Getting Rid of Visual Clutter

I’ve written before  about deciphering digtial text. One tool that helps students as they read online is Readability. It’s a simple tool that can be dragged into the reader’s browser. When clicked, it essentially strips the page of all of the ads, banners, and links, and puts the text into a pdf-like format.

Here’s what it looks like. I used an article from the Boston Globe for this experiment. You can click each of the images to see it in a larger format:

First, the original page, with a video above and ads and links all around.

Original Page of Boston Globe
Original page of Boston Globe.

Now, the article using Readability:

The article as seen through “Readability”

A hint: You need to go to the article first before you use Readability. It will not work on the front page of a site.

It’s easy to install and easy to use. One click takes you to the Readability site, where you can customize the pages for text size, style (newspaper, novel, ebook) and the width of the margins. There is even a link to convert links to footnotes.


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