There are quite a few uses of text-only browsers:
- Quickly check if links are visible and can be crawled (and which of them comes on top of the page)
- Use the tools to test the accessibility of your pages
- Use the tools for clutter-free browsing and reading (Text-only browsers eliminate all images, video, audio and anything that might be distracting to the average user)
- Use the tools as “SEO” browsers to see how crawlers may “see” and position the elements on the web pages.
Here are a few browsers or add-ons to make your experience a text-only one.
Usually, a screen reader has a very clean, basic look. This extension for Mozilla Firefox works by emulating that look and removing anything that might be a distraction or take away from the content presented. It formats it all in the most basic way you can, and I would say this one is more hardcore than most extensions that merely block images and media.
One of the coolest features of the tool is “Headings list” that extracts all h-headings from the page.
I like the “link list” feature as well! It extracts all the links from the page, so you can quickly skim through!
This is a full browser, rather than an extension. It is old, but compatible with most operating systems and the newer versions.
You can find the web version of Lynx here – Mind that with it you can only access “verified” site. It won’t let you crawl just any web page.
You have probably heard of Digital Inspiration, the beloved technology and design blog. This web app was developed by the site’s owner, and it is already used by many people who want a reliable text-only browsing program that doesn’t take up a whole lot of resources. This one is run conveniently through Google Scripts.
(Not available for FF 19.0 but it’s such an awesome tool that I am still including it here in hopes it will still be updated!)
This is a good alternative to the usual text-only fare. It formats web pages to look more clean and easy on the eyes, also stripping away harsh backgrounds or font colors that could cause strain or headaches.
This extension is a very simple one. You have a button that will create a text-only version for you to view instead, working on a page by page basis. So you can leave it off then turn it on whenever you need it. It isn’t anything special, but it is a decent basic extension you can add on if you just want something that serves a single function.
Know of any good text-only browsers? Let us know in the comments!