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My Initial Impressions


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#1 Ross Kimes

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 05:52 PM

This review is coming from a 1st time Accordance user, so anything I say is based solely on iOS experience. Although I will be buying the Mac version in February. I think that it is awesome having so many sources and references in one app. Really excited about being able to sync back and forth with my Mac, iPhone and iPad.

As an iOS developer myself, I did notice some things in the interface that I thought you should think about doing differently. Please don't take this as me complaining, just trying to be constructive. As a 1.0 release it is simply amazing!

The main area I am going to focus on is the text area.
- An option to view the text in a paragraph would be great. I prefer the list view on the iPhone because of the screen size, but on the iPad where there is more screen real estate I think paragraphs would work better.
- I like the scrolling as opposed to pages, but I think there can be some benefit to breaking it up into chapters or something like that (or having an option to do so). This would also go well with the before mentioned paragraphs; if you were only viewing one chapter, you could just have the verse number instead of having to include something like Gen. 11:9 multiple times on every line.
- Another cool thing you could do if separated by paragraphs is take advantage of some nice iOS shortcuts such as having a verse index on the side so you could slide your finger up and down and quickly select verses and have the option enabled to tap the menu bar and quickly scroll to the top of the chapter.
- This may just be because of the versions I have, but I know some translations have headers for sections and if they could be included that would be nice.
- This one is really minor, having custom text backgrounds would be kinda cool. The last Bible app I used allowed me to change to an old 'Ancient Scroll' background that looked really nice and I think something like that would fit well with the brown theme of the app (which I really like). But like I said, VERY minor. Also, I love the amount of font choices we have.

Thats all for the text area, but there are a couple of other UI things I wanted to mention.
- The double toolbar look on the verse picker looks a little awkward to me. I'm also not sure if there is really a need for the buttons that scroll up and down the columns. It seems like its faster and more accurate to slide them like normal. I think it would be better to have one toolbar at the bottom that had 2 buttons, one for OT and one for NT (the quick scrolling is useful in that case). Also I think labeling them Old/New or OT/NT would be more helpful than Genesis/Matthew. This last thing is a little nitpicky of me, but maybe you should make the Genesis/Matthew (or whatever names you go with) buttons the same width.
- On the library page, if you could put the full name of the texts I think it would be more helpful.
- On the iPad, I think it would be good to make use of UIPopovers. Having UITableViews full screen on the iPad leaves a lot of unneeded whitespace and does not look very good (Like the Library view and the Settings page). Maybe move the 'Add Parallel Pane' to one as well so when you press the + button it appears right next to where you finger already is. I think the Verse Picker really needs is. The way it replaces the main toolbar and darkens the text works great on the iPhone, but the floating toolbars look awkward on the iPad with nothing containing them. Stuff like that is what the popover view was designed for.


I hope you don't think I was being too hard on it, as I really like it and it has convinced me to finally make the plunge and purchase the Mac version. I am really excited about the future of this app and look forward to hearing your opinions on some of the things I mentioned above.

Thanks for listening!
Ross Kimes

#2 Joel Brown

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 06:38 PM

Thanks for the feedback, Ross. We're excited to have you onboard! I'll discuss many of your points below:

An option to view the text in a paragraph would be great. I prefer the list view on the iPhone because of the screen size, but on the iPad where there is more screen real estate I think paragraphs would work better.


This is already high on our list of improvements.

This may just be because of the versions I have, but I know some translations have headers for sections and if they could be included that would be nice.


This information is in the Outlines reference tool, included in all installations. It doesn't display within the text, but if you set it to your parallel pane, it will stay in sync as you go.

This one is really minor, having custom text backgrounds would be kinda cool. The last Bible app I used allowed me to change to an old 'Ancient Scroll' background that looked really nice and I think something like that would fit well with the brown theme of the app (which I really like). But like I said, VERY minor. Also, I love the amount of font choices we have.


This is also high on our list, including more specific text sizes, colors, etc.

The double toolbar look on the verse picker looks a little awkward to me. I'm also not sure if there is really a need for the buttons that scroll up and down the columns. It seems like its faster and more accurate to slide them like normal. I think it would be better to have one toolbar at the bottom that had 2 buttons, one for OT and one for NT (the quick scrolling is useful in that case). Also I think labeling them Old/New or OT/NT would be more helpful than Genesis/Matthew. This last thing is a little nitpicky of me, but maybe you should make the Genesis/Matthew (or whatever names you go with) buttons the same width.


