READABILITY – a new year lagniappe

Best wishes to our readers from all of us at hangingtogether and OCLC Research. We’re grateful for the attention you give our thoughts and hope to continue contributing to the design of the future library, archive, and museum.

As a final thank-you for the year I urge you to install Readability in your web browser. It makes reading on the web much more comfortable by removing all the clutter from those crowded web sites that studiously avoid everything Jakob Nielsen has tried to teach web designers.

I’ve promoted it before in the commentary of our Above the Fold newsletter (to which you should subscribe; we work hard to find relevant articles that you might not see in the ordinary course of professional reading).

I was motivated to offer it up here because it made David Pogue’s Best Tech Ideas of the Year 2009 column in today’s New York Times. Here’s what he said:

READABILITY The single best tech idea of 2009, though, the real life-changer, has got to be Readability. It’s a free button for your Web browser’s toolbar (get it). When you click it, Readability eliminates everything from the Web page you’re reading except the text and photos. No ads, blinking, links, banners, promos or anything else. Times Square just goes away.

You wind up with a simple, magazine-like layout, presented in a beautiful font and size (your choice) against a white or off-white background with none of this red-text-against-black business.

You occasionally run into a Web page that Readability doesn’t handle right — no big deal, just refresh the page to see the original. But most of the time, Readability makes the world online a calmer, cleaner, more beautiful place.

Go forth and install it.

Here’s to a clear-eyed and comfortable time in 2010!

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About Jim Michalko

Jim coordinates the OCLC Research office in San Mateo, CA, focuses on relationships with research libraries and work that renovates the library value proposition in the current information environment.