About a month ago, I decided to give the BeeLine Reader plugin a try. It’s
supposed to make reading go more quickly by adding a variety of color gradients to text and changing the view format of some web pages.
The idea behind the colors is that changing hues draw the eye along more smoothly, and make it easier to keep your place. Being the slow reader that I am, and having the text intensive job I do, I thought I’d see what if it helped me.
One feature I really like about this plugin is how I can reformat hard to read pages, just by clicking on the little icon on the upper right corner of my browser. I’ll use this blog as an example.
Here’s what it usually looks like on my screen:
And here’s what it looks like with the BeeLine Reader:
I chose the darker color gradient, but there are several other options available. I haven’t come to rely on this feature, but it is very helpful when I come across web pages with thin, narrow fonts or bad formatting.
You can also customize your background color, which I haven’t bothered to do yet, and use the Open Dyslexic font. Personally, I don’t care for Open Dyslexic, but it helps some people.
Since it’s designed for single pages, it can’t always render entire websites, but I have to admit, it has helped when I have to read large blocks of text.
This plugin can be set to automatically work with both Facebook and Tumblr. If the color gradient helps you a lot, this is a great idea, but I’m a little on the apathetic about how well it works for me.
Longer Facebook posts usually look like this:
|From the Humans of New York Facebook page. Totally worth checking out, by the way. One day, I’ll pick up on of the books.|
However, there is a bug, at least in Firefox, where when you click on “read more” the text that shows up is one color, instead of the gradient. This one is more than likely being worked on.
|Again, from Humans of New York.|
As for tumblr, here’s what text posts look like:
|Original post here.|
I haven’t found any kind of bugs from tumblr.
Outside of changing the formatting for text intensive pages, I haven’t noticed any sort of increase in my reading page.
The web page does offer a quiz to see if you would read more quickly with the plug in, though. I scored 8% faster with gradient in place, but that’s so small that it probably wouldn’t make much difference in time spent reading, anyway.
Again, I have come across people who absolutely love this plugin, but it hasn’t made a massive difference for me. I can, however, see how it can be helpful.
That said, I will keep it on hand for those web pages that are poorly formatted, because it does help me decipher those more easily.
Since it’s free, and works with many different browsers, I’d say it is worth a try.