One of the most exciting aspects of online education is how the environment, with its quickly evolving technologies, is making content easier to consume. Some of these developments are more exciting than others, and many are more well-intentioned than they are actually helpful, but I thought I would take the opportunity to show you one that I’ve heard a little bit about and, having tried, I found to be quite impressive.
Beeline is a browser-based extension that automatically applies a color spectrum to online text to make it easier to read. The shifting colors (editable colors, by the way) guide the eye from one line to the next, and—according to the group behind Beeline—actually allow people to read faster. I’m not sure about that argument, though perhaps the increase in speed comes from decreasing the frequency of people losing their place, which I actually believe. Beeline is built using Readability (Readability is no longer around, but an Alternative, Mercury Reader, is highly recommended), but here is a, an open source framework that I’ve admired for years and that I already use in other extensions (such as Pocket Reader or Evernote) to cut out ads and isolate the meat of whatever article I’m trying to focus on.
What I find most compelling about Beeline is its claim that it makes text more accessible to persons who have reading-related challenges, such as dyslexia. In addition to guiding you with color, Beeline has a function (that can be toggled on or off) that will switch the font of the web pages you visit to one that is, like this one, designed to be more readable for people with dyslexia. And you know what? It worked very well. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the functions I enabled in my browser functioned on every page I visited and even functioned within Gmail. So, if you or someone you know would like to make the internet a little more readable, consider giving Beeline a try.Tags: accessible | browser | dyslexia | IDS | Instructional Design | readable