I must say, this verse picker/GoTo view has been one of the most debated areas of interface. We went back and forth with a variety of ideas, finally ending with this one. For experiences iOS gurus like you and me, its very easy and accurate to just use the wheels (which was the initial design), but for many of our testers it was quite infuriating. Imagine trying to swipe to Psalms 150! So, we added the chapter and verse buttons to ease that up. It makes going to Job 31 quite easy now. We like the functionality, though we may tweak the look a bit.

On the library page, if you could put the full name of the texts I think it would be more helpful.

Good idea. If anything, we'll be making the search more robust, so you can search for strings in the full name. Like 'Revised' will give you the RSV, for instance.

On the iPad, I think it would be good to make use of UIPopovers. Having UITableViews full screen on the iPad leaves a lot of unneeded whitespace and does not look very good (Like the Library view and the Settings page). Maybe move the 'Add Parallel Pane' to one as well so when you press the + button it appears right next to where you finger already is. I think the Verse Picker really needs is. The way it replaces the main toolbar and darkens the text works great on the iPhone, but the floating toolbars look awkward on the iPad with nothing containing them. Stuff like that is what the popover view was designed for.


Absolutely you are right. The iPad is going to get a pretty significant UI workover. We said from the beginning that the UI is designed for the iPhone/iPod Touch, but we'd make the app universal so it at least looked good on the iPad. In the upcoming releases we'll definitely be improving it in iPad specific ways.

Thanks again for your feedback, it is greatly appreciated.
Joel Brown

By day: Consultant for Oaktree
By night: Freelance Trombonist and Private Instructor

#3 Reindog

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 12:51 AM

I am very excited about this product.  It's very fast, which is something I love about the desktop client.  I appreciate the accessibility of design in allowing me to quickly get into the app and open the texts without many taps, touches, or unnecessary windows. But I am concerned with what I feel is an over-promising of "design" in much of the advertising for both Accordance 9 and their new iOS release. Yes the app is lightweight and fast, and yes it is relatively quick to get into the app, but I was also shocked with the primitive design in the app.  It is VERY barebones. I realize they wanted to push the product out quickly so customers could start using it, but they make repeated comments in their materials for both the new desktop client and the iOS app about amazing design. I expected a more engaging experience or creative use of design to navigate me through the resources. Instead I feel like I am using a barebones first draft of iPhone OS 1.0 from four years ago. Very basic menus, windows, and navigation.  Very basic graphics. Very basic reading experience. But it is a good start.  Some might disagree with me right now and say, "oh quit whining about visual design and think practically."  But there is a professionalism and immersive design that is expected in iPad apps that engage the user and draws them into the material, which is a major part of the vision of the iPad form factor and experience—especially when an app is advertised as having an "elegant interface." I say this hoping that OakTree will take this aspect seriously as they build on a very solid barebones framework here with their initial relase.  Consider how Olive Tree just released their new update recreating a more book like experience with their app. More so, consider the simple, careful, professional design of the Crossway ESV app. It's excellent. Consider iBooks. Reeder. The iPod app. Twitter app. Things for iPad. Great design. Great visual metaphors. I am very hopeful for the future of this OakTree product.
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#4 Fr. Rusty Matheny

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 01:44 AM

Accordance Knocked it out of the park, first time at bat!

Got everything downloaded, everything "works" and, I can just "do my work" !
It is fast, fasted App on my Iphone and Ipad.
Ipad navigation was very smooth and predictable, Iphone was excellent as well.

I have only been an Accordance user for about a year or so, however, in that amount of time, I have become very aware of the Integrity of this company.
They seem to constantly push towards being excellent each and every day, regularly making current things better, more refined, while at the same time pushing forward toward a brighter future.

Because of this, I have no doubt, whatsoever, about the future of Accordance in IOS and no doubt I made the correct decision on what Company my study future was going to be tied too. ( after much research and trying of platforms ).

Short note, because I think it is important:
I came from a platform of Software I had been with for a long , long time, ( very close to 20 years ), I have a large investment there, which is now of little use to me.

Companies need to understand that as we invest in a Platform, we also need them to invest in it as well, for if they do not, at some point, our investment will be lost to us as the platform becomes outdated and often unusable.

The platform I have used and invested in for 20 years has not understood this, and thus I have been forced to move on, losing a sizable investment.

For me, it has been much like having your library burn to the ground.

My point is simply this: Accordance has shown over time that, as a company, they "get it" and work as hard on the software as they do on acquiring resources, thus the software is relevant operationally as well as having excellent resources.

I have invested in Accordance now, in the study of the company, and in having the software, they are investing in Accordance as well.

I believe I have chosen well and Accordance IOS just solidifies that for me.
In this App, they have chosen to put function first instead of "form over function" as so many , so often do.
The inside of the cup, is beautiful!

The app looks good, people just starting got good resources, and it is fast, accurate and functional, one can actually get some work done.

As for me, I think this is a winner that will only get better and better, it is a house build on a good foundation, it will stand.

Thanks for listening,
Thanks to all the Accordance staff.

Grace and Peace,

Rusty+

Edited by Fr. Rusty Matheny, 01 January 2011 - 01:53 AM.


#5 Robert Floyd

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 01:59 AM

For a 1.0 release, this is a very good start. As a long time Olive Tree user on the iPhone/iPad, I was a little disappointed at the fairly barebones UI when compared with Olive Tree, but then I realized I'm comparing 1.0 with 5, which is hardly fair. For Bible study software, content is king. While the two have common modules, Oak Tree's implementation of the search function is far superior to Olive Tree's, while Olive Tree's ease of use, especially with their verse chooser and library display, outshines Oak Tree at the moment. I have both on my iPad and shall continue to use them both.

Out of curiosity, is the lack of copy/paste capabilities in the text a legal, rather than technical, issue? Olive Tree also restricts copy/paste capabilities. I suspect this is related to publisher demands; is this correct?

One area I'd like to see Olive Tree explore is the ability to move/work with user notes outside Accordance. Olive Tree offers Evernote integration, which is very handy for me. Ultimately, I'd like to be able to do lesson preparation completely on my iPad. Being able to move notes to other apps, directly or indirectly, is an important part of that.

Overall, I'm excited about the prospects for Accordance on iOS devices and can't wait to see the enhancements coming up 1.1. I don't think it's an overstatement to say Accordance and iPad can revolutionize Bible study/classes for many of us: having meaningful access to an entire reference collection on the go is an incredible blessing. Thank you for your hard work.

#6 Ruben Gomez

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 06:48 AM

Hi all,

To get things into perspective I think we should pay attention to OakTree's track record. As far as I can tell, they are known for delivering their promises.

Unlike other companies, they are not into "vaporware." They may miss a dateline or two, as we all do, but when they say they'll do something, they do it.

They said Accordance for iOS version 1 was going to be rather basic. It is.

They say they are working on lots of planned enhancements, some of them specifically designed for the iPad. Expect to see them soon.

Now, what does "soon" mean for a not-so-large company? It means they are really doing their best with the staff and resources they have. Users tend to want things by yesterday (yes, me too!) but that is not a reasonable expectation. As for me, tomorrow morning will be fine :P

Keep in mind that even with a "barebones" version 1, Accordance is leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else in terms of sheer search power (and some search commands have not even been implemented yet - let alone stand-alone commands!). I am pretty sure that at least the iPad version will end up sharing many of the great functionalities we can currently enjoy in Accordance for Mac. Add that to the ability to carry all your content with you when linking via wifi is made available, and you'll see that we've got an excellent deal. As an aside, can you imagine what it would be like to run a MERGE command with MT-LXX Parallel on you iPad? Who is anywhere near to providing such capability?

Finally, UI improvements (color schemes, backgrounds, user customizations, book metaphors and the like) will no doubt be coming in due course.

To sum it up, I think OakTree has, once again, delivered their promises.

Edited by Ruben Gomez, 01 January 2011 - 06:50 AM.


#7 sacha zemp

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 08:49 AM

Well, well Version 1.0 is here. As others mentioned I'm also happy to have finally Accordance on the Go. I Hated to spend more on Olive Trees modules.
That said, I'm not impressed at all at functionality, appearance and usabilty. Agreed we speak of a version 1 but we are speaking of a version 1 in 2011.
The bar has raised, what was good enough in 2009 is not good enough in 2011. Olive Tree Version 5 is surely the path to follows and I hope that updates are coming frequently and substantialy so to make a better use of the space and possibilities of the iPhone and the iPad.

See you in Jerusalem
Regards
Sacha Zemp

#8 Linzc

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 04:37 PM

It's fast, it lets me access Greek, Hebrew and other tools on my iPad & iPhone, and it's FREE! As far as I'm concerned that's an awesome combination. I'm just hanging out for the first time a student asks me about what the original language is for something and I look it up on my phone!

#9 Ross Kimes

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 10:27 PM

Thanks for the quick reply. Can't wait to see what y'all come up with in the updates.




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