Readability is a free service that turns any web page into a clean view for reading now or later on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. If you’re new to the service you can sign up on the Readability site, or you can register inside of the app. Saving articles for later is done through browser plug-ins or from within an ever-growing list of third-party apps.
A Platform for Reading
The vision of Readability is to create a platform for reading. We want to empower developers to create better reading experiences into their products using Readability. A growing list of developers and apps use Readability today.
Tweetbot, Reeder, Pulse and Longform.
Rich Ziade, the founder of Readability says it best:
“We’re pretty convinced that the notion of providing comfort and flexibility has barely been touched today. While we’re incredibly proud of the app, we’re most proud of the development community and apps built atop the platform. The idea of building a community around a platform is what drives us. From a reader perspective, this allows us to embed your reading list in a lot of different places, devices and platforms.”
The native Readability app is built on top of this platform.
The Native Apps
We began working on the design of the native Readability apps last summer. Over that time period we constantly refined the experience down to its core elements. With each iteration, we found ourselves removing more and more – sometimes interface elements, other times features. This constant simplification allowed us to stay focussed on the primary task for users: Reading.
You’ll notice there are very few elements like buttons when you’re using the app. The content is the interface. We wanted the interface elements that help you manage or share the articles you’re reading to only appear when needed. A simple tap on an article will bring up an actions bar where you can share, archive or customize the article.
Pulling up or down at the end or beginning of an article lets you quickly get to the previous or next article. We used swipe gestures to let you go back to your reading list. This approach to the user interface removed the visual noise and distraction so you can read in peace.
One thing we knew going in was that the app would need to have beautiful typography. Most fonts on the market render poorly on lower density displays – they’re simply not optimized for them. We needed to source fonts that were designed specifically for screens in order to provide a pleasant reading experience. This is where Hoefler & Frere-Jones came in. H&FJ’s experience designing typefaces for demanding environments made them a natural choice for Readability’s mobile apps.
This is a big deal for travellers and commuters. If you’re going to be offline and want to catch up on some reading just sync the application before you head out and you’ll have everything you’ve saved stored locally on your device.
While we love the defaults, we also appreciate that some people like larger fonts or styles. The app allows you to control the font family, size and on iPad, the column width. There’s even a night mode for times when you’re reading in the dark.
Go get it
We’re sure you’ve got better things to read than this. Get the app, and enjoy reading again.