Web-app Readability is a great way to reduce the clutter of any website and just read the article that you’re looking for. It’s a great way to read MakeUseOf articles, for example: you’ll only see the content you care about. Readability is so good, in fact, that Apple used Readability code to add the “read later” function in Safari 5.
If you’d like to offer this functionality to your follower on Twitter or other social media outlets, you’re in luck. Rdd.me shortens URLs, then gives those who click the shortened URLs the option to read the articles in a clean, clutter-free manner. Whether they use this functionality is up to them, of course, but they just might thank you for giving them the option.
A Customised URL Shortener
It’s simple to shorten a URL; just head to rdd.me and you can paste any link:
Click “Shorten and Read” and you’ll have your link, ready to copy and paste into you social networking sites. It’s really not much more complicated than that if you’re just posting; what’s cool here is what the links do with your work.
What Readers See
If this were the entire story, of course, there wouldn’t be much else to say. But when your followers click the link you generated, they’ll see the article along with this top-bar:
If readers chose to enter Readability mode, they’ll see the entire page re-formatted to show only text:
All of the usual Readability options can be found here, from custom fonts to converting all links to footnotes.
Once someone decides to enter Readability mode, all “rdd.me” URLs will automatically take them to this mode. This is nice, because your social followers will come to associate content you share with clean and easy to read formatting.
It’s pretty clear what this service is about: increasing Readability’s presence on the web. If people start using this URL shortener regularly, Readability will have more oportunities to show off its usefulness.
I’m okay with that, because I think this is well done. I like the idea of a URL shortener with added value, and I’ve always loved Readability, so to me this application is a no-brainer.
What do you think, though: is there value here, or is this just a cheap ploy to advertise Readability’s subscription service? Fill us in below, in the comments; that’s why we have comments (though if you’re using Readability the comments are hidden…)
Also feel free to suggest ideas for other value-added customised URL shorteners. For example: I think it would be great if links to the Huffington Post automatically re-directed to the source material linked to at the bottom of the article, saving me from the effort of scrolling past the poorly-written summary just to find a link to the actual article.
But that’s just me. Please share your ideas for alternative URL shorteners below, and we’ll see if any become a reality.