When I first looked over the Instapaper application I didn’t think I needed it. I used Delicious for my social bookmarketing site. Why would I need Instapaper? Then news stories came out saying that Yahoo! would either shutdown or sell Delicious, so I gave Instapaper another look.
How did I miss the primary reason for using Instapaper? It’s primary feature is not bookmarking, it is making text legible. There was this trend in web design around 2003 where font sizes got really small. I’m afraid it may be coming back and my eyes just can’t take it. Thankfully with Instapaper, I no longer have to suffer through reading painfully small fonts or gray text on a while background.
Here is how it works.
- Set up an account on Instapaper.
- Add the Read Later bookmarklet to your browser, per their instructions.
- Go to a page you wish to read that has a hideous web design with dreadful legibility. For this example, I am going to use the outstanding article Vitamin D — Problems With the Latitude Hypothesis on the Weston A Price website.
- Press your Read Later bookmarklet.
- Go back to Instapaper, locate the article on your list and click the Text button.
Add it to Instapaper and then click the Text button.
Presto. The article is now readable.
Instapaper doesn’t work for every website, but works for most. My online reading speed and comprehension has never been greater. I highly recommend Instapaper.
UPDATE: Seems Instapaper has a feature in their Extras section called Instapaper Text. Drag that bookmarklet to your toolbar and click it whenever you need text cleaned up. No account needed. Use this if you don’t need the bookmarking features. They also give a shout out to a similar solution called Readability.