Apr 14, 2010 David Lang

Speaking the User's Language

When Accordance Bible Software was released in 1994, it was not the first computer program to search grammatically-tagged Greek and Hebrew texts. There had been programs for mainframes and DOS well before Accordance 1.0, but the scholars who used those programs had to be part scholar and part computer geek. Accordance was revolutionary because it made all those powerful grammatical searches accessible to people with no background or interest in computer science.

From the very beginning, we've done our best to avoid the technical jargon of computers as well as the technical jargon of Biblical scholarship. For example, you'll rarely hear us tell you to perform a "query." Instead, we'll just tell you to do a "search." Likewise, we use terms like "grammatical tags" that anyone can understand. Yes, "tag" is something of a computer term which may take some explaining, but anyone who ever learned grammar in school can understand what we mean by "grammatical." Contrast that with other programs which speak of "morphology" and shorten it to the even more cryptic term "morph." Somewhere along the way in learning Greek and Hebrew, I became familiar with the term "morphology," but it certainly wasn't something we learned the first semester, and it was never something we talked about much. Why use a term the average student, pastor, or even seminarian is going to find unfamiliar and need to have explained?

Another way Accordance speaks the user's language is that we don't make you memorize cryptic abbreviations or strings of one-letter codes for each of those grammatical tags. Why should you have to learn that "A" stands for "Adjective" in one position, "Aorist" in another, and "Article" not at all? Why not just spell out the words and let the user enter any reasonable abbreviation of those words? Why not allow "aorist" to come before or after "imperative" in a search argument?

You don't have to be an interface expert to know that the less computerese the user has to translate, the more time he or she can spend actually using the software to study the Bible. Accordance has been speaking your language from the very beginning.

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Archived Comments

Jim Appleby

April 14, 2010 8:40 PM

Thanks for all your thought and work over the years in doing this.  Neat to be part of a new wave of user interface improvement with Apple in the recent/coming years too!