New content blocker Unobstruct declares war on ‘dickbars’

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Unobstruct content blocker

Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Sick of those annoying bars that follow you around certain websites, urging you to share a story on Facebook? A new iOS app called Unobstruct lets you banish those “dickbars” forever.

The creator of the $1 app says he hopes it sends a clear message to web designers: Nobody wants these weapons of messy distraction.

In a post describing his new iOS app, developer Troy Gaul says Unobstruct “helps you read web pages unobstructed. It includes a Safari Content Blocker that removes some persistent bars from certain web pages (like Medium, The Verge, Vox, CNN, and several others) and an Action Extension for Safari that removes any remaining floating content from a web page on demand.”

Like other content blockers (which Apple unleashed in iOS 9), Unobstruct gives users the ability to strip unwanted bits from mobile sites.

While content blockers like Purify nuke advertisements from websites, Unobstruct eliminates pesky buttons and bars that typically encourage social sharing. Known as dickbars, these floating design elements eat up an inordinate amount of space on mobile devices’ small screens.

Unobstruct stops dickbars from loading on certain high-profile websites. However, it can also take out potentially useful elements — like persistent site navigation bars, for instance. Thus, users can easily reload a given without Unobstruct running. (This will disable any ad blocker currently running on that page, Gaul notes.)

The app, released Wednesday, drew a rave review from Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, a staunch proponent of clean web design who apparently coined the term dickbar back in 2011.

“So good, so simple,” Gruber wrote, praising Unobstruct. “This is the best dollar you’ll spend this month. Just $1 and poof, dozens and dozens of dickbars will just disappear from your reading experience.”

Unobstruct kills (some) dickbars dead

While Unobstruct blocks only dickbars that Gaul identified, he’s taking requests and plans to add other websites to the app’s blacklist.

“If you notice any popular websites with persistent bottom bars that aren’t automatically blocked by Unobstruct’s content blocker, by all means report them (there’s an item in the Unobstruct settings to send in an email) and I’ll look into adding more sites in future updates,” he wrote.

Ultimately, Gaul says he’s trying to send a message about good website design.

“Hopefully web site creators get the hint and stop adding such overlays to their web pages,” he wrote.

Price: 99 cents

Download: Unobstruct from the App Store

Via: Daring Fireball