Readability for Your Browser

Screen shot of the set-up page for Arc90 Readability
A screen shot from the Readability page on Arc90's website.

The Yahoo! Accessibility Lab brought to my attention a very helpful add-on for the browser: the Readability app developed by Arc90, available here as a Firefox-add on, or directly from the Readability page for all browsers.  I had become acquainted with the Readability concept last month when I downloaded the Reeder RSS application for my Mac and iPhone, and immediately saw its potential value for people with vision, cognitive, and/or mobility issues.

I am a hard-core RSS user, as I like to read through many different articles posted on various news and business sites and blogs on the Internet, and appreciate the efficiency of the RSS readers in pushing through the articles I need to keep up to date on a daily basis — in other words, my personal daily newspaper.  One of my favorite RSS readers is Reeder (available for the Mac and iPhone), which has a Readability feature that enables me to read only the article content without the fonts, styles, and backgrounds associated with the website where the article natively resides — saving me the work of jumping to a separate browser to read the article.

Apparently, the other useful benefit of Readability is that it enables those with vision, cognitive, or mobility issues to control how the content of individual articles is presented. With the separate Firefox add-on from Arc90 (no RSS reader necessary), you can control the font size, the appearance of the page, and choose whether to present links in-line or as separate footnotes. You can also set Readability to auto-scroll at different speeds.

Readability can also be set up by dragging the Readability bookmarklet from this site to the browser’s toolbar, regardless of browser.  It is not clear, however, if auto-scroll can be controlled via this bookmarklet.

This application works best on webpages for individual articles, which is what Readability is intended for.  It will not work correctly for home pages where there are many different links to individual articles, such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal home page.

I tested Readability on my own blog, and it worked very well.  A smartly thought-out concept.

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