Text width

When reading something continuously, it is nice to have the text width of the page rather short, so that the reader’s eyes don’t have to travel too far to find the next line.

When scanning a page, looking for information, it is nice to have the text width wide so that more content fits on the page. This allows the eyes to scan more content looking for the spot to begin reading. Otherwise the reader has to scroll the page while also scanning with the eyes.

What if we allow the reader to freely toggle between the two? This is something that is now possible thanks to client-side scripting on the web. As an experiment, I have implemented a crude version of this idea. At the top of each page there is a menu item labeled “Change {text width, color, font, table}”; clicking on “text width” will toggle between an almost-full window width and a more compact width. Note that this requires JavaScript to be enabled for issarice.com. Persistence is achieved through cookies, which are only ever used for setting the theme. You can see the source code of the script.