Reading Webpages Clutter-Free

Over time, we are getting more and more overwhelmed with the sheer volume of ads and unnecessary or irrelevant content on the pages we visit. However, I want to elaborate on why, despite the frustration this causes, I’m still a supporter of ads online.

On a site like NYTimes.com or even Facebook.com, you can see a variety of ads promoting businesses and services from companies like Home Depot, Groupon, and Google. In addition to big box names, you also notice targeted ads showing you companies exclusive to your geographic location. For example, I live in the Northwest Metro area of Atlanta, Georgia, and I will see ads on Facebook for the Atlanta Braves, Best Buy (although I refuse to shop there), and other places that I visit online and in person.

I learn to live with the ads for the most part, simply because for every ten or so ads, I see something that catches my eye and I usually investigate further.

With that, let’s talk about you! Whether you’re new to computers or a pro, I simply want to shed some light on a few ways to declutter your browser window when you’re wanting to focus on just the content you’re interested in. Below you’ll see a “Before & After” Reader View on Safari, using macOS Sierra 10.12.1

Before:

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After:

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It’s very simple to achieve this view in Safari on macOS and iOS on your iPhone or iPad. In the address bar of your browser, you’ll see the Reader View icon:

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Simply click or tap this icon and the browser will automatically remove all but the main content of the page. To return to normal view, simply click or tap the icon again.


Much like in Safari, Reader View is simple to achieve in Mozilla Firefox, as well.

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On the left side of the Reader View version of the webpage, you’ll see options for text and page formatting:
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Google Chrome is, quite honestly, a pain. Why Google hasn’t added a simple button to their flagship browser is beyond me. Below are the excruciating steps to install a browser extension allowing you to view simplified versions of a webpage.

Readability is a Chrome extension added as a button in your browsers toolbar, which allows you to accomplish what Safari and Firefox Reader View does. First, launch Google Chrome and click the three vertical dots to the far right of your address bar at the top of the browser screen.

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Then click Settings (a new tab will open):

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Once in Settings, you’ll see a Menu bar on the top left of the page, featuring “History,” “Extensions,” and “Settings.” Here, you want to click “Extensions:”

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At the bottom of this page, click “Get More Extensions (a new tab will open):”

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In the Search bar at the top left of the page, type “Readability:

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Click the first result, assuming it’s titled “Readability” and click “Add To Chrome>Add Extension

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Once installed, you’ll see the following pop-up:

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You can now click this icon and select “Read Now,” and you’ll see Readability begin “cleaning up” the webpage (rather slowly, if I’m being honest). Once it cleans up our test site, NYTimes.com,  it should look like this:

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As I stated, *sigh* the steps are simply in practice, but Google Chrome will never be my default browser if there attempt at Reader View is such a complicated mess to get into (only because I use Reader View quite frequently.) For Android or ChromeOS/Pixel Phone users, the Google-powered services that sync between all of your devices like Gmail, Drive, Docs, Chrome, etc, are a valuable tool. As an Apple macOS/iOS user, I have iCloud to sync all of my Contacts, Calendars, Documents (now a virtual copy of my desktop files), Photos, Media, and much more, without the need for third-party apps.

I will do a side-by-side comparison of Google and Apple Cloud platforms and feature not only my biased Apple perspective, but Android and Google user perspectives as well.

 

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