Small-screen reading: A big change for app developers?

smartphone_readingAt what speed do you read? In fact, time yourself and see how long it takes you to read this 600 word post. Ready….go!

According to a speed-reading test sponsored by Staples, the average adult reads at 300 words-per-minute. The average college student reads at 450 wpm, and the average college professor hits 675. So what if you could increase that speed to 1000 wpm and retain more information at the same time?  What could that do for your business and your life?

It’s no secret that we’re overloaded with information — smartphones, computers, tablets, and now even wearable technology are all designed for the constant streaming of information. Who has time for it all? Especially if you’re a slow reader?

Boston based start-up Spritz sees that the traditional way of reading may no longer be ideal for these modern products and accelerated times. The company is gaining some speed of its own to market a product that may revolutionize the way in which we read, and perhaps more importantly, the rate at which we retain it.

“Spritzing” as they call it, is designed for small screens (i.e. smartphones and tablets). The text streaming technology flashes one word at a time in a large and easy-to-read font, at a speed customizable by the user. It is easy to learn, taking users about 5 minutes to catch on. Practice a few times, and you’ll find yourself increasing your speed setting in no time. Spritzing is also like riding a bike — no practice is needed to return to your previous skill level.

This is not the first technology that uses “Rapid Serial Visual Presentation” (RSVP) but they have differentiated themselves by targeting the ORP, or “Optimal Recognition Point” of a word.

The ORP is the point where your eye goes in order to recognize a full word. Spritz found that when reading left to right, our eye spends 80% of our time looking for the ORP of a word and only 20% actually reading. They have designed the technology so that the ORP of each word is highlighted in red and remains in the same spot on the screen; no need for your eyes to waste time searching around.

What does this new technology mean for app developers? Here are a few things, in particular order:

  • The engine itself does not require much to process content streams, making it an easy solution for developers to incorporate this into their systems for more effective communication. The technology is already coming to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Samsung Gear 2.
  • This capability could give a nice boost to wearable technology. No more scrolling, swiping, zooming in and out in order read an article. Smartwatch and Google glass-type implementations are already on the radar.
  • Also, Spritz makes room for even more cutting edge technology. Ever wish someone could hold the book up for you as your reading in bed? Maybe words flashing on your ceiling might do the trick?

The ability to become a confident reader can benefit your life tremendously. Successful people don’t just ingest information, they devour it. Spritz claims that some of its testers are now reading comfortably at 1000 wpm, with no loss of information retention.

So tell me. How long did it take you to read this?

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