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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 11 Feb 2013, 10:26


The 15 second quiz

Merriam-Webster - the 'sticky' web dectionary using gamification to build the brand and hold your attention.

Who'd have thought it a decade ago.  'Sticky' was the Holy Grail - but applied to an online dictionary?

I love words.

I have used many online dictionaries, including 'the dictionary' and the OED, and of course Wikipedia. Increasingly I pick Merriam-Webster from the list offered.

The response page is clean (ish) i.e. you get an unclutted, quick and short defintion, which is all you want if you are trying to read a text.

You can, by default, find you are 'embedding' your relationship with the word by adding a comment. What brings you here? Why were you after this word? You may then be intgrigued by the responses other people have left.

Then there's the quick 15 second quiz.

A crafty way to up your Pub Quiz or Mastermind General Knowledge.


And there's a pithy video clip on some highfalutin stuff about words. Except of course it isn't, you'd just expect it to be so. They're very down to earth. There's the best explanation of the important difference between - its and its - for example.

My distraction? My word(s)

  • Foveal
  • Profoveal

That collection of nodes in the retina we subconsiously use when focusing on the fine detail of something - often used for reading tough texts where the 'profoveal words' i.e. those just out of vision and typically a few down the line from your centre of focus couild distract if and where the word is bold, in colour, underlined ... or the purposes of the research papers I am reading, if the word or phrase has a hyperlink.

Do you want you reader to read at an uninterupted measured pace - or tangle their eyes in barbed wire?

The aim, as they eventually figured out with the printed word, is a form or set of patterns and guidelines that make the reading of text on a screen easier, engaging enough so the the issues and facts begin to stick, without it being a mess.

I often wonder if a 'porta-pront' App - so you read as a Newsreader would do, offers the most uncluttered way to read text?

We're still a long way short of a digital expression of the written word - the guitliest group are academic papers. These are for the most part highly formalised layouts based on analogue moveable print.

Where I can I cut and paste and entire paper into Google Docs, then reformat so that I can scroll through.

Now what on earth did I get up to do 20 minutes ago?!

Ah yes.

This little gem.

Risse, S, & Kliegl, R 2012, 'Evidence for delayed parafoveal-on-foveal effects from word n+2 in reading', Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception And Performance, 38, 4, pp. 1026-1042, PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost, viewed 11 February 2013.



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