Friday, December 11, 2009

Readability on the web

In my work as a Web Services Librarian I am constantly looking for ways to improve accessibility for the web sites and resources our library provides. In library school I took a class on "Resources and Services for Persons with Disabilities" and learned that (at that time) the most popular software packages to assist persons with visual impairments were created for Windows-based systems. As an avid Mac user this troubled me, and I was delighted to find today a free application for Mac called Readability. Here is an excerpt from the online article:

As Web sites have gotten more and more complex, many Web pages have become more and more difficult to read. Type is smaller, page layouts are getting more cluttered, and ads and other objects are breaking the flow of text. So I’m a big fan of programs and services that make the Web more readable.

Which leads me to today’s Gem, Readability, which, unlike most Gems, isn’t a program you download to your Mac, but rather an online service. Call it—with apologies to ESPN—a Web Gem.

Readability, a project of the Arc90 Lab, is a bookmarklet-based browser tool that reformats a Web page and presents the page’s text content in a plain, easy-to-read format. Inspired by Instapaper, the save-it-for-later-reading Web service, Readability lets you make almost any page more readable with a single click—or even a keyboard shortcut.
I intend to test this as soon as possible.

Happy Holidays!