An Arc90 Lab Experiment : Readability

Last night, we released Readability, a small but powerful little bookmarklet that cleans up Web pages worth reading:

Readability was created because prose on the Web is becoming increasingly painful to read. It cleans up a page and presents only the content worth reading in a customizable “reading view.”

cgfa_meissonier1 More often than not on the Web, we find ourselves standing in the middle of a junkyard when we’re trying to read. As content providers attempt to monetize their Web presence, they’re undoubtedly reaching a point of diminishing returns. All they need to do is check their server logs for the number of “print view” clicks they’re getting. Users aren’t printing. They just want some semblance of normalcy when they’re trying to read.

Readability finds its inspiration from a few different places:

  • Mandy Brown’s thoughtful In Defense Of Readers published on A List Apart.
  • iA Japan’s seminal post The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard that lays out the importance of clean, readable typography on the Web.
  • Marco Arment’s infinitely awesome Instapaper – a great tool for marking items for reading later. An equally impressive iPhone app is a first-class citizen on my iPhone.
  • Joe Clark’s rant on the shortcomings of reading on the Web entitled Unreadable.

The reception so far has been great. People are clearly frustrated with all the insanity that surrounds posts and articles these days.

You can install Readability in your Safari, Firefox or IE7+ browsers by visiting the setup page. It takes just a few seconds.

5 Comments An Arc90 Lab Experiment : Readability

  1. Patrick Algrim

    I think it’s a great idea. As it is, most people mentally block out advertisements and clutter around the content with their depth perception. Now, it’s even easier, or not even needed at all.

  2. Rich Guenette

    Love the idea, and the execution looks great. But I’d like to encourage you to produce a completely portable set of marklets that draw on files local to the user’s own desktop. Your marklets refer back to your site, to find the CSS file, etc., hence if you’re down this stuff won’t work anymore. The whole thing can’t be more than a few K and could be made available as a small ZIP, with instructions how/where to extract/access it. I bet this would take off like wildfire in this form.

  3. Michael

    Readability is amazing, I just wish I could use it on my iPhone. I tried installing it in Safari and then syncing but it just didn’t sync the bookmark, hopefully I’ll be able to get it working soon, especially for those web pages where the text is two small for how wide the text area is.


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