The web's reading platform.

It’s Here: Readability 2.0 for iOS

We’re extremely proud to announce that an all new version of Readability for iPhone and iPad is now available on the App Store.
Readability for iOS on the iPad and iPhone

We’ve designed and built Readability for iOS to take full advantage of iOS 7. We’ve made smart updates to the aesthetics to make it feel perfectly at home on iOS, while maintaining our focus on beautiful typography and meticulous attention to detail. We’re making use of a number of new iOS 7 features, including background syncing and 64-bit support. The app is super fast, rock-solid, and just downright gorgeous!

Building an iOS app of any size is a daunting task. The Readability Team has poured their hearts into this release and that effort can be seen in the bar-raising quality of the app. The team is Michael Ciarlo, Zeeshan Lakhani, Philip Forget, Chris Schomaker, Kareem Youssef, Rich Ziade, and me.

Head on over to the App Store to download the best reading app for iOS.

Thanks for reading

New Readability: Focus, Do Less, Enjoy More

Last night, at about 11:45 PM EST, we released significant updates to Readability. This release contains the most ambitious changes we’ve made to the product since its inception. Readability has always been and will always be a personal utility for reading the Web in comfort. Starting today, Readability is also a community of readers where long-form content can be shared and discovered.

Head over to readability.com and log in to see what’s new.

Screenshot of a Recommendation

The Difference

The most substantial update to the site is the introduction of Recommendations. Recommendations are a way for you to discover exceptional articles curated by members of the Readability community. As a member of the community, you also have the opportunity to recommend articles that you think your followers should read.

A beta user of the new site asked a great question about Recommendations:

…I am curious how your pseudo-"social broadcast" platform improves on any of the ones we already have?

We believe the difference is focus. Readability Recommendations are about discovering and sharing a single thing: quality written content. When you visit Readability.com, you can be certain that the members you follow have made Recommendations that you’ll find compelling.

Quality

One thing you’ll notice about the new site is that there are no following or followers counts. That’s by design. Following someone on Readability is about discovering articles that are meaningful to you that you might not find on your own. The number of followers you have and number of members you follow is not the goal; it’s a means to an end. We encourage you to frequently follow and unfollow members based on the type and quantity of articles being recommended to you.

When you make Recommendations, we encourage you to choose quality over quantity. If you only make one Recommendation in a week, that’s completely fine. Readability is about comfort, not about winning a race of the fastest and the mostest.

The Team

The Readability Team worked on this release for about four months. This was a massive undertaking for us. We don’t pat ourselves on the back too often, but I’d like to do that now. The team that builds Readability is: Philip Forget, Chris Schomaker, Kareem Youssef, Rich Ziade, Michael Ciarlo, Zeeshan Lakhani and myself. This is an incredibly hard-working and talented team whose ambition far exceeds our size. We’re extremely proud of the work that we’re releasing into the world.

What’s Next?

All of the new features will be available in the next version of the Readability App for iOS. We have about one week left of development on it, and it’s looking incredible. The new version is a complete redesign and rebuild that is lightning fast and rock solid. We can’t wait for you to see it.

Thanks for Reading

New Readability: Opening Date

As we mentioned, we’ve been hard at work on major improvements to Readability.com. In the last three months there’ve been a lot of late nights and no shortage of weekend working hours. In just under two weeks, we’ll finally get to share our work with everyone.

stylized screenshots of the Recommended and Reading List pages of the New Readability.com

On Tuesday, December 17 all Readability users will have access to the new Readability.com. This includes the recently introduced Recommendations, following/followers, a handsome new design, and a slew of other updates.

Early access

A huge thank you goes out to everyone that tweeted or emailed about #newrdb. Your feedback has been invaluable and it’s been great reading the articles you’ve Recommended.

If you’d like access before the 17th, you can request it at readability.com/gimme.

On variety

Recommendations are a step towards creating a place to discover articles on a diverse range of topics, curated by other people who love to read as much as you do. In early testing, and our past experience with Top Reads, Readlists, and MustRead, we’ve seen content that is skewed towards the tech industry. That’s great, we’re tech folks, but we want the Readability community to offer content covering as many different interests as possible. You can help make that happen by recommending articles on topics that are important to you that are outside of tech. We’re also looking for suggestions. Are you, or do you know someone who is an expert on a particular topic that’s not widely covered? Let us know, we’d love to hear from them.

Again, if you’d like early access request it at readability.com/gimme. If not, you’ll see the all new Readability.com on December 17th.

