Thursday, June 24, 2010

Making the web Readable.

During the launch of Safari 5 from Apple, it emerged that their new feature, Reader, is based in part on a project by arc90 called "Readability".  I hadn't stumbled across this before some of the reportage on Safari Reader but it basically uses a bookmark containing Javascript to reshape a webpage so that "excess" sidebars and formatting are stripped in favour of a clean block of text.  It does not do so automatically but only when you click the button, which may skirt around objections from content makers and advertisers who have invested much in this clutter.

Printing of webpages has been an ongoing bugbear for both my colleagues and myself and while this does not preserve layout, that is not always the goal.  Readability has in fact already helped me to read badly laid-out text obscured by overflow into an adjacent column.  Have yet to find a showstopper, merely some occasional clashes with inline images and it renders home pages only with a prior caveat, and it may come in useful to people with mild vision issues.  If you have Firefox or Chrome it's as simple as dragging the bookmark to your Bookmark Bar, for IE right-click and add to Favorites Bar.

Get your bookmarklet here: Readability
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