How do you use Logos? How can we improve it?

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This post has 98 Replies | 14 Followers

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 24 2016 10:30 AM

MJ. Smith:
one on what we need to move Logos into the general congregation.

I totally agree with this too. Personally I love Logos but every time I talk to people in about this the conclusion that is usually reached is that it is just not well-suited for them (too cumbersome and too expensive).

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

Posts 293
Charlene | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 24 2016 11:06 AM

I've done the survey, but I just will post here my major desires. That would include more resources and better maps. I would prefer that your time was spent on making resources available so that I can maximize my study. Please don't waste time working on features that do the "interpretation for me." Leave that for me to do as I study.

Thanks, Logos!

Posts 3659
BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 24 2016 12:22 PM

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):

Rosie Perera:
Thanks for the survey. I'll expand on my #1 request: Make it faster in all sorts of ways. UI responsiveness mostly. Dropdowns, etc.

+1 Yes for user responsiveness.

+1 here, too, for user responsiveness--especially for reduced clicks in both the Bible/Verbum apps & L7. One place I'd like to see reduced clicks is in search results. I want to scroll through all results, not scroll + tab, when results (often) exceed one page. I don't want either the click or the wait while the page is refreshed. I dream of it scrolling the same way L7 & Verbum / Bible apps allow scrolling through a Bible.

Grace & Peace,
Bill


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Posts 1391
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 25 2016 9:54 AM

Survey taken.  Thanks for the last two open-ended feedback entries.  Smile

OF COURSE, I forgot to mention something in the survey.  I'd like to see more/better graphics (maps, charts, photos) as well as better tagging and integration of those resources, particularly for basic Bible study.

Posts 260
Jonathan Bradley | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 25 2016 2:41 PM

Gao Lu:

  1. To find what I am searching for even if I don't search perfectly.  

I would like the Logos Now "Fuzzy Search" to work on a more wide scale, i.e. not just for searching the Bible. 

Posts 2811
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 25 2016 6:24 PM

I'm curious about one thing: with all the data sitting out there on UserVoice, why is this survey needed? Is this survey to update what's on UV, an augment to it, or is that information considered too out-of-date to be useful?

(FWIW, I did complete the survey.  I'm not opposed to it, I'm simply curious about how the survey and the UV data are related and how they are going to be integrated/used.)

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 737
Armin | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 25 2016 9:16 PM

Rosie Perera:
I'll expand on my #1 request: Make it faster in all sorts of ways.

+1 Yes  I really struggle with startup times.

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):
Dreaming of "Preparing Library ..." notification expansion to include collection cache refresh. In an installation with hundreds of collections and 21,000+ resources, refreshing collection cache takes several minutes.

+1 Yes  I have the same issue. Many times I have to force quit Logos as it has become non-responsive. Logos does not seem to be able to handle large libraries. I deleted already many collections but it has not helped.

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):
Dreaming of allowing user to use Logos and Verbum while sync is in progress. If sync encounters an error (especially timeout), then application becomes non-responsive (repeating often on OS X with work around of restarting Mac).

+1 Yes   Agreed. This would result in fewer force quits.

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):
Dreaming of offline "Fuzzy Bible Search" subset

+1 Yes  Would be excellent for traveling.

Posts 755
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 27 2016 10:51 PM

I wish more attention was paid to the Windows text-to-speech interface.  Once the program starts reading, it is really hard to reposition the reading point.  Within the Course Tool it is nearly unusable.  It's a shame since Windows has greatly improved the quality of the audio beginning in Windows 8.

Posts 755
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 29 2016 7:12 AM

For many years I have quit reading Logos on my desktop and do all my reading on my iPad.  This is because taking notes on the iPad gives me better controls.  The iPad will allow me to choose which notes file is to receive the note on the fly. I can see all my existing note files and dump each note into a different file.  This is great for collecting notes topically.   I can even create a new note file while I am in the process of taking the note.

The desktop gives me a selection which seems to be related to the current note files which are open on the desktop.

The Courses tool brings this to a head!  As I move from unit to unit, I wish to take notes not even knowing which resource will be in the next unit.  Therefore, it is impossible to create or open the note file in advance.  I may not wish to collect the notes for a course in a single course specific file.  As is my usual practice, I spread notes by topic into various pre-existing note files. 

