My in-laws are visiting us, and my father-in-law is a dedicated newspaper reader, so I was prompted me to take out a subscription to The Guardian, Prince Edward Island’s newspaper of record, for the next while.
There’s no way to subscribe only to the printed newspaper: the standard $17.50/month subscription includes daily home delivery of the print newspaper along with the “e-edition” and all-you-can-eat access to the otherwise-metered website. Oddly, the price for this without the printed newspaper is exactly the same. Which doesn’t bode well for print, as it suggests that the print newspaper is deemed to be worth $0.
The first copy of the newspaper arrived this morning (impressive, given that I purchased my subscription only yesterday) and included an excellent cover story on government expenses reported by Teresa Wright and Ryan Ross. It was a good issue to start a subscription with.
Meanwhile, I decided to use my newly-unlocked access to the entire Guardian website as an opportunity to try and make it less confusing to read (I found, to my surprise, that unlocking the website with a subscription doesn’t make any of the ads, offers and extraneous elements go away).
Hence this Greasemonkey user script:
// ==UserScript== // @name cleanup-pei-guardian // @namespace firstname.lastname@example.org // @include http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/* // @description Hides the annoying parts of The Guardian website. // @version 1 // @require http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.0/jquery.min.js // @grant GM_addStyle // ==/UserScript== $('#scpc_top_banner').hide(); $('.ad-wrapper').hide(); $('#user-elements').hide(); $('#featured').hide(); $('.promospace').hide(); $('.featured-box').hide(); $('aside').hide(); $('footer').hide(); $('.slider-box').hide(); $('footer').hide();
This script, once installed in Greasemoney, has the effect of turning this:
The effect is dramatic, and reading the altered version makes me feel like I can breathe again. And it makes me feel like I’d actually like to spend some time exploring the website.
I realize the irony of this experiment, as the bulk of my living derives, directly or indirectly, from web advertising revenue that appears in ways that are often as jarring as on The Guardian. The difference, though, is that I’m paying The Guardian $17.50 and the least they could do is make the experience of reading the website slightly less annoying.
It’s worth remembering that The Guardian has more than 100 years of a history of using design non-annoyingly; witness the front page of the print newspaper from today’s date in 1939:
It is a thing of beauty.