MagicScroll Web Reader: Revolutionize How You Scroll And Read The Web

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web reader appWhen was the last time you read a whole article? Not two or three paragraphs and then clicked on to the next one, but the whole thing. What about an article that was more than 1000+ words? The fact is, it’s difficult to read on the web. There are a number of things that could be blamed from ads along side of content that are distracting to our click-happy habits of constantly opening more and more links in our browser.

A developer by the name of Richard Wallis saw this problem too and he created a solution. That solution is a browser extension and a bookmarklet that removes the potential distractions from around the page, but it also addresses something else that he feels is actually the reason behind our poor reading habits online.

In his blog post, he explained his reasoning:

The problem is scrolling. Scrolling is a brilliant way to display a map or an Excel spreadsheet on a computer. But it’s a terrible way to display text.

That’s because scrolling moves the text on a page. And moving text, even if it’s under your control, will break your reading rhythm.

I encourage you to read the rest of his blog post. It’s short, but actually interesting and well written. And while you’re there, you can demo MagicScroll without having to install anything!

About MagicScroll Web Reader

MagicScroll Web Reader isn’t actually Wallis’s first creation. He also developed the MagicScroll eBook Reader, which we gave a pretty good review on and he promptly replied to.

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It was already mentioned that MagicScroll is both an extension and a bookmarklet. Although the bookmarklet works across all browsers,  the extension is currently only for Chrome.

Let’s take a look at how MagicScroll really makes a difference. For the example, we’ll use the feature article “Tech Through 90-Year-Old Eyes: Are We Really Better Off?

BEFORE:

web reader app

As you an see, there’s a video ad playing and although I personally love having the most recent and popular articles on the side, it without a doubt adds to distraction and “click happy syndrome.”

AFTER:

web reader

As you can tell, this is much more relaxing to read.

The Key To MagicScroll: Automatic Scrolling

I’ll be honest – I thought MagicScroll was just another tool to simplify the web page context. And it is, but it is much more too. It can scroll for you. When I tried it, I was amazed at how much faster I read and how much more I comprehended. See, although I love writing, reading on the other hand hasn’t always been my strongest skill. If I read quickly, I don’t comprehend as well. If I read slow (which I do already), I tend to get easily distracted.

The moving line kept me focused, which helped me retain the information better. Plus, I didn’t want any “hassle” with clicking the back button if I didn’t remember something. Note that I put “hassle” in quotes because it really isn’t that hard, per se – it is just something extra that I didn’t want to do while reading (and lose the focus).

web reader

So How Do I Use It?

Once you load MagicScroll on the page you want to read, you will see a completely new layout, but the same content, with absolutely no clutter whatsoever. There is an arrow on either side of the text to manually scroll through. If you prefer to manually scroll with your mouse wheel or touchpad scroll bar, it works great with those too.

On the bottom right are your controls to play/pause and speed up or slow down the automatic scrolling. Hopefully you won’t really be using those, though, as in the left corner there’s a tip to hit “H” to display the hotkeys. This makes the whole experience of using MagicScroll just that much better.

web reader

Note that also in the top left corner there is a button to go back to the original page and also one to report bugs – both essential. Although the “reload” button doesn’t technically have a hotkey (at least it’s not listed), the F5 key works like a charm.

web reader app review

TIP: For an even better reading experience, go full screen by pressing the F11 key on your browser. Now even your browser can’t distract you!

How Do I Get It?

This might seem like a ridiculous question – you go to the website, of course! But actually, it’s not the simple (as you can see looking at the website) and to be honest, I was asking myself this same question. Of course, I could find the Chrome extension – that’s simple – but how do you acquire the bookmarklet if you’re a non-Chrome user or bookmarklet lover?

The key is in the blog post. At the very end of it you’re given a link to the Chrome Web Store extension and a bookmarklet link to drag into your bookmarks bar.

web reader app

Conclusion

MagicScroll certainly isn’t the only web reading aid out there, there’s Clearly, Instapaper, iReader, and Readability, which are among my favorites. They each offer their own benefits such as printing, sharing and/or accessing the article easily on the go without all the “junk” around the content.

However, if reading is what you want to do, I don’t see a better alternative than MagicScroll. I don’t always end up keeping browser extensions that I try and sometimes write about because otherwise my browser would be slower than molasses, but MagicScroll Web Reader, whether in bookmarklet or extension form, will be remaining in my browser for quite some time.

What are your thoughts on the web reading experience? I encourage you to read the rest of the developer’s blog post who talks about the inspiration behind this extension and share your thoughts! Do you find yourself easily distracted when reading on the Internet? And after trying MagicScroll, did you see a difference?

Here are the download links again:

Get the MagicScroll bookmarklet via his blog post

Get the MagicScroll Web Reader Chrome extension

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Comments (22)
  • Elizabeth

    Can Magic Scroll be implemented within a blog or website, so that readers can click a button to change the article they’re reading into Magic Scroll view? Kind of like how there’s a “Print” button and numerous social-sharing buttons you can add to blog posts and articles. Would love to see this be able to export to PDF, like Print Friendly.

    • Aaron Couch

      Elizabeth,

      That is a great question and I love the idea! I’ve wondered that myself actually. The developer, Richard Wallis, has been pretty active in responding to comments on here, but if he doesn’t respond to you, you can send him an email: support@magicscroll.net

  • ZoNi

    I use Evernote Clearly and I love it :-)

    • Aaron Couch

      I actually use Clearly as well, but I’ve found MagicScroll is very different from Clearly in a unique way. You should try it and let me know what you think. If you still prefer Clearly over MagicScroll though, that’s certainly fair enough :)

      Thanks for the comment.

  • ion popa

    Ops! This kind of scrolling seems to me very funny!

  • Lisa Santika Onggrid

    I tell ya, I always read the article I click instead of just glossing over, and a good many of them are over 1000+ words. Unless you grow up with Facebook and Twitter, I think it’s a common trait.
    That aside, tools like Readibility, Clearly, Pocket, and this one are always good to have, especially when you want to be able to read the page but decided not to use AdBlocker. Win-win solution.

  • Aaron Chung

    Thanks a lot for the advice!!

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.