EDITORIAL NOTE: Virginia DeBolt (bio) writes the bi-weekly Elder Geek column for Time Goes By in which she takes the mystery out of techie things all bloggers and internet users need to know to simplify computer use. She has written several books on technology and keeps two blogs herself, Web Teacher and First 50 Words.
In my last Elder Geek post, I talked about how you can use Zooming in your browser to make reading easier. On that same theme, I want to tell you about a nifty little gizmo called "Readability" that will make reading articles online even easier.
Readability is a bookmarklet that will eliminate clutter from a web page and leave you with a clean and readable version of the article you want to read.
Find the Website
Go to the Readability [http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/] site. The page is an experimental project from the arc90 company. I sincerely hope they keep it going, because it is a great help.
Start by selecting the settings you want. You can choose the style of display you like, the size of the text you need, and the amount of margin you want.
Drag and Drop the Bookmarklet
Next drag and drop the Readability bookmarklet from the web page to your browser's bookmarks bar. If your browser's bookmarks toolbar is not visible, you can make it visible by going to View > Toolbars > Bookmarks Toolbar.
To drag and drop the Readabilty bookmarklet, left-click on the big button that says Readabilty and hold the mouse button down. Move the mouse, dragging a ghost-like image of the Readabilty button along, until your mouse is over the Bookmarks Toolbar. Then release the left mouse button. You should see the word Readability appear where you "dropped" the button. It no longer looks like a button, it's just a word.
What happens when you click it?
For example, suppose this is an article you want to read. There is a lot of extra material on the page. The article is squeezed in among it.
Click the "Readability" bookmarklet in your bookmarks bar. The result is a clean and easy to read version of the article with no clutter, as you see in the image here.
Isn't that just the best thing since sliced bread?
Okay. I read the article. Now what?
To return to the original display with the navigation and other material you need after reading, use the "Reload Page" link at the bottom of the article after you read the article. If you don't read the entire article and don't reach the "Reload Page" link, you can click the browser's Reload or Refresh button to return to the original display.
In most browsers, the Reload or Refresh button is a spiral looking, going-around-again kind of button located in the upper left.
An important thing to remember is that you don't use the Back button to get back to the article in its original view. You are still on the same web page, but through the magic of the script in the bookmarklet you are seeing it displayed in a different way. To see it in the original way, reload the page.
I hope that between the zooming with the NoSquint Firefox add-on and the Readability bookmarklet you will find a comfortable way to read everything that interests you on the Internet.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Sydney Halet tells us about his father and a Note.]