I stumbled upon a new method for an individual to acquire faster reading capabilities. Imagine tearing through a book in a matter of minutes!

From www.spritz.com

I find it really exciting to see new technologies that would provide better platforms for presenting information. This method, called Spritz, relies on a presentation method of focusing words of a sentence into a singular visual focus (called “Optimal Recognition Point”, a focused visual space) with a visual aid (called “redicle”, essentially a red-coloured letter) and displaying said-words at various speeds to train the individual’s level of textual processing.

According to the company, this methodology seeks to “empower effective reading on a small display area”. It really does make sense on display devices that are small in nature (e.g. smartwatches, dinky smartphones and so on) – in fact, the company proposes a whole tonne of applications in their FAQs.

Naturally, I would wonder if such a methodology can be adopted in a gallery/museum space. The artwork or object labels (and their extended versions) often present challenging layout issues for the curators and exhibition designers – the slab of words can be quite the distraction on the wall when viewed with the artworks or objects. Just imagine a tiny screen using this methodology to provide information on the artwork or object.

Argh~ Looks like my imagination struck a obstacle.

In my view, there are some problems with this methodology – focus control and adoption.

Focus control would refer to how there is a need to “focus” on the methodology’s Optimal Recognition Point (ORP). Due to the nature on how Spritz displays individual words from sentences and paragraphs into a singular visual space, there is a certain amount of focus or concentration needed. When viewing an artwork, object or even an animated projection, the individual will look at these items and maybe go back to the information – there will be a disparity in informational processing when going back and forth between the item and text. Additionally it can be frustrating when the individual cannot quickly revert to the last point of the textual information – when the individual views the traditional label, there is a residual reference point made in memory when the individual looks away (similar to visual heuristics).

In that aspect, applications for gallery/museum space is not ideal. Their proposed usage of the methodology for closed captioning on television broadcast can be similarly dismissed as well due to the visual disparity – I want to watch what is going on the television first than split my attention (if it is possible) on another focused area (the ORP). I do feel challenged when I am watching drama serials with captions, and that splits my attention from the acting and the closed captioning going on.

Adoption would refer to how individuals and galleries/museums can adopt this methodology. For individuals, it would require an individual to “train” the way he/she views textual information based on this new methodology. This will take a few minutes or longer, based on the individual. However, should an untrained individual enter a gallery/museum space with such a visual presentation method, the individual would find it difficult to master this reading methodology on the spot. There would be priorities for the gallery/museum-going individual, and being trained to use a new technology would not be one of them (this goes for many complicated technologies that are being implemented in galleries and museums today).

For the galleries/museums, it would require staff to train visitors/customers to learn this new method of textual processing. It does not make economic sense and it definitely ties up already-overburdened resources which can be better implemented for other more important purposes.

Therefore, at least in the context of galleries/museums, the Spritz methodology will find it challenging to gain a foothold in as it is compounded by the focus control requirement and adoption by individuals and galleries/museums.

That being said, the ability of Spritz to appear on small devices (especially smartwatches) is definitely a good idea given the physical limitations of such products.

Go Spritz! There is definitely a  focused space for you!