The primary goal of Readability is to make reading on the Web a more enjoyable experience. To date, we’ve worked towards that goal by stripping away clutter from articles you’ve found with a clean reading view and building simple ways to save and send articles to your devices. While we will continue to improve upon that experience, we’re also starting down a new path. We’re extremely excited to introduce a new addition to Readability that’s going to make the experience of discovering new articles just as enjoyable and comfortable as reading them.
When you read a great piece of writing online, what do you do with it? You might share it to Twitter, or Facebook, or maybe even email it directly to someone. Twitter and Facebook are great for sharing; articles, images, videos, non sequiturs, your lunch, anything. We feel there’s room for focus in the article sharing department.
Recommendations are a way to share and discover a single thing: written content published on the Web. They allow you to read an article and then say, “Hey, this article is great. It’s worth your time and here’s what I think about it.” They also allow you to see what articles other folks think are worthy of your time and attention.
Readability’s user base is made up of millions of well-read folks. Those individuals can now follow your Recommendations and you can follow theirs. When you recommend an article it will show up in your followers’ Recommended List where they can see what you thought about the article, and either read it now or save it for later.
How is it?
We’ve been using Recommendations for the last few weeks with a small number of test users, and in short, it’s great! Even if you only follow a handful of people, you’re almost guaranteed to have a number of interesting articles in your Recommended List daily. The great thing about it is that you can easily follow and unfollow people based on the type and quantity of Recommendations you want at a given time. It’s been very fun to see what other people find interesting.
That brings to light another important change in Readability; more of a focus on people. We’re working to build a community of readers. Recommendations is the foundation that the community will be built on. As we move forward, the possibilities for what we can do to foster our community are vast and we’re very excited to explore them.
Nothing is created in a vacuum, so we’d be remiss not to mention our inspiration for Recommendations. MustRead is an Arc90 Hackathon idea dreamt up and designed by a few smart folks at Arc90. Our team helped build MustRead and after its launch we were very impressed with the enthusiasm of its early adopters. Their enthusiasm helped guide us early on in the design process of Recommendations.
Wait, there’s more!
Along with adding Recommendations, we decided it was time for a major overhaul of the site. We’ve completely redesigned the Reading List, introduced new profile pages, and have made an assortment of updates to the Reading View. More than ever, we’re focusing on strong typography, flexible grids, and allowing content to be the interface by removing all design elements that aren’t absolutely necessary.
A notable design change you’ll see is that we’ve made the switch to the beautiful Hoefler & Frere-Jones fonts we use in our iOS and Android apps. You’ll have a choice between Sentinel, Whitney, and Mercury for both your Reading View and Reading List. These webfonts are tailored for the screen. They’re super crisp and perfect for reading.
Note: We’re also working on a completely new Readability app for iPhone and iPad that will include Recommendations and a boatload of other great things. We’ve been using test builds and it’s really incredible already. We’ll have a lot more on that soon.
The New Readability.com is not open to everyone quite yet. We’re slowly rolling it out on a per-user basis while we continue to make improvements. We’ll be opening the new site to everyone soon, but if you’d like early access you can let us know. Head to readability.com/gimme, Tweet that tweet and we’ll bump you to the top of the list.
We’ve poured ourselves into this release, and we’re extremely proud of the design and development work that we’ve put into it. This is the fastest, prettiest, most flexible, and most accessible iteration of Readability ever. We can’t wait to see how you use it and to hear your feedback.
Thanks for reading