‘Google’s Reading Mode app for Android can save you from the worst of web design’

Dan Seifert, writing for The Verge: (emphasis added is mine)

Reading Mode was released late last year and is intended to be an accessibility feature — it makes reading content on your phone easier if you are vision impaired. You can customize the typeface, font size, colors, and spacing to fine-tune how it presents the text. It can also use Google’s onboard text-to-voice transcription to read the content aloud, which you can customize between various voices and adjust the speed of. The best part is, unlike reading modes that are built into some browsers, the Reading Mode app works on almost anything your phone is displaying, whether that’s in Chrome, an in-app browser, or an app itself.

It makes so much sense for a reading mode to work across apps, not just the browser. Yesterday, I shared a tip about reading aloud any selected text, but now I want this reading and listening view to just be a layer living atop anything on the screen.

Three other things I like about Google’s implementation: (1) The swipe gesture to activate it anywhere, anytime. (2) The estimated reading time is prominently displayed, making it easy to judge if I have time to read now or if I should save it for later. (3) Text-to-speech all the things. Weirdly, iOS 17’s read this” feature of Safari Reader is only available in Safari, not Safari View Controller where you can also activate Reader. Like I said, weird.

One thing I don’t like: Reading Mode is a separate app that users have to download to use.


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