Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kindle Tip: Small text on web page when using Kindle Fire or Kindle e-Ink readers - How to read it

Browsing web pages on a Kindle Fire or Kindle Touch or Kindle Keyboard e-reader

Recently, a family member recently told me he was frustrated by trying to read webpages with tiny fonts, and I saw a Kindle news blog saying not much had been done to improve the Kindle Fire.

I replied that the new Kindle Fire feature, Reading View for web-article reading that isolates the article, is done VERY well, and it’s brought me back to Amazon's Silk browser from Dolphin HD (Android) web browers which I had far preferred until Amazon’s Reading View feature was added to its Silk browser.

  The new feature makes a huge difference for most who use the web browser on a 7" tablet if they know about it (and that’s the key, or at least one of them).  For those who don’t know about the "Reading View" feature, look for the reading glasses icon in the bottom status bar when at a web page article.

  Lightly press the eyeglasses icon and you'll get a specially formatted page for the web article you're on, far more readable with no ads or surrounding link and info boxes.

  I really enjoy this new feature despite the fact that in normal web-browsing on the Kindle Fire, a double tap on an article will usually raise the font size considerably and wrap the web article text within the width of the Kindle Fire, depending on your web settings and it's usually at a good size.

  But the instant Reading View is much easier and very effective.  No other eReader-based Android tablet web-browser or non-Kindle e-Ink eReader [I edited to correct the subject device type here] has this for browsing the web in full desktop mode (not limited mobile mode).  It’s like Instapaper or Readability, getting rid of ads and side boxes while displaying just the article in normal-sized text and supporting any article links.  But you also have access to the normal full webpage.

  And ANOTHER way to do this (on the Kindle Fire):
  Resize the column you want to read and then pinch zoom the display to enlarge the words until you have only what you want in the window (no side boxes or ads).
  Then double-tap, and that will keep the font size you are seeing while wrapping the rest of the article to the width of the window.
  My web browser settings are something like "auto-overview" and zoom in='Close'...

Remember that if you rotate the Kindle Fire 90 degrees, web browsing will be like reading on a 10" screen but only a half page at a time and the text on the page is easiest to read this way, with more room for it.  I do most of my web-browsing in landscape mode.

  The Kindle Touch ALSO has the pinch-zoom feature to enlarge the displayed text to the font size you want but it's hard to control the width of that as it doesn't wrap at the width so I don't consider it worthwhile except to raise the font size in an area you want to read, knowing it won't wrap.

  The Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard e-Ink readers offer ARTICLE Mode, which converts the layout of the web article you're reading to a simple isolated article-view with very readable text.  When finished with the article, press Menu--Web Mode to return to normal web browsing.

  The Kindle Touch otherwise allows, in normal web-browsing, only two auto-sizes -- the normal tiny, unreadable font when you're on a full webpage and a MEDIUM sized font if you double-tap the screen in the article box.  This isn't large enough for most though.  If you double tap it again, it reverts to smallest font and the double-tap acts as a toggle between the two sizes.

 (An oddness: If you double-click on an info box on the right, the Kindle Touch will sometimes raise the article font to a large size and then show you the article that way, but it's not worth doing because the KTouch gets confused and can crash the browser.)

Hope that helps.  I find that although I've written about this a couple of times, most people don't seem to know about the enhanced web-text reading features.

Kindle Fire  7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
- $99/$139
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

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  1. " No other tablet browser has this for browsing the web in full desktop mode"

    The BlackBerry PlayBook has Readability built in and it is available for all pages, not just selected ones, as with the Fire (I own both tablets) .

    1. pmb, the PlayBook frame was the father of Kindle Fire :-) With Readability, since mid-March, there's been a Readability Android app for all Android devices, starting with the Kindle Fire this year. The Kindle Fire/Android Readbility app lets you save articles to be read in the usual Readability layout.

      But I just want to browse and read articles then and there in that easily readable format, without saving each one I'm interested in first and then bringing it up.

      On the BlackBerry Playbook version of Readability which apparently has it built-in, how does it work? Before March we had to save articles and send them to any kind of reader. Does the Playbook convert an article's layout while you're browsing an article without your having to save it?

      Thanks for any added info. Haven't heard much about the Playbook, but I know they improved it a few months ago as it was not competing well with other Android devices. Since you can play with both devices, I'd love to get more info on this and any differences between them if you have the time. I don't mean the Readability app for Kindle Fire but the Web instant app that Kindle Fire made, which I've found more convenient than the Send-to tools that proliferate.

      Also, speaking of Send-to-Kindle style apps, can you access your Playbook Readability documents across other devices? Send them to be read on any e-Ink reader you might also have? Any sync'g done.

  2. Safari has had the "reader" function since iOS5.

    Need to be careful when saying strong statements, like "no other" ;)

    Great article, I use these modes all the time.

    1. Anonymous,
      Thanks for the correction. Since this is a Kindle and eReader blog, I had in mind only the hybrid eReader-based tablets and e-Ink readers, which are the Kindle's competition -- but I should have said that. Have edited the device type.

      I guess we both use these modes (I actually use the double-tap mode more because I'm usually interested in the surrounding material too and it's more immediate AND I can make the font even larger that way), but I keep running into people that aren't aware of either mode, on any of the Kindle devices and definitely almost no news site reviewers mention these.
      I saw an exception about 2 weeks ago, who mentioned the Reading View but said most people don't care about web-browsing with an eReader. I find that people do care if they don't know about it and they try to read web pages :-). I guess, luckily, then, B&N decided to just eliminate the web browser for the eInk Nook Touch.

      Any blog article or entry made with a 'tip' of this kind lives for only a a few days, and most readers of blogs don't seem to look at past articles. So, in effect I repeated a lot in this one.

      Unfortunately, the double-tap with large font wordwrap to the width of the Kindle Touch eInk device doesn't work any more so I had to revise that one when it happened.


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