Why I probably won’t use a website’s URL to share a post via email again

For a post about sharing links

Since Readability came out a week or two ago for the iPhone and iPad I’ve noticed that my web reading habits have changed quite a bit. I’m saving a lot of desktop browser content specifically so I can read it on my iPad and iPhone. While Readability isn’t the first service to offer such a service it’s the first one that has changed my reading behaviors. As I’ve used the service more for reading I’ve also noticed a shift in how I will be sharing content as well. Typically if I read something on the web and want to share it via Twitter I copy + paste the headline and link, sometimes I’ll add my own small blurb. While I haven’t kept any stats on the people that click on those links I’m guessing that there’s a 50/50 chance that they’re going to read it on their mobile phone. Most of the sites out there aren’t set up properly to display that content on a small mobile screen devices. Sure people can click on the Reader button in the browser to clean it up but it can be a bit of a pain. That brings me up to sharing content via email. I don’t send that many links via email. Typically it will be to someone at Gesture Theory that I think should read a post. Going back and forth with Roy this morning via email while he’s in Austin for SXSW I sent him a post to read from Readability because I knew he would be reading it on his iPhone. I wanted him to enjoy the experience and not have to deal with the Reader button. That’s when I realized that if I want to share a link via email, almost a 100% of the time it will be ready on a mobile device which lead me to consider not using a website’s url to share via email again. Chances are pretty high that I’ve already saved it to Readability, taken the time to think about it and felt important enough to pass it along. Comparing that to how I share on Twitter, I don’t think it’s going to change my habits as much in the short term. Ask me the same question this time next year, who knows. The big take away is this, if site’s don’t cater to how people want to read content they will find other ways to read it that makes the experience better. The irony of course is that this site that you’re reading right now isn’t set to read the type in a compelling way for mobile devices yet either. I’m hoping to make that a priority with the next redesign but that is at least a couple months off. So as reading tools become more agile it will make sites a little less compelling to visit which should concern people that make content.

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  • Jcollord

    The description on the web site makes Readability sound like Instapaper. How would you compare the two?

  • http://designnotes.info/ Michael Surtees

    You’re right, they do sound pretty similar. I do have Instapaper but for some reason it never became the system that I would read things later with. It’s subtle but I think it might have to do with the typography. You should check out this post form Marco talking about it http://www.marco.org/2012/03/08/learning-from-competition