25 Reasons We’re Still Going Strong: Our Users
When Accordance 1.0 was released 25 years ago, there were seemingly dozens of Bible software programs to choose from. Today, only a small handful are still in operation. So how has Accordance managed to keep going strong after all these years?
In this series of posts, I’m considering 25 reasons I think we’ve managed to defy the odds. In previous posts, I covered 5 motivational reasons for our continued success, 6 reasons related to our development philosophy, 5 aspects of our approach to software design, and 5 key business strategies. In this post, I’ll cover 4 things about you, our users, which have helped make Accordance what it is.
22. We Started with the Most Demanding Users. When Accordance 1.0 was first released, it was aimed squarely at two groups of users who are notoriously demanding: Mac users and academics.
Back in the day, every Mac user was a self-proclaimed interface and usability expert, and they were unrelenting in their criticism of programs they regarded as hard to use. It was not unusual for developers of DOS and Windows programs to port their products to the Mac expecting to receive the undying gratitude of what was then a small percentage of personal computer users, only to find themselves getting savaged for trying to foist a clunky, unintuitive interface on people who had come to expect better. If you developed for the Mac in those days, you had to focus on making the interface easy to use.
Like Mac users, academics were an exacting group of users as well, though often in a different direction. As soon as it was released, Bible scholars and students began testing Accordance’s capability to help them in their studies. If Accordance couldn't quite do what professors needed for their research and lesson preparation, or what students needed to complete their assignments and write their papers, those users would push us to make improvements. In many cases, they asked for improvements we already planned to do, but there were certainly times when they exposed us to areas of research we had never really considered. Many of the features you have come to appreciate about Accordance were forged in the crucible of trying to keep our earliest academic users happy.
In those early years, Accordance expanded by leaps and bounds, both in ease of use (thanks to the Mac users) and in raw power (thanks to the academics).
23. Our Users Give Us Honest Feedback. As just mentioned, aiming at the intersection of two demanding groups of users pushed us to make rapid improvements to Accordance, but those improvements wouldn't have been possible if our users hadn’t taken the time to give us their honest feedback. If they weren’t happy about something, they could have just stopped using Accordance without saying anything at all. That's why we have always valued the collaborative relationship we have with our users. By giving us your honest feedback, making suggestions for ways the software can be improved, explaining how you might be using a feature in a way we never intended but probably should have, you've helped us continually improve the software and encouraged us in our efforts.
24. Our Users Help Each Other. We pride ourselves on our in-house tech support and all the training materials we provide, but personally, I point people to our User Forums more than any other source of support. Why? Because where else can a student working on a paper in the wee hours of the morning post a question and get help from an Accordance power user halfway around the world? Where else can you ask about buying a commentary and get purchasing advice from a dozen other Accordance users? Where else can you post a suggestion and get plus-oned by a dozen other users? We are very grateful for the vibrant and active community of Accordance users who take the time to help one another at all hours of the day and night. You really help make us look good.
25. Our Users Help Spread the Word. For the past 25 years, our most effective form of marketing has been the word-of-mouth recommendations of our users. So many of you have eagerly evangelized your colleagues, coworkers, fellow students, friends, and family members to the Accordance Advantage. We deeply appreciate all of your enthusiastic support over the years.
Ultimately, you, our users, are the main reason Accordance is still going strong after 25 years. Thank you.