I have been waiting for this trend to catch on for a long, long time. After more than a decade we are only now beginning to shed the vulgarities and visual clutter of the BLINK tag, Flash, animated GIFs, ActiveX, embedded (and auto playing) sound files and Java Applets to start focusing on actually conveying information in a clean and readable way.
The ability to read uncluttered web pages is going mainstream.
I made the point recently that technical people can avoid, or at least cut down on, ads, sharing buttons, and clutter when reading web pages — they have RSS readers, Instapaper, Readability, Safari’s Reader button, AdBlock, Flipboard, Zite, and so on.
Not all of these technologies were made with the goal of uncluttering web pages, but they have that effect. No app built for reading starts with the premise that the publisher has done an acceptable job.
That premise is, unfortunately, generally correct, and those apps and technologies are becoming more and more popular, particularly with the rise of iPad as a great reading device. (But this isn’t only about iPads, or even mobile.)
Publications shouldn’t ignore this trend.
This trend means that their medley-of-madness designs will increasingly be routed-around, starting with presumably their most-favored readers, the more affluent and technical, but extending to the less-affluent and less-technical until it includes just about everybody.
The future is, one way or another, readable.