Since I started blogging on productivity and technology and all that fun stuff I’ve been reading other blogs more and more. I’ve tried a couple of different tools to help me stay on top of the articles that I want to read, and at the moment I am very happy using Readability.
Readability is a bit like Pocket or Instapaper. You find an article you want to save for later and click the “Readability” button in the toolbar of the web browser. This captures the article and copies it to the Readability service so you can read it later from the Readability site, or from your mobile device.
There are three main ways I add articles Readability.
1. From my Web Browser
My browser of choice is Google Chrome. Readability has a Chrome Extension (and others) that adds a new button to the toolbar. With this, whenever I stumble across an article that I want to save for later all I need to do is click that button and chose “Read Later”. The Readability button gives you the option to “Read Now”. What this does is send the article to Readability and then send you there as well. The article is cleaned up, removing all the menus, ads and clutter from the original site and is presented in an easy to read format, like a book. It’s awesome.
2. From my iPhone
Twitter has fast become a social link sharing tool as much as a “micro-blogging service” and when you’re following someone that finds and shares great content you tend to want to take a look. Twitter for iPhone has a built-in web browser that will load the article from the link in the Tweet. That’s great, but I don’t always have time to squint at the tiny text and read the whole article. So, I get it into Readability. To to this use the “Share” option in the Twitter browser and select “Copy link”.
Then just quit out of Twitter and launch the Readability app. The app will detect that you’ve copied a link and ask you if you want to add that link to Readability. A simple tap of “Yes” and that’s it!
3. Automatically from Google Reader
The first two scenarios cover how to add an article to Readability should you just happen to stumble across it. But what if you’re scanning through your RSS feeds looking for content to read later when you’re on the train or bus? There is a service called IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, and what it does is looks for something that happens in one other web-based service and when that something happens, IFTTT triggers an action in another web-based service.
So here’s what I do. In Google Reader, whenever I see an interesting headline, or find and read the first couple of sentences of an article that I want to keep reading later, all I need to do is click the star icon. The next time I open Readability on my iPhone or iPad the article is there, nicely formatted and free of clutter. IFTTT does that. It waits for some article in my Google Reader to be marked with a star and then jumps to attention and sends the article across to Readability for me. How awesome is that! You can do this to. Use this IFTTT recipe, connect IFTTT to your Google Reader and Readability accounts, and just fill in the blanks.
Enjoying the Read
So now that I have all these great articles in Readability I can relax when I’m traveling on a train, bus or plane and comfortably read some cool blog posts (like this one). Readability cleans up all the content and formatting magically, so I can enjoy the real content without distraction. After reading an article with Readability I can share it directly to Facebook or Twitter, email it to a friend, archive it for later, mark it as a favourite article, or just simply remove it.
Over to you. Get out there and try Readability. It’s a completely free service, works on just about everything and is plain awesome. Check it out at readability.com then leave a comment below.