Asymmetrica
  Labs

What  We  Do

our mission

we provide unobtrusive, large-scale reading improvement for web and print media

our focus is on combining reading science and data science to better understand how humans read

About us

Asymmetrica Labs was founded in 2014 in San Francisco within HVF (Hard Valuable Fun), Max Levchin’s company creation laboratory. Asymmetrica has created a text format that meaningfully improves reading comprehension. Our software platform, Asym, is a cognitive technology that precisely adjusts the spaces between words. Asym provides a 5-32% lift to the cornerstones of online revenue generation: retail revenue, conversion funnels, web engagement, advertisement CTRs, and direct mail. Asym improves how readers' brains render text and systematically makes your message and storytelling stick.

word spacing, if done correctly (i.e. in a more human way), can help poor readers become better readers

The big idea

Science shows that word spacing, if done correctly (i.e. in a more human way), can help poor readers become better readers and help good readers read quicker. We intend to turn this relatively unknown science into something universally accessible. Our goal is to improve global literacy by 10%.

The science works, this can be done.

we can measureably improve everyday tasks such as how people fill out job applications and read medication instructions

Why we do this

Asymmetrical word spacing can make text content easier to read, faster to read, and more engaging. We can measureably improve everyday tasks such as how people fill out job applications and read medication instructions.

When people are empowered to fill out a difficult application or read complicated medical instructions, there are ripple effects that effect change. At Asymmetrica, although we can't measure these ripple effects, they are at the heart of everything we do.

Asym's formatting technology is extremely flexible, with multiple comprehensive data models and live adjustment factors that support any content

Our technology

From the ground up, we have focused on building the most effective, flexible, and deliverable technology available. Every factor of the reading experience – the type of content we read, how we read, and even the specific person who's reading – is part of our language models.We focus specifically on both content creators and consumers, creating a constant-feedback, results-based approach that adjusts our technology to you. We only benefit if you do.Asym's formatting technology is extremely flexible, with multiple comprehensive data models and live adjustment factors that support any content. Our fast, highly reliable APIs support seamless processing for all text, creating more readable and engaging content. No special reader application or SDK is required.

who we are


Chris Nicholas

Science

Cofounder & President. Chris has a PhD in neuroscience and is a published author on word and letter perception. Previously, he managed production, QA, IP, and R&D as CTO of ReadSmart (LTI). He is a co-inventor of several patents on fixed-layout ebooks and other typesetting technology.


Ken Brownfield

Engineering

Cofounder & CTO. Ken has 20+ years of experience building collaborative and effective teams across engineering, operations, product, and R&D for startups and enterprise. He previously designed & implemented infrastructure at PayPal, eBay, Slide, Google, & YouTube.


Edward Wilson

Communications

Edward has a joint degree in cognitive psychology & science with a host of postgrad certs in education & technical communication. A plain language advocate and attention economy native, he is committed to making information easier to read on the web.

advisors


HVF Labs

Hard Valuable Fun

Hard Valuable Fun is part (mad) science lab, part seed fund. They make seed and early-stage investments, work with founding teams, and create companies. The lab investigates new concepts, prototypes ideas, and works with industry and technology leaders. HVF founders-in-waiting have spun out companies such as Affirm and Glow.


Kath Straub, PhD.

Usability

Kath Straub leads Usability.org, a user-experience design firm that provides interactive design, plain language research, and training to government and private industry organizations around the world. Her work helps clients communicate effectively and interact persuasively.

need to know more?


for people

Does Asym store my content or browsing history?

No. We only store basic server usage data and statistics on the language of what you read. We want to improve our models, but the actual content of what you read is your business, not ours.

What browsers do you support?

For content providers, Asym spacing on any website will work with all modern browsers. For consumers, we offer Asym spacing via extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, with upcoming support for Microsoft Edge.

Will Asym make my browser load pages slower?

No, Asym is applied asynchronously while your browser is loading the webpage. Once your browser completes loading the page, you may see the text reflow with the Asym spacing as the spaces are “snapped” into place after the text is rendered. This change is just a sign that Asym spaces are there helping you to read better and doesn’t slow your browser down. 

Will Asym work with printed documents?

Yes. If you're interested in Asym for print, please contact us. 

Why do I need to create an account for the Asym extension?

We use this "account" to authenticate you with our API servers, and to prevent abuse. This also allows us to provide custom reading improvements for each user.


for companies

Do I need to know HTML to have Asym on my website?

Not at all. To get Asym on your website, you either download example code to access our APIs, install our website widget, or we can process your webpages for you. Feel free to contact us and we’ll help you out!Will this make my website load slower?No, pages will load and render just as fast as without Asym spacing. Your HTML files may be slightly larger with negligible effects on download times.Do you change or rewrite our content?No. Asym makes only micro-typographic changes to the spacing between words. Asym never changes the wording, grammar, or punctuation, and won’t change the layout or design of your website or document. 

Will this make my website load slower?

No, pages will load and render just as fast as without Asym spacing. Your HTML files may be slightly larger with negligible effects on download times. 

Do you change or rewrite our content?

No. Asym makes only micro-typographic changes to the spacing between words. Asym never changes the wording, grammar, or punctuation, and won’t change the layout or design of your website or document.