The Courses tool is great.  I am currently taking my first course on Calvin and His Writings.  But distributing notes into topical files is very difficult from the desktop and I can't use the Courses tool from my iPad! Sad

Posts 3024
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 29 2016 2:11 PM

Phil Gons (Faithlife):
Thanks for your help, and Merry Christmas!

You're very welcome. Thank you for asking!

In my feedback to the survey, I asked for three things:

1. Faster desktop software.

2. Better resource QA.

3. Page numbers for Noet and Vyrso ebooks.

Because (which I did not mention):

1. I would be happier with the desktop software and use it more and recommend it (even) more.

2. I would be happier with FL and use the desktop and mobile software more and recommend the ecosystem (even) more.

3. I would buy plenty more books from FaithLife and be happier with FL and use their software more and recommend it (even) more to a wider audience of people.

Posts 98
Johan L | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 30 2016 6:50 PM

I agree with everyone wanting Logos to be faster. But I also want Logos to help me work quicker. While I understand that the workflow would be different from person to person some changes have value for many users I think. There where some great changes in this respect in L7: Sermon documents and the Home Page Layouts. More changes like this would be much appreciated. This includes homepage layouts for things like ME, devotionals, prayer lists etc.

At the same time there are several strange things in notes that makes work with notes slower than necessary. For example, to my knowledge there is no possibility to jump from a note title to contents using enter or tab or something similar, you have to use the mouse. Also, using shortcut keys to notes does not make you able to actually type in the note and there are probably other things as well.

Posts 26306
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 30 2016 8:35 PM

Johan L:
While I understand that the workflow would be different from person to person some changes have value for many users I think.

I'd like to see a variety of users to provide examples of their workflow or the workflow they envision for the lay user ... and identify the roadblocks in that workflow.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 2041
GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 30 2016 9:35 PM

One time sink leaps to mind--I run into this nearly every day:

I use resource-specific notes. The first time I take notes in a resource, there is no way to save those notes to the file until the file is created. My usual strategy for creating the file is to highlight text and then remove the highlighting. Then I have a file in which to create my notes.  

Surely there is some intuitive way Logos can guess that I intend to create a note file and have it ready-made when I want it.  

At least create a menu option as if the file existed and then if I actually make a note, then Logos could go ahead right quick and actually create the file.

Posts 10525
Forum MVP
Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 31 2016 3:51 AM

David A Egolf:
taking notes on the iPad gives me better controls.  The iPad will allow me to choose which notes file is to receive the note on the fly. I can see all my existing note files and dump each note into a different file

I checked Improve Notes as very important—This one addition would improve note-taking tremendously.

Posts 521
Russ White | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 31 2016 6:26 AM

I've been telling you for years, and you've not listened. 

1. The primary improvement in notes needs to be better integration with outside packages, even on other devices, rather than trying to make Logos replace every other piece of software in the world.

2. The quality and scope of the library needs huge improvements.

3. The biblio information contained in the library is more often wrong than right, and Logos needs integration with tools like Zotero, rather than assuming all citations are going to come out of Logos.

4. Users need to be able to selectively synchronize information onto the Logos cloud servers, and possibly even use their own personal cloud drive services for things like personal books (OneDrive, SpiderOak, DropBox, etc.).

5. The software needs to run a lot faster, and the search capabilities need to be improved. I often find it easier to find a passage of Scripture on Bing than I do in Logos, and yet this is supposed to be Logos' primary job.

6. If you are going to do any sort of scheduling, integrate with some other scheduling platform, such as Outlook/g-suite/etc., rather than building something completely new. The last thing I want in my life is to be required to open yet another calendar to get to yet another part of the list of things I need to do/should do today. Logos isn't going to replace these things, so it should try to work with them.

In general, Faithlife needs to stop acting like every one of their users opens Logos first thing on booting their computer, and then perhaps (just maybe) uses an email program besides, and needs/wants/uses nothing else. Focus on what you do well, and leave the rest to people who focus on what they do well, rather than continuing to try to be all things to all people.

Russ

Posts 3024
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 31 2016 7:10 AM

MJ. Smith:

Johan L:
While I understand that the workflow would be different from person to person some changes have value for many users I think.

I'd like to see a variety of users to provide examples of their workflow or the workflow they envision for the lay user ... and identify the roadblocks in that workflow.

Honestly, the principal thing that negatively affects my workflow on a daily basis is simply the program's speed. Opening new tabs and floating windows, loading guides and saved templates, closing multiple/all tabs and windows at the same time, opening the Library as a new tab/window... how slow these things are is my principal annoyance when using the desktop software.

