Word  Spacing  for  Humans

How  the  Asym  Effect  Works

the science of word spacing

Typed word-spacing is uniform and robotic


Handwritten word-spacing is variable and contextual


Uniform word-spacing is for robots.

Variable word spacing is for humans.

Read about the science or see examples.


eye movements


Asym formatting provides visual cues.

These visual cues help good readers read faster and understand more.

These cues also help poor readers have the same saccades as good readers.

there are differences between good readers and not-so-good readers

Saccades

There are differences between good readers and not-so-good readers. These differences come down to eye movement patterns called saccades. Good readers have eye movement patterns that make reading quicker and easier. Not-so-good readers have eye movement patterns that make reading slower and more difficult.

good readers tend to have longer eye movements, shorter pauses during reading, and backtrack less

Different readers = Different patterns

Good readers tend to have longer eye movements, shorter pauses during reading, and backtrack less. Not-so-good readers tend to have short eye movements that see very few words at a time, tend to pause longer when reading, and look back over text more often.

Asym’s unique approach to spacing words helps poor readers read text the same way good readers read text

Helpful visual cues (for everyone)

Asym’s formatting provides visual cues that help poor readers read text the same way good readers read text. Basically Asym chunks long strings of text into shorter chunks of meaning. This 'chunking' helps poor readers read better and helps good readers read faster and understand more.

using this approach improves reading speed, comprehension, and enjoyment by up to 40%

60 years of science

This technique of emphasizing units of meaning with visual cues has been studied and field-tested by scientists from many different fields for the past 60 years, and results have been published in dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles. These studies show that using this approach improves reading speed, comprehension, and enjoyment by up to 40%. In our own efficacy studies the early results are promising. We see 10-33% lifts in display ad click throughs and 10-15% lifts in web landing pages call-to-action with Asym spacing.

It is straightforward: the lower the effort, the better the perceived experience

cognitive what?


Asym makes text easier to understand. This is a good thing.

Cognitive Load

Changing the spaces between words breaks text into chunks of meaning. This makes text easier to understand. It's called reducing cognitive load, a proven way to increase the usability of a text.

Cognitive Fluency

The easier it is for people to understand something, the higher they rate the information and the more credible and more trustworthy it appears. It's called increasing cognitive fluency. We think its a good idea.

peer reviewed science


A 30.9% improvement in reading comprehension.

Graf, Richard, and Jane W. Torrey. "Perception of phrase structure in written language." American Psychological Association Convention Proceedings. 1966.

A 26.3% improvement in reading comprehension.

Mason, Jana M., and Janet Ross Kendall. "Facilitating Reading Comprehension through Text Structure Manipulation." Alberta Journal of Educational Research 25.2 (1979): 68-76.

A 40% improvement in reading comprehension.

Walker, S., Schloss, P., Fletcher, C. R., Vogel, C. A., & Walker, R. C. (2005). Visual-syntactic text formatting: A new method to enhance online reading. Reading Online, 8(6). Retrieved from http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=/articles/r_walker/

A 14.9% improvement in reading comprehension.

Negin, G. A. (1987). The effects of syntactic segmentation on reading comprehension of hearing impaired students. Reading Psychology: An International Quarterly, 8, 23–31.

A 31% increase in reading speed.

Magloire, J.G. (2002). Eye movements by good and poor readers during reading of regular and phrase-segmented texts. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

A 17.9% increase in reading speed.

Jandreau, S.J., Muncer, S.M., & Bever, T.G. (1986). Improving the readability of text with automatic phrase-sensitive formatting. British Journal of Educational Technology, 17, 128–133.

use the science


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Asym in Action


Move the blue slider side-to-side

Slide       to see before Asym formatting

Slide      to see after Asym formatting

Subtle and effective – without being disruptive

Maximum Asym Effect

Moderate Asym Effect

Sample 2

Consider using landscape mode


Maximum Asym Effect

Moderate Asym Effect

Sample 3

Consider using landscape mode


Maximum Asym Effect

Moderate Asym Effect

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