Making The Web More Readable For Everyone

In a recent Reddit thread, one commenter made a casual remark :

There needs to be a way to link to a page on Reddit and automatically apply Readability.

That seemed like an excellent idea to me. In case you haven’t heard about it yet, Readability is a bookmarklet that can take an article or blog post with even the most cluttered, ad-infested and eye-bleedingly ugly design and turn it into a clean and readable work of art. As a side-effect, it also removes most kinds of ads.

Of course, you could just install the bookmarklet for your own use and have that be the end of it. But if you regularly share links to interesting articles with friends, or post them to social bookmarking sites, it would sure be handy to have a way give others the benefit of Readability without forcing them to install anything.

So I went ahead and created a website that lets you do just that – MakeReadable.com. Go check it out.

Here’s how to use it :

  1. Enter a URL of the page ┬áthat you want to make more readable. Pages with lots of text – like news articles or blog posts – work best.
  2. Click the “Make Readable” button (or press Enter).
  3. Wait a few seconds while the server processes the page and redirects you to a new URL that already has Readability applied.
  4. Share the URL of the new page with your friends, etc.

An even easier way to use this service is to simply append the URL of the page you want processed after http://makereadable.com/, like this :

http://makereadable.com/example.com/someblog/article-123.htm

Behind the scenes, MakeReadable.com also performs several other optimizations, like normalizing the HTML and stripping out all other scripts and most CSS. Since Readability completely restyles the page anyway, this post-processing makes the resulting page smaller and faster-loading (in theory) without hurting its looks.

Thoughts? Feature suggestions? Leave a comment below.

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3 Responses to “Making The Web More Readable For Everyone”

  1. Senvara says:

    I’m actually not that impressed. It’s one thing to strip out junk for a site you’re already on when you want to read the article. It’s something else entirely to remove everything before sharing the page with someone else.

    This goes well beyond cleaning up an “ad-infested” layout. Along with the ads you are stripping out the site navigation and breaking many elements placed in a well-formed page to make it accessible and meet WCAG standards.

    Whatever value your friends might be getting from getting to read a “clean” copy of the article is completely offset, and in my opinion, negated by the destruction done to the function of the website.

  2. White Shadow says:

    That is a valid point.

    However, I think it’s safe to presume that no-one would use this on a page that is already well-formed. So when it is used, chances are that the lost nav. elements weren’t of much value anyway.

  3. Netty Gritty says:

    This is very cool. Thanks for posting this.

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