Safari 5: What Bloggers Needs to Know About the Beauty and Bugs of the New Safari Reader

Safari 5 launched June 2010. You may wonder why you should be concerned with Safari. Maybe you’re a PC user dedicated to Internet Explorer or a cutting edge Google user who surfs with Chrome. You may even be a Mac user who prefers to prefers Firefox. Regardless of your own preference, if you blog, you need to know what your blog visitors will experience when using the new Safari Reader.

Safari Background
First, a little background information on the the Safari browser. Safari is loaded up and delivered to consumers on all new Mac personal computers (Safari is different on iPhones and iPads). Statistics for this browser’s usage have held at about 4% through 2009 and into 2010. I’m not one to make big predictions, but my bet is Safari use will have minimal growth on both PCs and Macs as users discover this new Reader for web text. And users may be put off when issues arise for both reading and subscribing to blogs.

How the Safari Reader Works
The Reader button is located in the browser box at top of a page. Stop and take a deep breath before clicking. It’s not a bomb that will sabotage your network, but a one-click move to reading blogs like you’ve never seen them before on a sleek and simple page that honors the text. It’s pure. It’s beautiful. The Reader pops the text right off the blog page and into an easy to read window that makes the words large and easier to read. It will probably vex web designers as sidebars are left in the background.

The New Reader is Quirky for Reading Blogs
I’ve tested the new Safari Reader to view not only websites, but also blogs, blogs, and self-hosted blogs that use the software. There is one quirky thing for blog views, let’s call it a bug. For some blogs, (and there seems to be no rhyme or reason) the Reader will display not only the current blog post but also several past posts. WordPress users may conclude that this issue is due to the RSS Feed “Reading” configuration in Settings. Not so. I found this bug on one blog I manage and also noted that the WordPress Reading configuration was set to display one post in the feed. Displaying multiple blog posts wouldn’t be too bad if the blogger selected that feed option and if the Safari Reader didn’t also drop the title and Permalinks for the additional posts!

I feel cheated that once subscribed to a blog there’s no going back to the Reader and the beautiful text presentation. Subscribing in the Safari Reader “bookmarks” the RSS feed. All the post titles in the feed are links back to the original article on the blog. However, you’ll find that the fabulous Reader button that leads to the sleek view is no longer available in the browser field.

Ads to the Background
Blog marketers will also be unhappy with the Reader. While the visitor may rejoice being able to read blogs without sidebars, anyone who runs ads for their own products, Google AdSense ads, or other advertising widgets in the sidebar of their blog will feel disappointed. Their advertising will get less exposure, relegated to the background as the Reader takes over the foreground.

Watch the Sharing
Sharing icons and widgets, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Digg, that are at the heart of your blog also move to the background. For the dedicated blogger who wants to reach as many visitors/readers as possibly, even the small percentage that use Safari, you may consider adding textual links at the end of blog posts to direct users to your favorite sharing sites.

The Safari Reader is a tool to read web pages and blogs on a clean page with enhanced text. However, bloggers need to be prepared for the how it will change their visitor’s experience with their site ads, sharing, and RSS feed display.

Vanessa Wood

I'm Vanessa Wood. I was an early adopter of WordPress and continue to build beautiful WordPress websites in CT. I'm working directly with clients and through marketing agencies to create new highly customized, business WordPress websites. I knit while I'm on hold and listen to punk rock.

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