If you operate a content heavy website and want an easy way to give readers an option to read content without distractions, now you can with the WP Couch Mode plugin. Developed by Ritesh Vatwani, WP Couch Mode adds a customizable link to content. When clicked, a lightbox appears displaying only the content of the post. Within the lightbox, you can increase the font size, make it full-screen, or print the article.
The plugin provides options to add the link before or after the content. You can edit the display text of the link and there’s a shortcode available if you need more control. Here’s what it looks like on the desktop view.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that the images are large. When viewed on a desktop, the images are displayed at full size. On a mobile device, the images are smaller to account for screen size. Something that will need to be addressed in the next version is the poor handling of featured images. For some reason, WP Couch Mode takes a very small version of a featured image and blows it up. This causes featured images to look terrible on mobile devices. I think it would be better to not show the featured image and instead, only show images attached to the post.
When I accessed Couch Mode on my iPhone 5s in portrait mode, the X in the top right corner is cut off making it difficult to close the window. In order to access the close button, I put my phone into landscape mode. Alternatively, if enabled, I can tap the button to shrink/expand the lightbox as a work around. This is what the content looks like on my phone.
I doubt this plugin will be installed and used on sites that make a living through display advertisements. It’s like providing readers an ad-blocker tailored to the site. Overall, the plugin works as advertised. The lightbox needs some work but other than that, it gets rid of all the distractions.