by H. Michael Sweeney, copyright © 2011, ProparanoidPress, all rights reserved permissions to reproduce available on request to pppbooks at comcast (net)
Dateline Portland, OR August 1, 2011
Initial tests show remarkable ease of reading for all readers,
with improved retention and comprehension.
ProparanoidPress has released the World’s 1st Ergonomic book. I know, you are asking how can a book be ergonomic? Does it fit the hand better? No. Well, just a bit, perhaps. But the way it is ergonomic is the way it reads… how it interacts with the eyes and the mind. That brings us to being heuristic. I know, you are asking what does heuristic even mean? The simple answer means it improves one’s ability to learn while doing. OK, then, so how does this new book manage to do all that?
It uses a new print technology, a method of displaying text called ErgoText by its inventor, ErgoDox LLC, a small start up in Oregon. I just happen to know the inventor and thus was quick to seek license to use the new technology for my next book. What’s really cool about from a publisher’s standpoint it is that is saves paper, which makes the book smaller, which means it DOES fit the hand a little better (I did say “a bit, perhaps”). What it really means though, is that the book costs about 20% less to print, which makes everyone happy, especially since heavy wood and paper products have to be shipped (with fuel prices sky high) up to ten times from forest to bookstore. But there is lot more than lower price to make consumers happy.
First, it is ergonomic in that it is easier to read for reasons which defy simple explanation. It even reads faster, because it is almost impossible to loose one’s place or misread a word unless there is a grave contextual error or misspelling. Yet for Editor’s of a book (or anything else using ErgoText), it is discovered that such error’s tend to jump off the page and thus there are fewer errors to be found in the final product.
Second, it is indeed heuristic, in that it converts textual material, which normally uses only the left-brain hemisphere inmost readers, into a form which is also seen as being graphical in nature by the mind, thus activating the right-brain hemisphere, as well. This means better comprehension and retention — as does the fact that there are fewer reading errors as described above. In fact, some uses can even activate other parts of the brain not normally used in either textual or graphical analysis, parts which stimulate episodic memory, which means a significant memory aid. Perfect for text books, manuals, and other serious texts. I’m so pleased with ErgoText that in the future, all ProparanoidPress books will be using it.
But perhaps the most amazing and unexpected thing is this: it seems to help readers who are Dyslexic or suffer other reading difficulties. I’ve only sold a handful of copies personally to users at Conspiracy Conference 11 last June, but as it happened, two of them were Dyslexic, and the reason they bought it was because they could instantly read it without struggling. I was shocked, as were they! It was as if scales had fallen from their eyes. So I next went out of my way to get some ErgoText material in front of several other Dyslexics I knew, and they said almost exactly the same thing.
In the process I learned that there are many forms of Dyslexia, each type causing a different viewing and comprehension experience roadblock. Some see letters jumbled (the most common). Some see the text quiver, shake, or move about. Some see funny visual effects which make letters and words unreadable except at vision center. And more. But thus far, of the 6 Dyslexics I’ve worked with, who have among them four of the various kinds of Dyslexia, ALL said it was dramatically better than regular text to read. So I contacted the folks at ErgoDox and, as result, they are currently offering a comparative reading challenge (remember the Pepsi Challenge?) to help quantify this phenomenon and determine what to do, next.
Go there and take the challenge!
It takes about 5 minutes to compare two paragraphs of material in each format for time it takes to read, ability to spot errors, and ability to find select text quickly. They want lots of people to take the test, because almost EVERYONE finds it easier to read, but especially want Dyslexics and persons with other reading issues to PLEASE take the test. Everyone who does take it should be sure to answer the anonymous questions about their experience. One does have the option of leaving an email address in which case they can receive a free downloadable print-your-own writing paper file of ErgoScript, which is the writing paper the firm offers based on the same technology. So even hand writing now becomes easier to read, etc.
I’d show you a sample of ErgoText right here, but I want to give you a reason (curiosity) to go to their Web site and take the challenge. Sorry if that seems like dirty pool, but its really important to learn if it really helps Dyslexics, et. al., or not, how much it helps, and what percentage of sufferers are helped. If enough good data is collected, it may justify a more formal scientific study which could result in further improvements for Dyslexics. Imagine if you didn’t know how to read at all, how much a loss of communication power that would represent. Dyslexic individuals are often just a notch away from that status, where any large block of text is difficult enough to read that they would just as soon pass as not, and go without the information.
Now imagine all the good stuff you’ve read in just the last 24 hours. That’s probably about as much as they would read in several years. Give them a break, and take the challenge, regardless of if you are Dyslexic, or not. And if you know someone who is Dyslexic, get them to read it by hook or by crook. Such a small thing to mean so much to so many. There are, after all, perhaps 50,000,000 Dyslexics in the U.S. alone. As a writer and publisher, I want to reach them, too.
Oh, yeah. The book? It’s called In Mindless Times.
A sci-fi time travel yarn determined not to bore you with the same old tired impossible time-loop plot twists. Not one single time traveler goes back in time to have sex and become their own father! However, there still is a lot of sex going on… and lots of plot twisting to go along with that trysting. Unlike many sci-fi works by other authors, I did a lot of research into the current state-of-the-art in actual time travel research. Discovered there is a lot of current (and well funded) research going on, and I think that effort made the book more plausible and realistic than most. That research is even summed up in the Appendix. How cool is that? A sci-fi book with an Appendix of facts. Who knows? Might start a trend; workable science fiction.
Want to learn more about time travel or the book? Listen to my interview on Truth Brigade Radio Show with Christie Czajkowski. There is dialog on other topics until about half an hour into the long show.
I promise it will be fun. So will be taking the challenge.
- Writing with Dyslexia (sallyjenkins.wordpress.com)
- Dealing with Dyslexic Learners (socyberty.com)
- How to Help Dyslexia with Visual Learning Strategies (brighthub.com) Sort of confirms the whole graphical right-brain notion without stating it.