How much do you read in a day? Is there a backed-up queue of articles, documents and stories that you'd tackle if you had more time -- or if you could read more quickly? ReadQuick, a US$4.99 iOS app produced by the husband and wife / TV journalist team of Clayton and Natali Morris and programmed by Pablo Quinterros, aims to up your reading speed gracefully. The new version adds iPhone support, a longstanding request from fans.
The original version of ReadQuick, launched last year to generally solid reviews, was only available on the iPad. It features an accessible, sleek interface (if you like Instapaper, one of ReadQuick's content sources, you'll like the Wondersauce-designed RQ look) and the ability to adjust reading speed from the default 250 words per minute down to a plodding 100 WPM or up to a blazing 800 WPM.
The app delivers stories from Pocket, Instapaper or a collection of featured specialist, news and tech sites in a very specific way: one - word - at - a - time. You get a preview of how long reading the story will take, helping to optimize your reading time. There's also a "timed playlist" feature, checking how long your full set of stories will take to read, and a statistics page with your reading performance.
This chunked content delivery -- an implementation of Rapid Serial Visual Presentation, or RSVP -- has shown promise in some research contexts for improving reading speed without a proportional drop in comprehension. For me personally, RQ is a great way to enforce focus and attention on what I'm reading; if I look away, daydream or get distracted, I'm going to miss something. Aside from feeling like you can only blink one eye at a time, it's actually quite immersive. The iPhone version is just as effective as the iPad; in fact, the smaller screen makes the single-word UI seem more appropriate.
ReadQuick is a solid combination of brain training and handy story aggregation. For the cost of a grande latte, you can try to widen your personal information bandwidth, and who couldn't use an upgrade?