Saturday, December 29, 2007

ZAP Reader--Cure for Eyestrain?

Here's a fascinating Web tool I found via The Stingy Scholar blog--Zap Reader:

ZAP Reader is a web based speed reading program that will change the way you read on your computer. Current beta testers report reading twice as much in half the time--that's a 300% increase in reading speed, without any loss in comprehension! There is nothing to install, it works with most popular browsers, and it's totally free!

You feed their Web tool an URL or paste a block of text in their window, and Zap feeds it back to you one large print word at a time. I haven't decided whether it'll be anything more than a novelty for me, but many Web fonts are too small (or strangely colored) for me to read, and this seems to have some eye-strain relief potential. You can adjust word speed to whatever is comfortable. I expect different types of content would probably require different reading speeds.


Rick Lee said...

That's very interesting. I've always been a slow reader for some reason. I tested my reading speed on a web tool I found once and I was even slower than I had imagined. I've assumed it's my "right brain" orientation or whatever it is that aids my visual creativity. I didn't seem to have any trouble keeping up with the fast presentation on Zap. I think I'll try this for a while to see if I can get more reading done.

However, if your problem is mainly the size of the fonts on the web you might consider just using Firefox. I have this problem a lot because I use a laptop with a 1920x1200 screen so the fonts are all small... and some are really, really tiny. Unlike some other browsers, Firefox allows you to enlarge any text just by hitting Ctl+. If I have a longish article I want to read and I feel the presentation is not comfortable for me, I'll change the type size to one that I like and then I'll change the width of my browser window so that the line length is a narrower column making the text easier to scan. The width trick doesn't work on all sites but it often does.

Rebecca Clayton said...

Rick, thankds for the advice--I too use Firefox, and I use those features often. Also, when the color scheme makes the text hard to read, I copy it into a simple text editor like gedit. If people wanted us to read their Web pages, I suppose they'd make them legible, eh?