Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Tech Tip: Using the Readability Extension for Cleaner Web Reading

As we engage our students (and ourselves) with more and more online text, having an interface without ads, pop-ups, comments, and other distractions is becoming increasingly important.  There's a ton of great stuff out there, but focusing on the text itself can be a challenge.

One option for getting an uncluttered version of a website is the Readability Chrome extension.  This extension, when activated on a web page, extracts the core text & images and gets rid of the other junk (bookmarklet tools are also available for Firefox, IE9, and Safari).

In the CNN article below,  bringing up this article from the main page also brings up videos, animated ad content, reader comments (some of which are inappropriate), and side bars to other articles.  In addition, it takes a while to load because of all of the extraneous content.

original view
Clicking on the Readbility extension icon gives you the option to "Read Now."  Choosing "Read Now" cleans up the view for easier (and less distracted) reading -- no ads, videos, comments, or sidebar content.
Readability view
While some websites offer a cleaner view with the print icon, Readibility has a few other attractive features.  Once you're in the Readability view of the article, you can download as an epub, make some basic adjustments to font sizes, & change the page appearance.  You can even use the Scrible toolbar to annotate and highlight the article (which we discussed in a previous post).

The features above don't require an account, but if you want to save it for later or send the article to a Kindle, you can sign up for free.  The free mobile apps (for both iOS and Android) require an account as well as it syncs your reading content.

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