Using Your Apple Device to Declutter Web Pages

This feature applies to all Apple products that can go on the Web, whether it’s a Mac, iPhone, iPad or even an iPod Touch.
All of us, particularly computer users who depend on screen readers, can all relate to the following scenario. You go to a Web page and you find a link to an interesting article. You press enter on the link and, although you know the article has loaded, you’re bombarded by ads and other links which seem to get in your way and it feels like forever until you find the beginning of that article you clicked on an eternity ago.
In Windows, there are shortcut keys to bypass much of this clutter. You could press the letter H to move from one heading to the next, as many such articles begin at a new heading level. In some cases, pressing the number 1 on the row of numbers takes you to heading level 1, which is often the beginning of the article. There are other tricks. If the page shamefully contains no headings, you could press the letter N to move to the next block of text which is not a link. You could invoke your screen reader’s find command and look for a set of words in the title to quickly move your cursor to that spot. Once you get used to it, your trusty Windows screen reader can quickly move past the clutter. It would be nice, however, if you could just remove all of the clutter so that all that’s left is the relevant text. Apple has heard your cry for help.
The Safari Web browser, found in both iOS as well as on the Mac, contains a handy declutterer known as the Reader. While on a page containing the article, press shift-command-R on the Mac. For iOS devices, look for a button on the top left hand corner of the screen labeled “reader button” right below the status line at the top. Double-tap it and the annoying, unwanted links and advertisements will disappear and all you’ll have is the text of the article or piece you wanted. This feature may not work on every Web page, but it will probably work with most pages containing a specific article or blog post surrounded by links.
As an afterthought, there is a nifty program called Readability which performs a similar function. They produced a version for Firefox for Windows which used to be very accessible. However, a recent attempt at using the addon wasn’t as successful with my screen reader, giving me a totally inaccessible options dialog. I have contacted them and have asked them if they could look into this issue and will update this post if I hear back from them.


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