BeeLine Reader is a tool making online reading faster, easier and more accessible. What started as a speed-reading tool for adult professionals has quickly grown to help students, children in special education and individuals with reading impairments have increased access to ease of reading.
They had an odd beginning for a social impact organization: their technology was originally developed as a speed-reading tool for skilled adult readers. They launched on Hacker News, a popular technology forum, and were covered by Fast Company, Gizmodo and other mainstream tech press. But they soon learned that their tool had incredible applications as an assistive technology and educational tool. Educational research has shown that BeeLine Reader improves reading fluency and reading comprehension, in addition to attitudes toward reading.
We heard from special ed teachers and students who found that our tools helped them to read with unprecedented ease and enjoyment.
They now serve three audiences, education, accessibility and readers at large, through their browser plugins and mobile apps, which have been used to read over 250 million pages in 60 languages and 120 countries. In addition to working directly with schools and students, they also partner with educational and publishing organizations to make their content more accessible and easier to read. They even partner with Bookshare, another SEA member, as well as with Reading Is Fundamental. Their technology is also available on the website of the impact organization the Unreasonable Group.
BeeLine Reader technology displays text using eye-guiding color gradients instead of traditional black text. These gradients, (which you can see below) improve visual tracking and allow the reader to focus more on the content of what they’re reading instead of the mechanical process of reading. The tool was designed specifically to promote literacy, education and accessibility.
Based on what they’ve learned from educators, reading specialists and vision experts, they believe their technology can open the aperture on reading—to empower many readers who have struggled to read because of dyslexia, ADHD, vision impairments or ESL challenges. Their goal is to serve these readers through our plugins and apps, but also through partnerships with content platforms. These partnerships are key, because so much of what students and workers need to read is locked up in proprietary platforms (textbooks, standardized tests, company databases).
BeeLine’s current focus is to launch partnerships with impact-focused organizations that care about literacy, education or accessibility. Through these partnerships, they would make their technology available on blogs or websites of social impact organizations. This benefits both the organization — by making its content more accessible — and helps BeeLine spread the word among impact-oriented readers. (If you know of an organization that would be interested in such a partnership, you can contact their CEO, Nick Lum at nick@BeeLineReader.com)
From Nick Lum, CEO of BeeLine Reader: “We joined SEA to be a part of a growing community of people and organizations focused on impact. When we learned that our most of our current partners are part of the SEA community, we knew that we would find other like-minded folks that we can learn from and work together with. Thanks to the hard work of the SEA staff, we have already been connected with several organizations that share in interest in literacy and accessibility. We are excited to have joined the SEA community!”