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Now that things like Readability and Instapaper are dissolving all the bells and whistles off of every other kind of content, as Dylan Tweney points out, it's worth asking whether or not what we've come to accept as good Web design accomplishes anything genuinely useful for a website's best customers -- the ones who obsessively check it throughout the day, the ones who read every word of an article, the ones who are most engaged with a site's content.

It could be a backlash against intrusive advertisements (think of the rise of ad blockers) and, just as importantly, the internal promotional widgets that function just like advertisements. It could also be that text, or language - unlike more visual media - must in the end be processed sequentially. Getting a user to move through a sequence of items in a particular order can be accomplished by scattering those items across a page and then catching the user's eye, but also simply by putting them in the order the content creator intends.
 
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