It would be great if web designers stopped making poor design choices, but that’s unlikely to happen. Not everyone is an experienced designer. However, there are a number of Chrome web reading extensions that can be used to combat hard-to-read websites and banish all hints of eye strain.
Many website distracts are placed outside of the site’s main text. These distractions – typically advertisements or introductions to other parts of the site – are fine by themselves, but they can become very annoying if they prevent you from concentrating on a long or complex article.
The Reading Glasses extension makes it possible to side-step this problem by fading out everything on a website except for the selection that you want to read with a single click. The rest of the website is still there, and you can still interact with it, but you’ll no longer be so distracted.
Reading Glasses is also smart enough to display an entire selection of text even if you select only a small part of it.
The ChromeVis extension, which is actually made by Google, is a quick-and-easy way to make obscure text readable. Once you’ve installed ChromeVis you can activate it at any time by pressing the “0″ (as in zero) key. Any text that you have selected will be displayed at the top of the browser in a high-contrast format. You can select between different color schemes by pressing number keys 1 through 6.
ChromeVis also offers numerous keyboard control functions that make it easy to navigate through text. For example, pressing Shift+S will move the text forward by one sentence.
A full listening of available hotkeys can be found by right-clicking on the ChromeVis icon in the upper right of Chrome and clicking Options.
Web designers usually have to cater to the lowest common denominator. This means that webpages are usually no wider than 800 or 1024 pixels. Obviously, such a web page is going to look rather silly if you have the page maximized on your 1080 px monitor. Webpages can be hard to read on monitors with a high resolution as well.
Zoomy tackles this problem by automatically adjusting Chrome’s level of zoom when you have a web page maximized. If the page’s standard size is much smaller than your monitor the browser automatically zooms in until the page takes up the entire width of your display.
This isn’t for everyone – it may be annoying for experienced web users – but it is excellent for people with vision difficulties.
Today’s Internet looks a lot better than the Internet of a decade ago, but it isn’t necessarily easier to read. That’s because many of the style decisions made on today’s websites are optimized to grab visitors quickly with a slick, modern design.
Some functions of the Internet are obscured, as well. Hyperlinks, for example, can be difficult to detect become some designs do not make a clear distinction between normal text and text containing a link.
Plain Clothes solves this by “unstyling” the web. All of the fancy CSS work is torn away, leaving behind only the basics. The resulting bare-bones site isn’t pretty, but it is sometimes easier to read and navigate. I’ve also noticed that some websites seem to load more quickly with Plain Clothes on, although this could be my imagination (the extension’s authors makes no claim that the extension will improve load times).
It is very easy to dismiss a website or blog because it is hard to read even if the information on it is worthwhile. I’ve found that I don’t have to use these extensions constantly, but having them loaded can be extremely handy from time to time. Begone, headaches and eye strain! These goggles actually do something.
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