Web

Busy? Readism tells you how long it takes to read every web article

readism chrome extension keyboard stopwatch
Tashatuvango/123RF
Sometimes it’d be good to know, at a glance, how long it’s going to take to read an online article before diving in. If it’s a biggie, you might want to send it to your reading list for a more convenient time, while a piece comprising just a few paragraphs can be tackled there and then.

Well, now there’s a nifty little Chrome extension called Readism that claims to accurately estimate how many minutes an article will take to read, thereby giving you the chance to better manage your time and improve your productivity, at least in theory.

Readism is good to go in just a couple of clicks. Once installed, every time you land on a page of text a little pop-up appears at the bottom right of your browser with the estimated reading time. Settings allow you to stipulate the size of the pop-up and how long it stays on the screen.

A neat feature lets you right-click on a link and receive an estimate simply by selecting “get reading time” from the options, so you don’t have to waste time visiting the page if “eight minutes” sounds like five minutes too long.

Its website even lets you input a book title for an estimated reading time.

Readism “intelligently scans” a page of text, and estimates are based on the “average” reader, but for more exact data simply create an account and take a short reading test so Readism can accurately gauge your reading speed and offer more personalized timings.

Users of online publishing site Medium will already be familiar with reading-time data. Indeed, Readism even takes a swipe at the service, proclaiming on its download page, “Goodbye inaccurate Medium estimates, hello accuracy!”

Taking it for a spin, however, Readism’s estimates were clearly way off on a couple of occasions, suggesting its algorithms are sometimes pulling in surrounding text such as comments, if they’re showing. For the most part, though, it worked quickly and accurately, suggesting it could prove a useful tool for Web users looking to organize their time a little better, or who’d just like a quick notification of an article’s length.

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