I’ve always been a fast reader, so any technology that claims it can improve reading speed by as much as 2-4x is something that perks my interest. I came across an interesting startup, Spritz, which does exactly that- it claims it can speed up reading to as much as 500 WPM. Considering the average reading speed is in the 120-180 WPM range, this is a big deal.
The “technology” is actually quite simple- it simply condenses whatever you’re reading down into a single, small box that shows one word at a time. It also centers every word on what they call the “Optimal Recognition Point” (ORP)- this is the point in every word that your brain will start to process the meaning of the word. The combination of the two allows you to focus your efforts on simply processing the text, instead of having to move your eyes along the string of text and finding each new ORP in the next word.
You can test the effects of their technology on their site- all of their articles can be converted to the Spritz format by clicking the “click to spritz” button on each page. At 500 WPM, you can blow through their entire “The Science” page in a minute thirty-five seconds! Even better, it requires no page scrolling and noticeably reduces eye strain as you are just staring at the small box the whole time.
If you want to try it outside of the Spritz site, there are a couple browser addons that enable you to convert web text to the single-word format. They do not center words around the ORP for you, but they will collapse all of the text into one-word chunks for you. On Chrome, Spreed provides this service; Firefox users can use Reasy for the same effect. The next time you’re studying for your AdWords exam or reading a SearchEngineWatch article, give one of these addons a try and see if it improves your WPM!