Chris Hannah

Bionic Reading


Does Bionic Reading Work? #

Bionic Reading is a method to make text more readable, by making early letters in words bold, to catch the reader's attention (read more). It's supported in various apps and websites, and the place where I have used it mainly is in the RSS reader app, Reeder.

I've found Bionic Reading to make text clearer, and easier to read:

However, Daniel Doyon at Readwise, performed an experiment on over 2000 people, and they found that it wasn't as good as it seems:

Actually no, the results will probably not surprise you. After analyzing data from 2,074 testers, we found no evidence that Bionic Reading has any positive effect on reading speed. In fact, participants read 2.6 words per minute slower on average with Bionic Reading than without. That said, the difference here is so small (less than 1%), that the real takeaway is Bionic Reading has no impact on reading speed.

I don't want to start gaslighting myself, but maybe it's not as effective as I thought it was? Alternatively, it might be more effective in certain conditions. Such as being tired, or when you're finding it hard to focus on something.

Either way, if I'm reading something in Reeder and it feels as if my eyes are getting a bit tired, I'm still going to stick Bionic Reader on.