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Could this colorful browser extension make you a speed reader?

Like a lot of you readers out there, we here at DT spend a lot of time browsing articles online. There’s just so much good reading material scattered across the Web that we’re always on the lookout for ways to make all that information simpler, better, and more easy to consume. For this reason, we’re huge fans of apps like Instapaper and Readability that strip down the web to easily-digestible chunks of text – but now there’s a new tool that offers an even better solution, and that solution happens to be color.

Yeah, you read that right. There’s no technological wizardry going on here – just colored text. A recently launched browser extension called BeeLine Reader helps to improve reading speed on phones, tablets, and computers by applying a colorized gradient to each line of an article. This gradient is applied in such a way that the color on the end of one line matches up perfectly with the color at the beginning of the next, which helps reduce “line transition errors” like accidentally skipping a line or reading the same one twice. As your eyes sweep through a row of text, your brain naturally snaps them to the next line of the same color, effectively reducing mistakes and boosting efficiency.

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 11.41.36 AMAdmittedly, this color scheme makes chunks of text look absolutely hideous, but it’s hard to deny its effectiveness. BeeLine’s creator Nick Lum claims it can increase reading times by anywhere from 10 to 30 percent, and based on our own experience with it, that’s relatively accurate. Sure, that’s a pretty minimal speed increase, but it could definitely add up over time. 

We don’t expect this style of colorized text to overthrow plain-ol’ black and take over the Web, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see this feature built into tablets, ebook readers, and mobile phones, or even RSS readers and read-it-later apps. Beeline offers a timed reading challenge on its site that lets you put it to the test – try it out for yourself and see if you notice a difference.