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Blogs > Office Jotter

Making Web pages readable
Roger Whitehead By: Roger Whitehead, Director, Office Futures
Published: 20th December 2010
Copyright Office Futures © 2010

imagebutton.gif&style=normal&service=bit.ly&service_api=R_aad3576418c7448573bdfb7fa574ec91&hashtags=ARC90,Bullzip,decluttering,Kindling,Readability&b=2

Where does your gaze go when confronted with a page like this? (Click on it to enlarge it.)

.

New York Times page, unaltered

.

And where does it go on this page?

New York Times page, processed

.

How to do it

I find the second page much more digestible, which is why I’m mentioning the free tool that does the decluttering. It’s called, aptly, Readability.

You can specify the page style, font size, and margin width via the Readibility Web site, as well as the position of hyperlinks.

Installation is easy; so is use:

  • click on the curved arrow at top left to revert to the original
  • click on the printer icon to print the page in cleaned style, and
  • click on the envelope icon to bring up a mailer form.

The mailer sends a link to the original version.  Presumably that’s because the recipient would need a copy of Readibility to see the clarified page. If its makers were to put a prompt in the email, the person getting it might be more inclined to try the software.

Those makers are Arc90, a design group in New York, USA. They also make, among other things, the Kindling collaborative idea-management tool.

Readability works best on pages with one dominant piece of text. It can’t cope with some threaded discussions.  And if you’re wondering where the “that” came from in the second page’s headline, it’s in the metadata. (You’ll see it if you bookmark the page or examine the page source.)

PS I don’t take a printer when I’m travelling, so I use the Bullzip PDF printer software instead. It’s small, fast and free (i.e., donation ware). The two tools together give me clean-looking, packaged Web pages I can read on-screen, send by email or print later.

Technorati tags: ARC90, Bullzip, decluttering, Kindling, Readability

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