Thanks for reading

Our Next Big Step

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.

The Recommendations icon on a stylized background

Enter Recommendations

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.
Screenshot showing an article being recommended on Readability

Who’s listening?

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.

Screenshot of a Readability user's Recommended List

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.
Cropped screenshot of the list of a list of followed users in Readability

Inspiration

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.

We’ve put tons of effort into making sure the site is accessible and enjoyable to use on any device regardless of screen width/height, touch and/or mouse capability, or JavaScript availability. We’ve also made countless changes under the hood to make the site faster and to bring down overall page weight.
A collage of images showing design details of the New Readability

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.

When?

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

What Does the Arc90 Acquisition Mean for Readability?

Yesterday it was announced that Readability’s parent company, Arc90, will be acquired by SFX Entertainment. What effects will this have on the future of Readability?

In short, it’s business as usual. Our team will remain intact and we will continue to work tirelessly towards our goal of making the Web a more comfortable and enjoyable place to read.

Some quick history

Readability was the brainchild of Arc90 founder Rich Ziade. It started as a simple bookmarklet to turn web pages into clean reading views. In the 4+ years since its inception, Readability has grown into a full-fledged reading platform with millions of well-read folks that we’re proud to call our users.

The Readability team has always been a part of Arc90. The incredible people at Arc90 create an encouraging and inspiring environment that has enabled and will continue to enable us to keep pushing forward with Readability. Arc90 joining SFX will not change that.

What else?

Glad you asked. For the last 3 months we’ve been pretty quiet. I assure you it’s not dormancy; it’s the calm before the storm. We are nearing the completion of a major overhaul of Readability.com and Readability for iOS. This release does more to further our goal of making reading on the Web great. We’re also introducing something new, something to help a community of readers come together.

We’ll have more details on what we’re up to exactly soon; for now, I’ll just say that it’s a very exciting addition to an already excellent product. We can’t wait for you to see it.

Thanks for reading

Reeder 2 for iOS

Reeder 2 is the Hotness

Silvio Rizzi is back again with an update to the much loved Reeder App. Reeder 2 has a fresh new design that has moved away from the faux textures and torn paper that were prevalent in the previous versions. The trimmed-down aesthetics give it a lighter and more content focused feel. We like that. The update also has a slew of really enjoyable swipe gestures, transitions, and details that give it an overall playful, fun feeling. It still has a great range of RSS service integrations; Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, and Fever.

We’re a little biased here, but we’re still very partial to the tight Readability integration in Reeder 2. As was the case with the previous version you can still connect your Readability account to Reeder to pull in your Reading List.

While we’re in pat-ourselves-on-the-back mode, Feedbin also has excellent Readability integration. So if you connect Reeder 2 to your Feedbin account, you can get your Readability saved articles there too. We heard you liked Readability so now you can Readability while you Readability!

The attention to detail and superb execution make it well worth the $4.99 price tag. Pick it up in the app store.

Thanks for reading

Making Readability More Responsive

We believe our users should be able to enjoy reading on any device. Because of that, we put a lot of energy into making the Readability website as flexible as possible. Last week we released a number of improvements to the Article and Reading List views that will make using our site on small screen and touch-enabled devices much more enjoyable.

Readability on a large and small-screen device

Improvements to the Article View

One of the first changes you’ll notice is a change to the buttons on the toolbar. We’ve added a delete button and removed the share (Twitter, Facebook, email) and export (Kindle, ePub, print) options. Don’t worry, all of those are still available, they have just been moved to a submenu. We moved them for two reasons; 1) there were too many items present on the screen, they had started to distract from the article. 2) We wanted to give ourselves room to expand. In the future we may add other sharing and export options, having them in a submenu makes adding new options easier while keeping the items present on the screen to a minimum.

Readability article view toolbar on on different screen widths

As you can see from the screenshot above, the toolbar is now optimized to fit a range of screen sizes. As your screen width increases or decreases, the toolbar will move itself into a comfortable position and layout for that size. For touch-enabled devices, the toolbar will also give you as much room to read as possible by defaulting to being hidden and only displaying after tapping on the screen.

Better Submenus

Screenshot of the appearance and sharing/exporting submenus on small screen devices

For changing appearance, sending to Kindle, tagging, deleting, and now sharing/exporting from the Article view, we use flyout-style submenus. Those work well for larger screens with mouse input, but not so well for smaller screens. We’ve come up with a new style of submenu that is more suitable for small screen and touch-enabled devices.

