Earlier this year, we reviewed Readability, an app available across all platforms. It promises to transform text from websites, strip out the ads, and put it in a readable format. During our review, we focused on Readability’s feature of transforming and sharing articles across platforms, which was (and still is!) buggy. We also focused on some of the missing features that seemed necessary such as highlighting or note taking.
However, this reviewer has continued to use Readability in a very simplistic, helpful way–transform any article right now when you want to read it. Forget the ability to preserve the article across platforms. Who cares? The real usefulness in Readability is it makes things readable.
Consider this webpage. It has small, black text on a parchment-style background. This is artistic, but difficult on the eyes and especially cumbersome to scan.
Using Readability, we can select “Read Now.”
This cleans up the text and presents large, black text on white background. Reading on a computer is already difficult, so why make it harder by working with small text and dancing ads?
Even with this simplified use case, Readability still has hiccups. For example, it can be difficult to transform an article from Safari to Readability on an iPad, as the cut and paste of a URL works about 50% of the time. However, more often than not, on my computer I am able to transform any article into a cleaned up version such as above. If you want to save and notate your articles, then you should consider a separate application and method. Readability is not the application for that. But if you just want to make something readable right now, then use Readability.
By Scott Manning
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor