Readability on the web

by mqholt on February 12, 2010

For those of you who don’t know about it, Readability is an excellent browser add-on available from Arc90. Basically what it does is remove all the ads, funny formatting, background colors, etc. from a page, with one click. You are left with black text in a nice font (which you can choose) on a white page, with accompanying photographs, and that’s it.

It’s really quite wonderful; I use it a lot myself.

And it is becoming very popular, which is not surprising. But what does this say about web design? As we often say on this blog, people who go to a web site really only care about the unique content of that web site, which on most sites is just text and photos, and on other sites might also include video.

They don’t want banners, blinking, or anything else.

So what can you do if your site relies on ads? Well, design your site to be eminently readable in the first place, and minimize everything else. Then people will not be tempted to click the “Readability” button. And you might be able to get away with a text ad or two.

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