Joe Crawford is a web developer in Roanoke, Virginia. joe@artlung.com

Reading on the web

Back in November I talked about using my Mom’s old iPod Touch.

In 2009 I got a second generation Kindle as a gift for my birthday (I asked for it) and that got me reading a bit more, but not as much as I thought it was.

I’m an avid Podcast listener, and I kept hearing people mention Instapaper. Around the same time as MAS talked about it (Using Instapaper for Web Legibility) I acquired the app for the iPod touch. I’ve found much the same thing: so many websites have become laden with ads and sidebars and nonsense that it’s hard to simply read. The computer is losing as a place for quality reading experiences. The rise of phones and tablets and e-readers shows us this. The form factor is better–more portable.

Reading at length requires focus. Computers don’t offer that.

What’s interesting is that there’s a flipside to distraction-free reading. Distraction-free writing. I talked about that in 2007 in a post called JDarkroom and focus.

I had never thought about the symmetry of reading and writing at length requiring focus, but it’s a moderately insightful thing.

Although the insight that things with any level of complexity might require some concentration, and so, require focus, might be a tautology.

Summarized: Instapaper is worth looking at if you like to read.

posted this 13 years ago.

(Thursday February 10th 2011 at 3:02pm)

Comments: 3

The other trend in design that is making the web MUCH harder to read is small gray text on a white background. I seems to be everywhere now. Instapaper and Readability are essential tools.

Yeah, though I have to say I’m liking the combination of #333 gray on #fff white for my own site. I hope my text size is not too small.

I must admit I’m not as careful about rendering for people who use the Windows platform as I used to. But then, my audience is not a huge one, and I know many people read me in their, old-fashioned RSS readers, so get generic rendering there.

One thing I’m keenly interested in is adapting to a world where more people are reading things on mobile.

The font is smaller than I like, but you have good use of line spacing. #333 is MUCH better than #888, which is sadly becoming more common.

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