Development notes

VR Speed Reader Milestone 3: Continuous paragraph reading + controls

New VR Speed Reader milestone! Nate suggested it was distracting when it jumps from the end of a line to the beginning of a new line while reading a paragraph. To avoid this, I placed two copies of the text on either side, with the one on the left adjusted down one line, and the one on the right adjusted up one line. I then justified the text (so it’s straight and has the same margin on both the left and right sides). The effect is that now when jumping to the next line, it feels as though you’re simply continuing to read horizontally, but you retain the context of the surrounding lines. It’s sort of like the text is wrapped around a cylinder.

vlcsnap-2015-04-25-05h29m00s244
Continuous paragraph reading in action: when you jump to the next line, the app appears to seamlessly continue moving horizontally.

I also implemented basic controls: you can now look left and right to speed up or slow down the reading speed. Your eyes continue tracking the text while you do so. You can also press the touchpad to reset orientation, and by holding the touchpad you pause reading and can look around. The app starts at a standstill, and must be started by looking right. This avoids disorientation and helps develop familiarity with the controls. See video below for demonstration.

Small fixes:

  • I modified the text to avoid dashes/hyphens which were resulting in some long words. Later on I’ll break these up programmatically.
  • Reduced blur of surrounding text to something more reasonable. I’m still considering other methods of highlighting the active word, like highlighting it with another color, or dimming the surrounding text (black on grey).

Next steps:

  • Right now Words Per Minute is hidden. It should be shown while paused.
  • Need to implement Gear VR requirements like holding back button for universal menu. This should also pausing reading while the back button is pressed.
  • Pressing back button should present a zoomed-out sharp view of the document, allowing the reader to change the current reading location (zoomed-out mode). The app should begin in this mode as well. The two copies on the side should vanish in this mode.
  • Consider grouping small common words as units (e.g. “in the”).
  • Maybe some kind of visual indicator for when they’re speeding/slowing, like colors around the edge of vision.

Let me know if you have any thoughts also!

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2 thoughts on “VR Speed Reader Milestone 3: Continuous paragraph reading + controls

  1. When looking left to slow down scroll speed, does the scrolling temporarily pause when you lose sight of it? If not I think that’s something worth considering, or maybe looking up and down, instead of left and right to adjust the speed would be more fitting as you could still keep reading while making the adjustments.

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