TidyRead brings reading to mobile web

TidyRead is a fantastic service, which converts web pages into fast-loading, minimalist yet eye-pleasing versions, so that you can read them on your iPhone, Android or any other smartphone with a browser.

How it works? You paste an url address of a page, click “Read” button and in a moment you’ll have it mobilized. The service is using special algorithms, which extract only the main headline, text, images and videos, while removing everything else (like a sidebar, footer, widgets or ads). As a result the page you mobilized with TidyRead has a real e-book feel.

More importantly, while classic mobilizing services like Mippin or Mofuse can use only RSS feeds, TidyRead turns any web content into a mobile friendly format. I’ve checked no-RSS websites as well as forums and it worked. Surely, there are pages written in such a way, that their content just can’t be properly shown through any code simplifying script, but that’s the problem most of web mobilizing tools can encounter.

You will say “hey, Google Mobilizer does this job already”. Yes, it does… the basics. It simplifies the page to the ugly core, the pictures are too downsized, the font is ultra small and there is no way to personalize it ( = make it bigger).

Google mobilized pages are optimized for any cellphone, not only touchscreens, so the devices with the bigger screen show everything small. Now the thing is that it is big touchscreen users to be more eager to read on a phone than those with small screens.

MakeUseOf has a good review of the service, so I’ll focus only on features, which make TidyRead a really exceptional proposal for mobile web users.

Killer features

:. Personalization

This is smartly done. Not too complicated, not too basic. Just the right amount of options to manage from a mobile phone (yes, TidyRead can be managed from both desktop and mobile browser). A list of options includes: display style (f.e. novel, e-book, newspaper), font size, text alignment and font family. I’ve chosen my favourite screen font. It’s Georgia and it does a tremendous job in making on-screen reading a real pleasure.

:. Bookmarklet

This is such a simple tool and saves so much time. Just drag this bookmarklet to your toolbar and when you’re at the page which you want to mobilize, just do it in one click. You need another click (“Save to reading list” button) and the page is saved for later reading.

Bookmarklet is directing you to a TidyRead url address, so this is at the same time your shortcut to mobile friendly reading list.

:. Save

Yes. Saving pages into a personal reading list is the most useful feature of TidyRead. This is, in my opinion, number one factor to boost TidyRead’s popularity among mobile readers. What does it mean? You can start making your own catalogue of favourite reads. They can come from many sources, but at TidyRead they’re given one, personalized, familiar look.

Compare screenshots – Google Mobilizer (left) and TidyRead (right):

User tips

I see a lot of potential in TidyRead and I’d like to give you some tips how to maximize the use of it.

:. Share mobilized links

One of the major reasons, why so many links on Twitter are retweeted without reading is that users who access Twitterverse via mobile phones are afraid of opening them. They are afraid to wait ages for a page to load and messy layouts fitting into their phone screens.

Not only Twitter, but also Facebook are heavily populated by mobile readers. Sending them a mobile friendly link makes a lot of sense. With TidyRead it’s super easy. You’re on a page you want to share. Before, you were just using a Bit.ly bookmarklet (or any other url shortener). Now you can first click on a TidyRead bookmarklet (the page is mobilized) and then Bit.ly (the address is shortened). Having one more click makes the content you share accesible by mobile readers.

A tip: give your friends a hint the link is mobilized, for example add “mobile frendly link” at the end of a tweet.

:. Store your mobilized links

Some time ago I listed blog mobilizing tools. TidyRead is a strong next one. If your blog is not mobilized yet and you don’t want to use another plugin for that, you can always pull your home page through TidyRead and save the link. You can also save particular posts to have an immediate access to them from your TidyRead’s reading list.

:. Build a catalog of Scribd books

This is a tip for Scribd lovers. Recently the service has introduced a neat feature. When you’re on a book page (desktop web), you can click the “Mobile” button and Scribd will send to your device a link to the mobile friendly version of a book (two options: SMS or mail). This is a fantastic tool, as there are over 10 million books available via Scribd.

Now, what to do with your favourite links? Scribd can’t store them yet. Looking through old SMS messages can be frustrating. TidyRead does the job. Just paste a Scribd link (it’s shortened by Bit.ly and it works in TidyRead), get the mobile version and store it in your reading list. This way you can collect a pretty long list of the books with a “to-read” status.

:. Collect online fiction

Are you a member of an online writer community? Do you frequently visit pages listing flash fiction, poems or any other kind of online writing? Just mobilize the landing page with TidyRead and all the links within will be mobilized as well.

To give you a hint of how it works – if you like reading FridayFlash, just go to Twitter search, type in the hashtag (#FridayFlash) and use the TidyRead bookmarklet to mobilize the results. Store it in your reading list and refresh the results every Friday for a new set of great stories. Type in your browser http://bit.ly/cp5KH0 and check for yourself!

Note: yes, this is big – TidyRead is also mobilizing the links from the Twitter stream!

:. Read without distraction

Last thing. TidyRead bookmarklet lets you in one click remove all the content, which can distract you from reading. So you can use it not only on a mobile phone but also on your computer – any time you really need to focus on what you’re reading.

Recently there was a lot of buzz around the report saying, that mobile web is more popular among young Europeans than reading. In my opinion it’s not the question how to bring young people to reading, but how to bring reading to young people. And TidyRead does this job perfectly.

9 Replies to “TidyRead brings reading to mobile web”

  1. Thanks for the great writing about TidyRead. A new feature: you can just click the facebook or twitter icon near the title in the page to share a mobilized version and don’t go through bit.ly.


  2. Thanks for the great writing about TidyRead. A new feature: you can just click the facebook or twitter icon near the title in the page to share a mobilized version and don’t go through bit.ly.


  3. Pingback: What’s the difference between the ipad and the ipod touch? | Apple On The Longtail

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