02 January 2010

Making web pages legible

This is a nice idea which has been out since last March: Readability, a bookmarklet that converts complex web pages into 'plain' text according to your specification for typeface, size, line length.

It doesn't work on everything (by the creators' own admission, it isn't good for the 'front pages' of web sites, usually divided into multiple sections) but works better on continuous text which is interspersed with ads or other marginal material that might distract from the main flow. So a page that looks like this:

can, depending on your settings, be converted to something like this:

Perhaps a little unfair to use a page of BBC News here as their layout is clear already, but it may not be ideal for everyone or every purpose. Readability gives an easy-to-use alternative.

At the moment it's just a demo with some glitches, including no option for switching between the Readability view and the original page view. I think you'd want this to be able to get the full experience of a web page, including links for serendipitous searching. I hope the tool develops.

[Via Popgadget]

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