Occasionally, I'll hear someone describe Accordance as having a "steep learning curve." It's usually followed by a statement like, "I've just begun to scratch the surface of what this software can do." This latter statement tells me that what they really mean by the phrase "steep learning curve" is that there is a lot to learn.
This distinction is significant. Strictly speaking, a program with a "steep learning curve" is one which requires a great deal of effort just to master the basics. For example, when I first tried to use Adobe GoLive 5.0 to set up a web-site, I tried reading the manual, consulting the help, and just tinkering on my own, and I never got anywhere. It wasn't until I bought one of those "For Dummies" books that I could even begin to make heads or tails of GoLive. That was a program with a steep learning curve, because the barriers to entry were so high. (To be fair to Adobe, if I had been more familiar with some of their other applications, such as PhotoShop, I probably would have found GoLive's interface to be less intimidating. And, of course, the interface may have been improved since then.)
A program with a steep learning curve is different from one that presents you with a lot to learn. With Accordance, it's not that hard to figure out how to do the basics: such as how to search the Bible or how to access a tool. But there are so many options and resources available that it can make the beginning user feel like he'll never learn it all. And it's not just the beginning user: scholars who use Accordance to do complex Greek and Hebrew searches still feel the same way, because there are a host of options available to them which they may not be using.
Admittedly, there's a lot to learn if you want to get the most out of Accordance. Fortunately, most of the options and resources in Accordance operate in exactly the same way, so once you learn how to do one thing, you've learned how to do a half-dozen similar things. This week, I'll show you how the consistency of the Accordance interface reduces the learning curve and makes it easy to master most of what there is to learn.