narrow column.

After Readability

The margins don’t necessarily have to be that wide. I’m quirky like that. Margins and the style of the page can be tweaked in order to suit your taste. You can get Readability by navigating over to the Readability page. The first step is to adjust the style of Readability.

Readability Step 1

The second step is to get the Readability bookmarklet into your browser. You can simply drag and drop it, and select it whenever you land on a web page you want to read using Readability.

Readability Step 2

On the Readability page, you will find a live update of how an article would look under your current Readability settings.

Readability Example

For those (like myself) who prefer the simple look of a browser without the bookmarks bar, Firefox and Chrome both have their own Readability plugins. Readability for Firefox installs a button on the lower right hand of the Firefox window to activate Readability. Similarly, Readability Redux for Chrome installs a button into the navbar of Chrome, simply with the Readability icon. I think it suits Chrome quite well.

Readability Redux for Chrome

The options for Readability with either plugin can be tweaked via the plugin page.

If you want to improve your reading experience online, check out Readability. Also, have a look at Instapaper, which allows you to save your articles for later reading with a click of a mouse.

Also See
#bookmarklets #browser

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