Innovation That Matters

Reading app

Where Are They Now?: BeeLine Reader

Where Are They Now

We spoke to co-founder Nick Lum, who is on a mission to create significant impact in the area of of accessibility and working with many organizations, including Springwise, to support literacy and reading efficiency.

For many people, it’s difficult to imagine a day without reading. Documents and emails for work; websites, books and magazines for pleasure; inadvertently reading ads during the daily commute… words are everywhere. For people who find reading difficult, almost every aspect of life could be affected.

Passionate about reading, education and technology, the founders of BeeLine Reader, Nick Lum and Andrew Cantino, created what is on the surface a beautifully simple solution to a complex problem. Their patented technology uses color gradients to guide eyes along sentences, reducing the likelihood of the reader skipping words or lines.

From new readers building their skills to readers with challenges such as dyslexia and vision impairment, BeeLine Reader helps make almost anything online easier to read. The Reader is available in four color gradients – bright, dark, blue and gray – and can be installed as a browser plugin and mobile app. E-books can be converted into colored PDFs, and the BeeLine technology is already available for books from Amazon and OverDrive.

Understandably popular with students and professionals keen to save time by becoming more efficient readers, BeeLine Reader is now creating significant impact in the area of accessibility. Co-founder Nick Lum says that one of the biggest surprises over the past years has been how widely the technology has been used. “The Reader has been used very broadly in education, more than we had anticipated. And as our impact continues to grow, we have begun working with accessibility organizations.”

One of the most important lessons that Nick has learned since starting BeeLine Reader is to ask in-depth questions of those using the product and understand their motivations behind their requests. “We have to be very careful about where we invest our development time and resources. It would be easy to try to build everything that we are asked for; instead, however, we need to take the time to make sure that what we’re creating will have a real impact for as many people as possible.”

First covered by Springwise in 2016, BeeLine has recently partnered with the company to install the technology on the Springwise website. And in the United States, the company has just begun working with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the country’s largest child literacy organization. BeeLine Reader is one of the non-profit’s signature features in its move from paper to digital resources. Lum says that the partnership is an exciting opportunity for BeeLine to reach a new base of young readers through RIF’s nationwide relationship with public schools. BeeLine Reader is also taking part in the Pearson Project Literacy Lab, an accelerator for entrepreneurs working to close the world’s literacy gap and the company hopes to be working with anyone who cares about literacy and reading efficiency.

And with its Read Across The Aisle app, BeeLine Reader hopes to help people of all political persuasions escape their news bubble by learning more about the beliefs and reasoning of others. The free app provides multiple articles on the same topic and lists the political orientation of each publication. “Our end goal is to help make it possible for anyone to read,” says Lum, and with a strong and stable algorithm underpinning the functionality of the color gradients, and the tool used in languages around the world, BeeLine Reader is well on its way.