Our eyes like guidance—one reason why so many people prefer ragged right over justified text. They can more easily go from line to line.
Now, what if a “color gradient” could “guide your eyes from the end of one line to the beginning of the next”? That’s the thinking behind Beeline Reader, which comes in both a free and a $10-a-year version. Low-income schools can buy five copies for $30 annually. There are other pricing options as well.
The software is said to be “helpful for readers of all levels—from young readers to graduate students and beyond. Readers with dyslexia, ADD, and vision difficulties reap some of the largest benefits from BeeLine Reader, with speed increases that can top 50%.” Here’s a page where you can see if Beeline might work for you. An instructional video exists.
I tried the Chrome version on a Kindle Cloud book. Yes, this works on a variety of platforms and many Web pages (not TeleRead’s, alas, as far as I know), and there’s also a PDF alternative. Gmail and BeeLine get along great. BeeLine says it can also work on OverDrive library books.
My verdict? I’m not certain. But I need to spend more time and adjust my monitor. The word from Beeline founder-CEO Nick Lum is that as you become accustomed to the product, the colors won’t be so distracting. He also says you may find yourself reading faster than you believe you are. True? What do you yourself think?
Suggestion for BeeLine: Why not a version that can give me the same all-text boldface and other choices I enjoy in the readability mode of my Safari browser on my iPad? The coloring, of course, could be optional.
Discovery: BeeLine works fine with High Contrast, a contrast-enhancer for Chrome.
(Via the Kindle Chronicles, which interviewed Nick Lum. Also see a FastCompany writeup.)