18 Mar Speed Up Your Reading With Spritz
Anyone who has experienced a desk with an overflowing in-tray and a full inbox knows the frustration of not being able to read at lightning speed.
Well if you’ve ever wished you could read that 300 page report without needing to burn the midnight oil, we’d like to let you know – there’s an app for that.
It’s called Spritz and it’s a flash reader.
Flash readers use Rapid Serial Visual Presentation, a type of technology that has been around since the 1970s.
So flash readers aren’t exactly revolutionary.
However, the new kid on the block, Spritz, boasts a number of clever innovations that promise to change the way we read.
How Do Humans Read?
To understand how the app works, first we have to understand the process involved in reading.
We read by moving our eyes across each line of text focusing on each word in turn and searching for the optimal recognition point or ORP.
This traditional method devotes 80 per cent of our energy and time to scanning the text and only 20 per cent of energy and time comprehending the information.
On average, humans can read 220 words per minute if reading traditionally.
Flash readers, like Spritz, present each word individually on the screen one after the other i.e. Rapid Serial Visual Presentation or RSVP. RSVP works a little bit like a flip book, as images or in this case words are flashed at a constant speed in the same spot on the screen.
This ‘flash’ method stops you from scanning your eyes across a page, theoretically freeing up the 80 per cent of time and energy spent scanning.
How Does Spritz Set Itself Apart?
As mentioned before, flash readers aren’t all that new, so why is Spritz any different?
Well, Spritz presents each word within a narrow window, helping the eye to focus. The human eye can focus on a maximum of 13 characters at one time and the window is designed not to show the eye anything longer than this.
The app also helps speed up the comprehension process. Before our brains can comprehend a word, our eyes search for the ORP. Spritz highlights the ORP in red helping the eye and brain move straight to the comprehension phase of reading.
Spritz claims that these clever design features can allow users to read at speeds of up to a thousand words per minute.
To put that in perspective, at a thousand words a minute you could read Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in less time than it takes to watch the movie. Or you could get through The Great Gatsby within your break and still have time to buy lunch. Now that is pretty cool.
How Will Spritz Help You?
The benefits of Spritz will most likely be felt by the busy professional.
For those with an inbox that is constantly piling up, Spritz can help you get through all of your emails within mere minutes. Realising the potential for Spritz to help achieve the fabled ‘zero inbox’, Samsung will be including this technology in their new Galaxy S5 device set to be available in April.
Greg Tyndall, head of speed reading at corporate training company GA Training, believes that Spritz could also be useful for those needing to skim lengthy documents.
“I think it could be incredible for people who need to speed-read documents quickly,”he said.
However, while most time poor individuals would view a tool that increases reading speed as invaluable, there is a down side to using Flash Readers.
Michael Masson, a psychologist at the University of Victoria has studied Rapid Serial Visual Presentation or RSVP and believes it can inhibit comprehension.
“If played at very high speeds, around 300 to 500 wpm, this is going to produce problems in comprehension,” he said.
“The difficulty is it’s not just the rate at which we see words, but it also takes time for us to comprehend what those words mean once we start putting them together.”
Spritz might seem to be an enticing option for the time poor individual who never seems to have enough time to read for pleasure. However it can come at the cost of actually understanding what you’re reading.
So while speed reading apps might help you tackle the whole Game Of Thrones series in a weekend, it’s hard to be completely immersed in a story that speeds by at a thousand words a minute. You’ll probably miss out on the best part of reading.
How Can You Get Your Hands On It?
Spritz is not yet available and no official launch date has been confirmed. All that is known at this stage is that Spritz will debut on Samsung’s new flagship phone the Galaxy S5 and its new smartwatch the Gear 2.