Tag Archives: saccades

Improved reading speed of electronic documents

A modified PDF reader that obviates the need for eye movements. Image: Mark Diamond

A modified PDF reader that obviates the need for eye movements. Image: Mark Diamond

There is evidence that reading speed is substantially increased if words are presented sequentially at a single location rather than in the usual manner of having them spatially separated as in printed text. The reason for the increase in speed is that the sequential presentation in a single location obviates the need for the reader to make saccadic eye-movements.

The invention relates to an electronic document or printed document which is scanned, imaged or interpreted by an electronic device. An example instantiation of the invention would be in an electronic book. The reader selects a portion of the text. That portion is then presented sequentially, one word at a time within a separate window. The presentation rate can be adjusted by the reader, perhaps by the use of a roller-wheel on a computer mouse. If the rate at which words are presented is appropriate, then reading should be possible at speeds substantially greater than if the text were scanned by a moving eye.

An additional feature might include selectively adjusting the duration for which some words are presented, or even the way in which they were presented. A word followed by a comma, full stop (period) or other punctuation mark might be shown for a slightly longer time than other words. Furthermore, there might be an increased or decreased delay (blank interval) between some pairs of words to maximize the ease of reading. If it were known that a particular word usually required two eye-fixations to read, then the word might be presented in two temporally separated segments.

Contributors: Mark R. Diamond