More on distraction-free tools

In reaction to my post on distraction-free text editors, a friend pointed me towards Readability, a service I’ve been using for a while now. In a nutshell, Readability is a tool that lets you isolate the actual content of a webpage and present it in a more accessible and easy to read manner (without all the clutter that you have to contend with on most sites). Here’s the official video explaining how it works:

Readability – Installation Video for Firefox, Safari & Chrome from Arc90 on Vimeo.

I first discovered Readability when I was looking for a simple way to change the line-height of text on webpages, to make it a bit more readable. For a medium that is still predominately text-based there is a whole load of bad typography online. Readability, in addition to helping you tune out the noise surrounding the feature content, goes someway to helping you with these problems. However, as Catbird points out , it is a bit nuts that we even need applications like this.

Speaking of which, it also occurred to me today just how bad Wikipedia is. For a hugely popular site, which is all about text, it’s presentation leaves a bit to be desired. It’s main problem is that it uses a 100% wide fluid page-layout, thus making lines of text really long, something which is one of the leading causes for poor legibility/readability.