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Author Topic: Visual-syntactic text formatting - cool paper about optimally formatting text  (Read 4988 times)

mouser

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Quote
A new process, visual-syntactic text formatting (VSTF), transforms block-shaped text into cascading patterns that help readers identify grammatical structure. The new method integrates converging evidence from educational, visual, and cognitive research, and is made feasible through computer-executed algorithms and electronic displays. Among college readers, the VSTF method instantly increased reading comprehension and efficiency of reading online text, while reducing eyestrain. Among high school students, who read with the format over an entire academic year, the VSTF method increased both academic achievement and long-term reading proficiency by more than a full standard deviation over randomized controls.


See also: http://venturebeat.c...to-read-text-online/

Jimdoria

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When I see something like this, it makes me realize how superficially we have scratched the surface of the computer's potential. Deep changes are still waiting to be discovered.

Have you ever tried to read documents from the 17th century, with their arcane lettering, spelling, formatting and punctuation? Sometimes I think that's how our grandkids will view the books, newspapers and magazines we all grew up with.

Great find, Mouser. Thanks!  :Thmbsup:
- Jimdoria ~@>@

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who divide everybody into two kinds of people, and those who don't.

Ampa

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Wow - this looks cool. I hate most typography on the web atm. For a start the text IS too small, and usually spans a width far to broad for comfortable reading.

This new layout theory looks really interesting - I read the samples and was pretty much convinced straight away.

However the $98 price tag for a years subscription seems rather steep for something which at heart is pretty simple.

I also really liked Noutter's Speed Reader that was on the site last year... Wouldn't it be great to have a hybrid of the two...

  • Open a file, or copy text to clipboard
  • Text is parsed and laid out using VSTF algorithm
  • Based upon a speed setting (configured by the user) the page turns automatically

And some refinements...

  • Page length is intelligent - so sentences are not truncated. Looks ahead to see if you are near the end of the paragraph / document.
  • Configurable font and colours - preferably allowing a full-screen setup like DarkRoom

CWuestefeld

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Yeah, this looks cool. But most people can get a huge gain with one simple operation that their software already supports:

Don't maximize the window!

Maximized windows on a landscape-oriented monitor are bad, bad, bad for reading. It requires far too much effort to locate the beginning of the next row on the left when you finish on the right. And text in the middle of the line is harder to scan because there's so much around it.

mouser

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very interesting point cw.
it might be interesting to think about a plugin whose job it is to locate any columns/blocks of text that are too wide, and reduces the width of the text column.  this would still let you work full screen and on multicolumn layouts, but solve your issue.

Mark0

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Speaking of formatting text I know, from the old Fidonet times, of a person that always used to compose his messages in a pretty peculiar way. He set itself on the quest of always justify the text, without inserting additional spaces in it! The process was called by him "Sernification", a play on his surname.

An example (quoting from random message peeked with a quick search on Google Groups):


[...]
No. Che non dobbiamo inventarci COSE CHE NON SERVANO! Il neutrino, come
Plutone, esistettero come "entia" molto prima che qualcuno riuscisse ad
osservarli. Tornavano utili, NON CONTRADDICEVANO niente, e quindi li si
uso'. La particella zeta-zero fu INVENTATA per far tornare dei conti, e
questo prima che esistessero esperimenti capaci di individuarla.

Quando un cavo di rete non funziona in un punto, e in un altro si', non
vado a inventarmi i folletti o a riscrivere le equazioni di Maxwell: la
mia ipotesi minima e' di una interferenza, "Interferenza Sconosciuta Di
Tipo Elettromagnetico". Uso un cavo schermato e la cosa funziona.

Ma potrei essermi sbagliato. Magari e' la scheda di rete difettosa. Ora
possono succedere due cose:
(a) il guasto ricompare. Io ipotizzo che la Misteriosa Interferenza sia
    aumentata, aumento la schermatura, e non serve. Allora, installo un
    misuratore di campo, e vedo che la mia ipotesi e' sballata. Quindi,
    introduco un altro Ente, il Disturbo Da Posizione, ecc. ecc. ...

    Voi direte: ma se avessi cambiato subito la scheda di rete? Ah beh,
    avrei risolto alla prima. Se fossi stato paragnosta. Ma, per ognuna
    delle volte che la scheda e' rotta, venti volte il cavo e' scrauso.
    A quel punto vado di probabilita' (esperienza).
[...]

He could go on for pages and pages, and you always see a perfect right margin (quote asides)! :)

Bye!

mouser

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love it  :-*
life is made more interesting by these wonderful entities on the planet who embark on such challenges  :Thmbsup:

Josh

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Is anyone else reminded of gri in this?

Darwin

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Is anyone else reminded of gri in this?

Ha ha, I was thinking the same thing as I read Mark0's description!


edit by jgpaiva: fixing quote
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 06:20:17 AM by jgpaiva »