We’ve also updated the Reading List to use the new style of submenu for adding articles to your list and for tagging.

Switching to an Icon Font

Readabilicons

To cut down on the number of images we use and to make the article view look great at any resolution we’ve switched the toolbar icons to use a custom font; Readabilicons. Using an icon font allows us to quickly change the size and color of the icons to match the different article view background colors. It also allows us to add new icons without needing to make a new image sprite. Smaller page weight, sharper images, and quicker dev time. Using a font icon is a big win all around.

Deciding to Remove Options

We want Readability to be as comfortable to use as possible. One way that we’re working to achieve that is by paring things to down to the essentials. When we started updating the article view we zeroed in on two features that we felt were non-essential to the majority of users; the option to convert links to footnotes and the option to hide images. We don’t like to remove things based on gut feelings alone so we looked to the stats. We found that converting links was used by about 0.6% of users and hiding images about 0.3%. While we knew that we would have some users that were unhappy with the change, we decided that the usage was low enough that they should be removed.

We have been contacted by a handful of users about the removal of these features. While we won’t be bringing them back exactly how they were, we are interested in hearing how they were used to see if we can come up with a different way of accomplishing the goals without having to present the user with more options that they have to consider.

Moving Away from a Separate Mobile Site

Over the past two-plus years, Readability has employed a separate website for mobile devices. The separate site served us very well when it was launched and for some time after. Since then, we’ve honed our responsive web design techniques and now feel that we have the regular site in a state that makes it great on small, medium, and large screens alike. With that, we’ve made the decision to retire http://www.readability.com/mobile in favor of a responsively designed site that is functional on any device regardless of size, shape, or user input method.

Having a single website for all devices is going to be beneficial in a number of ways. We’ll be able to pour our energy into just one site, instead of splitting it between two. A responsive site is more future proof. Since we’re not attempting any browser or device detection, but instead relying on the screen size and feature detection, Readability should work the same on any new device or browser that comes along without us needing to add new detection.

The separate mobile site will be available until August 1st. After August 1st all traffic to http://www.readability.com/mobile will be redirected to http://www.readability.com

Give it a Try

Readability on small screen devices

To start using the more responsive Readability, just head to http://www.readability.com and log in on any device that you have handy. If you use a small screen, touch-enable device you’ll see the biggest difference. As always, we’ll continue to make regular enhancements. Let us know what you think of the updates by commenting here or by getting in touch directly.

Thanks for reading

New in Readlists: Save to Dropbox

Earlier today Dropbox announced a new and easy way for apps to save files to your Dropbox. We thought that sounded pretty great, so starting right now you can save any Readlist to your Dropbox with just a couple clicks.
Save Readlists to Dropbox

Save to Dropbox is located in the export section of every Readlist. All you’ll need is a Dropbox account and a desire to collect some wonderfully curated content. If you’re looking for excellent Readlists, check out the featured ones on the home page.

Screenshot of saving a Readlist to Dropbox

Thanks for reading

The Mother of All Readlists

Ever since we let loose Readlists, we’ve been consistently impressed with the compilations that people have put together. From coffee guides to the user experience of science fiction to nondual awareness, just about every topic from mainstream and topical to the niche-iest of niche exists.

Readlists

Recently, we stumbled on a very special readlist that we just had to share: the Digital Collection of Gezi Park Articles. It is a massive (and we mean massive) collection of reads on the protests and political unrest in Turkey. It’s so large in fact that the curator hit the 150 article limit, which naturally led to Part 2.

So if you’re interested in Turkish politics, cancel your weekend plans and hole up. You’ve got a lot of reading ahead. Everyone else, there’s an endless world of readlists to discover. And if you don’t find any that fit your liking, you can always roll your own.

Happy reading…and curating!

Breathe Easy. Keep Reading.

It happens to the best of us. We add to our Reading List day after day. The number of saved articles grows into the hundreds; maybe thousands. We wait for that quiet Sunday morning where we’ll finally get a chance to read all of that exceptional content. Often, that Sunday doesn’t come. Our Reading List continues to grow and along with it the weight of guilt of the unread. We want to help lighten the load.

Introducing: Guilt Purge

A stylized screenshot of Guilt Purge

Guilt Purge allows you to archive or delete all bookmarks in your Reading List that are older than an amount of time that you select. Age options are; 5 days, 2 weeks, 1 month, and 3 months.

To purge your guilt, visit your Account Settings

Thanks for reading