the world of jen keidleir

{May 13, 2007}   Seeing the World in Waka

Over in Minnesota, the people at Walker Reading Technologies have decided that just because they never learnt how to spead-read, they shall produce research to change the way the world writes.

From Slashdot:

“Live Ink offers better way to read text online” (VentureBeat, 05.10.07)

Did you know our primitive brains weren’t wired very well to read this paragraph?

Scientific research conducted by Walker Reading Technologies, a small Minnesota startup that has been studying our ability to read for the last ten years, has concluded that the natural field of focus for our eyes is circular, so our eyes view the printed page as if we’re peering through a straw.

And a very bad-behaving straw at that, because not only do our eyes feed our brain the words we’re reading, they’re also uploading characters and words from the two sentences above and below the line we’re reading.

Every time we read block text, we’re forcing our brain to a wage a constant subconscious battle with itself to filter and discard the superfluous inputs. This mental tug of war slows reading speed and diminishes comprehension.

One of the first things I learnt about designing web pages was that a good design minimises eye movement on the part of the viewer. Which of the two samples in the example above requires more eye movement to process the same amount of data? What do you think?

Perhaps the Live Ink team should have spent the time developing Live Ink on learning how to parse text more than one word at a time instead.


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