Outstreched arm

Monday, April 24, 2006

Columno - a simple tool for reading e-texts

Here's a lesson all good designers are familiar with: wide columns of text suck. Just try reading that top paragraph on W3C's homepage - it induces headache. Your eyes just weren't built for copy formatted that way. But once you narrow down your columns, you're left with the problem of scrolling; another straining activity. It subjects your eyes to choppy animation, and you have to find your place in the text after you scroll.

So, what's the solution when you have to read lots of text on the computer? E-book readers employ all sorts of fancy paging techniques to present text in book-like form (the form that has, over centuries, evolved a number of well calibrated features which make it "optimal"). But they have problems of their own (cost, having to buy e-books, often messy interfaces).

I made an attempt at solving at least some of these problems; I present to you Columno, a book-like web text reader. I've only just put together a stable release, so it comes with a few caveats:
  • It only works on Gecko 1.8 browsers (Firefox 1.5, Camino 1.0).
  • What do I read with it? Free e-texts from Project Gutenberg, for one.
  • Errors are possible, but most things should work.
It's a very limited application and probably not of much interest to the general public, but if you've been dying to read that e-text, knock yourself out. Columno will let you read it, leave a bookmark, come back, and continue where you stopped.

I'm looking forward to feedback!

There are 1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is truly fabulous work. I love it!

11:07 PM  

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