Slicing text for reading
I probably have ADHD, but I don’t want to get checked. I’m afraid the doctor will confirm that I’m a serial procrastinator. Don’t get me wrong, I usually get my work done, but I would like to go about it better and get more work done than I do now.
I also can’t read long technical articles without getting lost most of the time. I find myself skipping forward without notice, and having to retrace my steps. I get frustrated eventually, grit my teeth, put my finger on the screen and read really slowly. To make matters worse many websites have small fonts, stingy line spacing and too much text on the same page.
The funny part is that I love to read. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve read everything I could get my hands on. That’s why I absolutely love Medium. It brings so many different authors under the same url and makes finding good reads simple. I often find myself visiting Medium more than my social websites.
Medium is easy on the eyes too, nice font, nice whitespace, and you find yourself gliding through paragraphs and not feeling weary at all. Unfortunately, a lot of blogging engines and blogs don’t have such style and concentrate more on widgets than reading pleasure.
It was for all these reasons above that I sat down one afternoon and made a tiny little mac app that would let me read comfortably.
Just a nice font and line spacing wasn’t the only thing that I needed; I wanted a way to prevent myself from flitting forward when I hadn’t fully read nor understood the current paragraph. I wanted to remove all distractions from complicated but important reading.
So, I came up with Slicereader.
Slicereader I made for my own use primarily, so I took the liberty of making decisions which other people may or may not like. Decisions like the page (window) size: It’s fixed, you may not resize it. The font is fixed, so is the line height. You may not skip forward to a paragraph, and there are no keys for moving to the start or end of the article.
As for navigating the document, you use the spacebar key to move naturally forward or shift-spacebar to move backwards. By naturally, I mean that if a paragraph is lengthier than the page allows to display at once, the spacebar keys will cause the text to scroll rather than moving onto the next (or previous) paragraph. You may also use the left or right keys on the keyboard, but they will always move a paragraph at a time forward or reverse.
Another thing. I seldom write, but I’m trying to write more. I find that Slicereader also helps me proofread. Even if you don’t have a case of the wandering eye like I do, usually when you’re reading your own writing you tend to overlook things.
Multiple articles may be stored within Slicereader and to change the article, you can bring up the Reading List. It looks something like this:
I’m not sure if anyone else will find this useful, but if someone wants to play with it, I’ve uploaded it here.
All the relevant disclaimers apply. I haven’t thoroughly tested this app, and the only guarantee that I can give you is that it mostly works fine for me and some of my friends who find it useful.
But if you do find it useful or if you have suggestions. Please drop me a line and let me know. I’m reachable at the easy to remember, but probably hard to pronounce @mutahhir on twitter.
Update: I am truly grateful to so many people for promoting this and the unexpected level of support I’ve received for Slicereader. I have to say it’s still a little unbelievable. Thank you so much everyone!
Update 2: I’m in the process of updating Slicereader (many bug fixes) and it will soon have it’s own website, so you can download it from there. Also, please consider following @slicereader or @mutahhir on twitter if you find it useful as you will be able to news and info about updates from there.
Update 3: Slicereader now has it’s very own website! http://mthr.me/slicereader.