Readability is a free app that makes online pages readable. It is available for just about every platform and I tested it out on my iPhone. The concept is simple. It takes any HTML page, strips it down to the bare text and images, and puts it in a format that is easier on the eyes and ideal for mobile reading, giving the user the ability to adjust the font type, size, and color.
This is ideal for lengthy, ad-intensive articles, allowing you to transform a page like this . . .
. . into this:
My favorite feature is the ability to transform that page into a night-friendly version that generates minimal light. There is nothing worse than keeping your significant other awake while you read.
To use the app, it requires a login, which will work on the readability website and across all instances of the app. This is useful, allowing you to transform text on your computer and then read it on your mobile device and vice versa. Everything appears in a simple library of transformed pages.
On the iOS platform, the coolest feature is how you transform a page. Those of you familiar with iOS know that it is impossible to modify or install add-ons for the Safari browser. Readability has a simple solution though. To transform a page, copy the URL.
Then open your Readability app. It will automatically ask you if you want to convert the copied link into a readable page.
Readability is not perfect though. It was a little buggy at times. Some pages would not convert immediately, but would appear in my converted library minutes later. This seemed sporadic.
The most unfortunate aspect, especially for students, is there is no markup or highlighting capability in the app. Users of the app have submitted it as an idea request to the developers of Readability, but until then, the app is purely for reading. Best of all, it is free.
By Scott Manning
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor