No, not an early April Fool’s joke, but a real possibility according to the guys behind Spritz – a new reading initiative taking the internet by storm.
When you ‘spritz’, words are streamed onto a small area rather than all being displayed at once on a page. (Try it by clicking the button in the top right on their website.) The argument is that around 80% of traditional reading time is spent moving your eyes from word to word – so if they remove that bit for you, you can read significantly faster, and even retain more information. And of course, it forces concentration, much like watching a film with subtitles. Most excitingly for the competitive among us, you can ramp up your speed as you go. The company reckons that most users settle at around twice their ‘traditional’ reading speed.
It’s well understood that the way people access information has changed out of all recognition in the last couple of decades. But could spritzing herald a further revolution? If it were to take off widely, the potential application is clearly huge. Just imagine the implications for the legal profession, or politicians – not to mention teachers and students – of being able to process information twice as fast as now.
In PR terms, it could prompt a move back to longer-form content, after years of time constraints and the challenges of reading long articles on screen driving the opposite trend. It could also become yet another nail in the coffin of the print media. The challenge that naturally springs to mind will be whether these faster speeds can be reasonably maintained when it comes to complex texts – and whether readers will hit pause to take the time to reflect as they read, or whether they’ll come to the end of a lengthy document without really knowing what they think.
But from a PR perspective, we’d love some of our clients to be able to put it to the test when MiFID II’s Level 2 text is released, so we can be the first to the media with our comments! So how fast did you read this 383 words?