I am a big fan of Readability, a simple bookmarklet that removes all forms of distractions from the content that you are reading and presents them in a plain, pre-defined, form that is easier for everyone to read. I like readability so much that I added it in every single blog posts here at GeekTechnica so that you can read the content in a simple form with just one click. Ideally I would love to make this site less distracting and remove all the ads from all pages, but removing ads is not an option and making the site less distracting is an on going process (expect some changes in layout in coming months). Instead we give readers an option to remove all ads and read content with less distraction with a single click.
With the new Readability update Arc90 goes one step further by removing distracting links within the content and convert them in to hyperlinks. They were inspired by Nick Carrs interesting blog post about how distractions on online contents (including hyperlinks within contents) are changing our brains in the way we consume online information.
Links are wonderful conveniences, as we all know (from clicking on them compulsively day in and day out). But theyre also distractions. Sometimes, theyre big distractions we click on a link, then another, then another, and pretty soon weve forgotten what wed started out to do or to read. Other times, theyre tiny distractions, little textual gnats buzzing around your head. Even if you dont click on a link, your eyes notice it, and your frontal cortex has to fire up a bunch of neurons to decide whether to click or not. You may not notice the little extra cognitive load placed on your brain, but its there and it matters. People who read hypertext comprehend and learn less, studies show, than those who read the same material in printed form. The more links in a piece of writing, the bigger the hit on comprehension.
As an veracious reader of online contents, I can appreciate Nick Carrs acute observation and Arc90s motivation in to converting hyperlinks in to footnotes. So if you are reading this blog post on your feed and dont know what I am talking about, definitely check out the post on the site and click on the “Readability” button. Its will convert contents in to a reader friendly format.
For the lazy among you, here is how a blog post under Readability will look like: