A direct mail company has introduced a printing technology they call “ReadSmart.” Here is their description:
ReadSmart automatically formats text through subtle manipulation so that the printed page reflects the structure of language. Text becomes easier to read, maintaining the overall normal appearance of the page without changing any words, fonts, grammar, or punctuation. ReadSmart can also customize formatting to match certain demographics of intended readers, further increasing the appeal and impact of copy. Source: Direct Group
They cite research that claims huge increases in comprehension, response, and profits. Does it work? It appears to me that the technology is grouping phrases in the copy, which is exactly what reading studies have shown to be an efficient way to read. But the grouping is very, very subtle. So I suppose it’s possible, though the claims seem pretty dramatic.
If you’re curious, here’s a sample pdf showing before and after copy. Decide for yourself. And if you know anyone who’s tried this, let me know. I’m curious.
UPDATE: Direct Group has removed this from their site.