eye fatigue with online reading

Built-in Reading Tools: Firefox & Safari

Recent blog posts have suggested tools and techniques to help with eye fatigue and strain. Today I want to make you aware of reading tools that are built-in to the Firefox and Safari browsers.

Both of these browsers offer a “Reading View”. The Reader View provides a very clean clutter-free page that focuses just on the article. With the Reader View engaged, you can control the text size, font family, and the page’s background and foreground colors.

They also both work on mobile devices such as tablets and phones, and allow you to save articles for later reading.

Not all sites are available for the Reader View but when they are you’ll see an icon in the address area that looks like a page with lines. On Safari this icon is usually on the left side of the URL:

The Safari Reader View button is located on the far left of the address bar

On Firefox, the icon is located on the right side of the URL:

The Firefox Review button is located on the far right of the URL

Safari

Once I engage the Reader View in Safari it allows me to choose my font size and family, and what colors I want for foreground and background.

The text button is located on the far right once the Reader View is engaged in Safari

I can also choose to have it come on automatically for all websites by right-clicking on the icon and choosing Reader Website Preferences. I can also go to Safari’s “Preferences”, search for Reader, and set my options there. This process works on both desktop and mobile.

Firefox

The Firefox Reader offers limited control over the font family – you can only choose Serif or Sans Serif but it offers additional options not available in Safari.

For example, it gives me an estimate of reading time. It also allows me to listen to a page – a very nice feature when your eyes need a break but you still need to work. Finally, under the text button I love that I can set my line-height and how much of the screen I want to article to take.

The text button if Firefox offers many options to help with readability

A third option

I want to mention that BeeLine Reader offers a “Clean Mode” which behaves similarly to the Reader View and allows me to control font, line-height, text colorization, and spacing between letters.

If you are experiencing eye fatigue, give any of these tools a try. I’d love to know what you think and if you have a favorite.