d.compress - landscape analysis - deep reading

d.compress - landscape analysis - deep reading



April 09, 2012


  1. Shaheer Rizvi d.compress: Designing Calm Stanford d.school course, Spring 2012

  2.  • Deep reading = sophisticated process in which people

    critically think, reflect and understand what they are reading • Considered a critical skill for fully comprehending complex ideas • Medium of reading changing • Average American spends more than 8 hours a day looking a screen, just 20 min at books and other printed matter1 • Recent commentators have argued that distracted online reading has changed our neural pathways, potentially making deep reading a thing of the past. • See Atlantic article: “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Why is Deep Reading Important? 1. “As technology advances, deep reading suffers,” Nicholas Carr, San Francisco Chronicle, June 20, 2010.
  3.  • Use physical copies (books, print-outs of articles) •

    Highlight interesting sections, write thoughts on margins • Move to a distraction-free environment • Sit on a comfortable couch • Go to a Library, café, park, etc. • Switch off cell phone • Use noise-cancelling headphones • Sip on a warm drink to get into the “reading zone” • Social support: book clubs, study groups • School assignments/deadlines, cold calls Non-tech approaches
  4.  • Full-screen mode to remove distractions on your desktop

    (e.g. hit “F11” on your favorite browser) • Reformat online article to more readable font & background, remove clutter (e.g. Safari Reader) • Remove advertising from webpages (e.g. AdBlock) • Save articles for more focused reading later (e.g. Evernote) • Use tablets/e-readers that make you focus on one task at a time • See what others have highlighted in the books you are reading (e.g. Kindle’s “Popular Highlights”) • Engage in an online book-reading community (e.g. Goodreads.com) Tech approaches
  5.  • Not used to deep reading anymore – makes

    it difficult to read something that’s not pithy, exciting or funny • “I used to be able to read anything – I think I’m just out of practice!” • “My mind wanders if the article or book isn’t exciting or funny.” • Desktop/laptop computer is distracting; iPad/tablet seems to allow better focus • “I prefer the iPad to reading on the computer, as it only allows me to do one task properly at a time.” • Search capability while reading on a device is a strong plus • “Prefer online reading since I can quickly search for specific ideas to understand/review.” • “If the language is dense, I need to re-read over and over until I get it – being able to jump to specific areas of the text very helpful.” Insights from Interviews
  6.  • What are the pros/cons of reading on tablets/computers/cell

    phones vs. plain old paper? • Recent commentators have argued that distracted online reading has changed our neural pathways, potentially making deep reading a thing of the past. Is this true? If so, can calming technology avert this? • Is it possible to design calming technology to help people practice and develop deep reading skills? • How critical is it to address outside distractors that are not directly related to reading, e.g. social forms of stress? Questions to Explore