Posts 10126
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 31 2016 7:35 AM

I've wondered a lot about the direction Logos has gone.  My impression is the marketing sell-point is 'I might need this.'  So, Logos keeps adding more 'I might need this' features.  I also suspect the features speak to available talent already on-board.

And, my guess is that very few actually need the new features, if only because it's fairly obvious few know how to use them. They need a New Years resolution just to try.

My other observation is, the approach (complexity and high entry-point) looks a lot like the 1990's (not meant as criticism). But each new feature seems to assume the user has one program and then progressively learns that one program. A lot like Excel or Word used to be.

My guess is religion (daily) and Bible study is far more fragmented. Social interaction on Facebook, messaging, a constant stream of 'look at this!', calendars, and the most important: Google.

I can see Russ's point, but you'd need a whole new app. There's not enough marginal money left in the Logos app to fund very much. 'Catholic' made that point loud and clear last year.


Posts 22
Scott | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 31 2016 9:38 AM

Thanks for the opportunity to voice our opinions. It's great to know that the developers are interested in the experiences of users. It doesn't always seem that way with other software companies, so I appreciate this opportunity. Sorry that this will be a very long post, but I experience a lot of frustration with this software. I'm a Verbum (Catholic) user with Logos 6. I won't pay money to upgrade based on all my concerns detailed here.

In general, the resources available in Verbum are tremendous, but the usability of the software needs vast improvement. My overall impression is that it’s built for use by software developers, as it seems like I’m always struggling to figure out how to do what should be very simple tasks.

Specifically (details below):

  1. Layouts are difficult to use and unintuitive.
    • Layouts don’t open where you left off last.
    • The software adds resources to layouts on its own.
    • You can’t open more than one layout at a time.
    • There's no direct way to create a new layout.
  2. Simple searches are not possible without using obscure codes.
    • Basic searches (like all instances of one highlight style) require obscure codes.
    • Search results don’t display all results across all resources.
  3. Creating a reading list of any appreciable size is a hassle.
    • Auto-generation of reading plans is too limited.
    • Creating a custom reading plan is a major hassle.
  4. Miscellaneous improvements to the mobile and desktop apps.

This may be along the lines of what MJ is asking — how to get it out into the general congregation (which is where I am) — but my primary suggestion would be this: stop all new feature development and focus exclusively on rebuilding the interface from the ground up with a focus on usability for the masses. Imagine if you offered an easy to use yet powerful software + resources package that even us common folk found a joy to use? Maybe a low cost ($50?) starter package with a few Bible translations, a solid commentary, the Catechism, and a few of the more popular encyclicals? I’d get my whole parish using it! I recognize that’s far easier to say than it is to do, but that’s the art of development: making complex tasks easy.

Unfortunately I can honestly say that I would not have bought this software last year if I’d have known then how difficult it is to use, and there’s no chance I’m paying to upgrade unless I’m confident the user experience is radically improved. If I could do it over I would have put the money toward an iPad and started collecting ebooks and PDFs of the few resources I actually use. Also, sadly, I cannot recommend it in good conscience to anybody in my parish for personal Bible study who isn’t very technologically proficient and patient. I wouldn’t do that to them.

Here’s my detailed feedback.


1. Layouts are difficult to use and unintuitive.

  • Layouts don’t open where you left off last: If I have my Bible in the layout, logic would suggest that if I stopped reading yesterday at the end of Mark 3, opening the layout tomorrow should open right where I stopped reading but it doesn't. It returns to whatever state it was in the last time I took a snapshot last week or last month. The places in the resources, the arrangement of panes, and which tabs are active should appear where I left off. The only way to do that is to drill down into the “Layouts” menu (which means nothing to a newbie), hopefully click exactly on the tiny little hidden arrow that you can’t even see until you point to it, and select “update to current snapshot” (again, to a newbie, that means nothing). I had to find out all of this in the forums after tearing my hair out in frustration at why it wouldn’t just open where I left off, which one would expect it to do.
  • The software adds resources to layouts on its own: After finally, carefully putting together a layout with all the resources and tools I want at hand to do my Bible study, it’s frustrating when I click on something in the home page and it opens in a seemingly random tab in my carefully constructed layout. Open them in a new window.
  • You can’t open more than one layout at a time: I don’t know what kind of thing is happening on the back end, but why not just open each layout in its own window so we can flip back and forth between them?
  • There's no direct way to create a new layout: There should be an obvious way (a “New Layout” button or menu option) to create a new layout. Since there doesn’t seem to be that clear way, I end up closing all the resources in my meticulously created layout — fearing that my layout will be lost in the process — then open new resources, and click Save As Named Layout. Again, it took a trip to the forums to even figure out what all that meant. None of it is intuitive or easy to figure out.

