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Every writer's nightmare: the wordless Web

May 9, 2012 |  4:38 pm


Just imagine if you could go on the World Wide Web and see no words. No words at all.

You can.

Designer Ji Lee and programmer Cory Forsyth have created a browser plug-in that erases all text from Web pages. It's called the Wordless Web.

To make it work, drag the icon into your bookmark bar. When on a Web page, click it and all the text disappears. It doesn't erase text that has been saved as an image, like some text-based logos, but all the html text goes away.

We tried it on Jacket Copy, and there was beloved children's book author Maurice Sendak without the news that he died Tuesday at the age of 83. Which, come to think of it, is sort of nice.

“Looking at sites without words makes the entire experience on the Web a little calmer, as if all the noise is gone,” Lee told Wired.

Using the Wordless Web is a reminder of how text-driven the entire Internet is. There are exceptions, I'm sure, brilliantly-designed image-oriented websites. But even things like Pinterest and Tumblr -- look at them with the words stripped out. They're pretty, but what do they mean?

If the Wordless Web is every writer's nightmare, we can't be angry at Ji Lee. The former creative director at Google Creative Labs has also tried to generate words in places where there were none, by pasting 50,000 blank word-bubble stickers on advertisements in New York.


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Photo: Screenshot of Jacket Copy after getting the Wordless Web treatment