The BBC is Experimenting With Speedreading on Phones and Smartwatches

By Tom Pritchard on at

The internet gives us all access to pretty much the entire sum of human knowledge, and lets us stay on top of things happening in the world like ever before. But there's only so much time in the day, and the amount of news that's being pumped out is seemingly without end. So, in a bid to make that easier for people, the BBC has been playing around with the concept of speedreading news on smartwatches.

Because of how much we end up reading throughout the day, mainly on smartphones and other digital devices, the BBC teamed up with Spritz to see how much of an impact speedreading could have on peoples' lives. The idea behind it is based on the fact that moving your eyes to read standard text can take up as much as 80 per cent of your reading time. So by using a speedreading method, which displays a single word at a time and has readers focusing on a single point, they can get through the information much faster than normal.

The average reading speed is around 200 words per minute, but with speedreading you could reach between 300 and 800 words per minute. The better news is that it only takes a few minutes to get used to, rather than ridiculous amounts of practising time. And because smart devices often involve smaller text than books or magazines, meaning speedreading a single word at a time has greater potential while we're out and about.

The BBC also points out that enlarging the words that appear on screen also has accessibility benefits for people with poorer vision.

This is just an internal experiment for the time being, but the BBC thinks there could be potential to rollout this type of content in the future - especially now eye-tracking is becoming more common. It also points out that it has greater potential for AR and VR experiences, since reading large blocks of text is a little less practical than with the devices we're using now.

If you want to try out some of the example videos for yourself, of varying speeds, you can do so on the BBC's speedreading blog.