Web designer + front-end developer with experience in high-traffic ecommerce sites for some well known brands.

Read Only Web

Are we moving to a text-only reading view experience of the web?

With Safari 11 able to launch pages in reader view by default, is this a signal from Apples metrics, that people want a stripped back reading view of the web only?

Has the elegance of Mediums typography and sparse presentation, along with the speed of Fb Instant Articles and AMP conditioned readers to a slick minimal experience? Do people associate content with a fresh post in a timeline rather than navigating to a new website? Or did the persistent adverts and interstitials drive people to wanting something plainer? Yes, probably.

We all want content first

Its been possible to have a text-only experience, with most browsers having a reader view: Safari 5, IE 11, Firefox 38, UC Browser and Samsung Internet.

People battle with slow loading, cluttered websites with ad blockers and extensions, to get the experience they want.

I add articles to read later via Pocket, simply to avoid reading them on the original site.

This site was designed with a content first approach and I have been Lightening the Load since to ensure the fastest reading experience.

Keep content first, keep readers

Just remember when you hit the ‘post’ button, there will never have been more content available online, and your websites audience have never had more distractions, tools and choice available to get that content the way they want to read it.

Make your content easy to consume the way you intended, otherwise your readers may find another way. So make sure it loads first, and fast, in the way you want it presented.

Lets not settle for a homogenous, text-only tier of the web. Web design is your sites individuality and your control of your brand, so make sure it puts your content first.

We’ve never had more tools available to detect, deliver and present the best experience to users. I hope we can keep them from hitting the reading view permanently.