Skim modifies the way words are displayed in NYT articles. It hopes to investigate if obscuring characters can enhance reading.
Studies suggest humans can read pretty well even when many characters in a word have been modified. Some studies imply that if the first and last letters of a word are kept intact, the rest can be scrambled without much loss in legibility. Others say we read based on the shapes of whole words rather than letters. Skim is a quick prototype to investigate these ideas. It provides three ways to view New York Times articles: (1) DISEMVOWEL - where vowels are removed, (2) SCRAMBLE - where interior letters are shuffled, (3) SHAPES - where interior letters are masked to show only their ascenders and descender. Skim was built in a day and is imperfect. While it’s intentional that words with three or fewer characters are not modified, things like punctuation were left unaccounted for due to time constraints. If you’d like to build off of this project, it’s available on Github (https://github.com/oeaeee/skim).