Readability is an interesting experiment. With one button-click it attempts to auto-detect the interesting/worthwhile content on a web-page, throws out the clutter, and then presents you with that selected content as a simple page of nicely formatted text.

Before (“watch TV, use social medja, read our twits!” — blah!):

After (just read the article):

It’s intended to work on pages which have a decent amount of article text, which you’d like to read comfortably. What it needs now is a neat text-to-speech button addon, which would convert the article to speech and then add it into a combined personal daily podcast*

Running it on the Jurn blog correctly picked the most substantial post currently on the front page, the group test of business search-engines, and just showed me that. I’m impressed. Readability is another pointer (along with the excellent SurfClarity and Stylish FF addons) to a future in which the intelligent user enjoys a robustly ad-blocked, domain-blocked, user-in-control browsing experience. It won’t just be Google’s caffeine update which will be giving webjunk a hard time in 2010.

   * There are some decent SAPI TTS voices out there, believe it or not, and I can highly recommend the American-accented NeoSpeech VW Paul and the British-accented ScanSoft Daniel. If you have such extra voices, to change the default Windows 7 voice you need to delve into: Control Panel – Ease of Access – Ease of Access Center – Start Narrator – Voice Settings – then change your SAPI voice. Or you can use the TextAloud Firefox toolbar, which makes it easy to change voices at the flick of a button — although you’ll still need to edit certain words using the Pronunciation Editor, to get flawless readings.