Long ago, I left all RSS duties to perhaps the undisputed ruler of RSS readers, Google Reader. While I use Reeder on iOS and enjoy its presentation, I use Instapaper to read longer articles or items I want to spend more time with.
Both Instapaper and Readability provide that one thing that makes them great offerings for readers — the presentation of content in a pleasant, reader-friendly format for digesting.
Despite Google’s recent move towards a redesign and flat-like approach to its design, I’ve often wondered and wished for that reader-friendly presentation format in Google Reader itself. Why is Reader so reading-hostile?
Many times I’ve thought, “Reader needs themes,” and more so that it could use some simple user options to control the text. Google could easily place this in settings.
Below, a very quick take on what I’m talking about, using Safari’s Web Inspector to serve up some local typefaces. In this instance of Shawn Blanc’s entry on The Setup, I’ve used Tisa for the post title and main body text, and Proxima Nova for the subhead. In addition, and perhaps primarily, I’ve bumped up the text size for easy reading.
There are more options that Reader could provide: color theming for contrast, background texture options and others, but at its very basic, some text size controls and font choices (served up by Google Web Fonts perhaps) would be a great start. Circling back, some suggested reading themes to start with, would be great to allow us to tweak to our own preferences like you do in GMail.
Given how much time I spend with Google Reader on the desktop, it sure would make the actual act of reading front and center.
What if Google Reader had better reading controls?
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