Details Sometimes Make a Difference

Here is a nice example of how some people care about details in their products. The screenshots have been taken on the page displayed by Readability when the reading list is empty.

The site detects the used browser and displays the toolbar icon used within the specific Readability extension to this browser. Did I mention that the icon for Safari (see above) is ugly?

Frankly, I’m not surprised by the level of attention given by the folks at Readability. The site is a pleasure to used and one of my essential tools when roaming the Web for stuff to learn. Whenever I come across a piece of text that I find worth reading but don’t have the time or attention at the moment I just pass it over to Readability to add it to my reading list.

Lately, I have been discussing with some people about why I prefer Readability over similar services, like e.g. Instapaper. People claim that Readability is too some extent ripping off Instapaper1 and this was a reason not support the site.

I did not submit to this argument but at the time was unable to precisely formulate my point of view until John Gruber picked up the point (while talking about something different, the discussion was not about Readability) in one episode of the Talkshow. He said something to the extent that taking an existing concept to the next level is not considered a rip-off, as far as he is concerned.

I agree. To me, Readability is taking the ideas behind Instapaper to a level yet unreached by Instapaper2. And yet, there are still significant differences. Instapaper puts a lot of focus onto the mobile experience and the way I use Readability is mostly on my Mac. Admittedly, the mobile experience of Readability itself is subject to improvement. But that’s another story worth of a future article.

  1. which has been around before the advent of Readability, as far as I remember.

  2. To be fair, I’m not sure whether Marco Arment really has an improvement of the website experience on his list. After all, he makes money from selling the iOS app.