Designer’s ‘Bionic Reading’ Tool To Prompt Your Brain To Read Faster Goes Viral
By Mikelle Leow, 20 May 2022
Image via Bionic Reading
The internet might be an essential resource for information, but it also overloads people with it. What if there were a way to digest news quicker without being overburdened with text?
Swiss typographic designer Renato Casutt has developed a technique for that, by sheer accident. It’s called ‘Bionic Reading’, which involves the first few letters of words being “artificially emphasized” and allowing your brain to fill in the rest of the word.
Bolding the starting letters of a word creates “artificial fixation points,” taking out some of the strain from the eyes and enhancing understanding. This means you’ll be able to grasp the meaning of texts with lower effort.
Image via Bionic Reading
The technique is similar to something done here at DesignTAXI, where paragraphs begin with highlighted words to aid reading.
Developing a reading method wasn’t in Casutt’s plans at all. When designing a book for an author in a foreign language, Casutt struggled to read its words but found that he could partially understand them when the words were verbalized.
Along the way, he learned that he could relate those words with his own language by sectioning them off. After his classmates tested this theory, they agreed it helped with their reading.
A tweet bringing this idea to light has since been retweeted 15,300 times, showing just how much we all need a good, accessible app.
“Just imagine an e-reader with this technology. I’d finally be able to finish a book!” shares UX writer Juan Buis on Twitter.
Aside from speeding up reading and comprehension, the Bionic Reading tool can be tailored to accommodate the preferences of each reader. Users can opt to increase or decrease the number of letters highlighted, how often those artificial fixations appear, and the opacity of the bolded letters. There are also options to replace the font, as well as adjust the font size, line height, spacing, and column width.
“Everyone is different. The Bionic Reading reading mode can be individually adapted to the needs of all readers. This flexibility allows Bionic Reading to provide maximum customization for all users,” says the website.
The tool’s API is available for designers and developers to incorporate Bionic Reading into their apps.
“Being dyslexic, this really helps me [read] a lot faster than I normally do,” says one user named Jennifer, who got to experience Bionic Reading via the Reeder RSS reader app. “Keep up the great work and hope to see you on Safari soon.”
just imagine an e-reader with this technology. i'd finally be able to finish a book! pic.twitter.com/nJR9Z8iDLH— juan (@juanbuis) May 18, 2022
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