Spritz doesn’t strive to fix speed reading’s flaws, but to transcend reading entirely.
If you’re a person who reads, you may have read about Spritz, a startup that hopes to “reimagine” reading. Like most tech startups, reimagining entails making more efficient. Spritz promises to speed up reading by flashing individual words in a fixed position on a digital display. Readers can alter the speed of presentation, ratcheting it up to 600 words per minute (about three times the speed the average reader scans traditional text).
This method, called rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), isn’t new, but Spritz has added an “Optimal Recognition Point” or ORP to this display technique. They claim it helps readers recognize each word most effectively by focusing their attention on a red letter representing its optimal point of recognition. Public response to the technology has been tremendous. According to Spritz, over 10,000 developers have already signed up to develop “Spritzified” products.
Does Spritz work? Well, it depends on what you mean by “work.” As Olga Khazan wrote here at The Atlantic, speed reading has long been accused of sacrificing comprehension for convenience. University of South Carolina cognitive psychologist John M. Henderson further explains that Spritz’s ORP doesn’t improve matters: