Design, HCId

Brilliant (free) services for better reading online

Leave me alone, I'm reading.Below are my favorite bits of technology that make life less complicated and truly better. Happy reading.

f.lux makes your eyes happy

My entire life has changed because of f.lux. I usually wake up before sunrise and when I don’t it’s because I have worked late into the night. Throughout the day f.lux adjusts the tints on my screen with based on my location and time of day. At night, my screen has a slight red-orange hue (tungsten) that keeps me from squinting at my computer and burning my eyeballs. Doing graphic design work that requires precise attention to detail and color? No problem, there’s an easily accessible feature to disable f.lux for an hour. If you try this for a week and still don’t love it, I’ll give you your money back!

Thank you to Damion Junk and Samantha Merritt for introducing me to this great free software f.lux.

Readability wipes away website clutter

Big surprise that I read a lot of news–from a lot of different sources. Blogs, journals, news sites and so on. Because the media industry wants us to click on more links, more share buttons and more ads we are bombarded with visual noise. Readability is a bookmarklet you can add to your toolbar that wipes all of that away. I dream of a day when design is so good we don’t need Readability. But until then, one click to quiet salvation is not so bad.

Their bookmarklet is free or you can pay $5 a month for bonus Instapaper-like features.

Page one – Banish Multiple Article Pages

This is way I wish all technology worked, quietly in the background. The one click Chrome extension makes all New York Times stories one page. You know that 12-page essay about lemon farming in Brazil? While you’re clicking next, next next, I’m smooth sailing down down the coast Rio sipping lemonade and not a penny spent. I wish I had this for the entire internet.

Adblock makes websites quiet down

New York Times - with and without an adblocker
New York Times Standard vs New York Times with Adblocker

I did some browser to browser comparisons and the free Adblock definitely works. It also apparently it won the Reader’s Choice Award in 2011–for what that’s worth to you. My favorite part is no longer having twirling, dancing motion ads crying for attention. Hulu ads got you down? Try pressing the “mute” button; that trick always works.

[photos via f.lux and heychristine]

Nina Mehta is a writer and product design leader in Brooklyn, New York. She began her design career in journalism and has been writing online for 20+ years. Nina is from outside Chicago and has since lived and worked in San Francisco, Berlin, London, and Tokyo. Learn about Nina at

One thought on “Brilliant (free) services for better reading online”

  1. Aaron Houssian says:

    Have you tried Instapaper? Use the bookmarklet and then you can go back and read articles from their site or your mobile device without all the clutter and multiple page loads. I use it for longer articles especially. I’m going to try Flux for sure, haven’t seen that one.

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