2. Searching is overly complicated and incomplete.

  • Basic searches require obscure codes: To find, for example, all the passages in my resources that I have highlighted with a specific style (say, “Saint Quotes”), I have to open a search tab and type {Highlight palette name/style name} — I had to go look that up again just now because it’s not intuitive or easy to remember. I should be able to right-click on style and click, “Find All” or be able to create a new document from a style like I can with a palette.
  • Search results don’t display all results across all resources: Using the carefully crafted search codes mentioned above, I get results for the highlight style across all my resources… but it only displays three results at a time for each resource, requiring me to open each resource in yet another tab. I just want to see them all at once. To prevent bogging down, feel free to not load the results until I expand a resource arrow, but I shouldn’t have to open each in a new tab when the whole point of the search was to see them all at once.

3. Creating a reading list of any appreciable size is a hassle.

  • Auto-generation of reading plans is too limited: I appreciate that there’s an auto-generate option for creating a reading plan, but it’s limited in what it creates, with dates being the only focus. It should provide options like, “1 chapter per day” or “two chapters per day” and not be restricted to a specific time frame.
  • Creating a custom reading plan is a major hassle: I wasn’t able to create the reading plan I wanted with the auto-generation features, but I soon found out how difficult it would be to do within the software. Again, I had to go out to the forums and find the specific codes for each book of the Bible, cook up an Excel spreadsheet to create the list, then paste it into the box in the software to get the list how I wanted it, and that didn’t always work. It took hours to create just a few reading plans. I should be able to create a reading plan from the table of contents of a resource by highlighting, multi-selecting, or something.

4. Miscellaneous improvements to the mobile and desktop apps.

  • In the mobile app, I should be able to set my own default highlighting palette that will appear when I select an existing highlight. Having to drill down into multiple levels every time I want to change a highlight is a pain. (I haven’t used the iPhone app in 6 months, and just now started using the Fire app, so my experience here may be outdated.)
  • In the mobile app, I should be able to add any resource I want to the home page to quickly access my current reading.
  • In the desktop app, the scroll bars are a mess. All the dashed lines for highlights make them impossible to use as a regular scroll bar, and I can’t see how they’re useful for what they’re intended for. A highlights menu or slide out drawer that lists all the highlights in a resource would be much better.
  • Let me just upload a PDF into my personal books. Sometimes I don’t care about all the crazy functionality, I just want to be able to read the PDF and highlight it. Having to export a PDF to Word then import it is a hit-or-miss affair and way more trouble than it’s worth. I don’t even use this feature anymore.

There’s probably more I could say but I haven’t the time. It seems to me with Logos 8 you should just start from the ground up, maybe choose a different dev platform instead of the browser based one you're using if that’s preventing ease-of-use improvements, and start all over with the user experience and ease of use as the ONLY priority.

Posts 2811
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 31 2016 10:23 AM

Scott Spinola:
stop all new feature development and focus exclusively on rebuilding the interface from the ground up with a focus on usability

Well said, Scott.

My details were listed differently, but if I had to summarize what I wrote in a single sentence, you captured it pretty well above.

Scott Spinola:
I can honestly say that I would not have bought this software last year if I’d have known then how difficult it is to use, and there’s no chance I’m paying to upgrade unless I’m confident the user experience is radically improved

I fear this exact line of thinking is a bigger problem for FL than they realize. I've said pretty much the same thing. While I've continued to stay at the current updgrade level, I've done so at the absolute minimum cost and cut back on resource purchasing as well. Buyer remorse is not well mitigated using FOMO, but that seems to be the (unintentional?) strategy at times. (Evidence of this? Take a look at the practical effect of the two-class customer system that has been implemented, and look at how the 7.3 About page describes someone without the current library.)

Again, well said.

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 1699
JoshInRI | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 31 2016 11:21 AM

Happy New Year everyone.  

My news years wish is Logos revamp from the ground up...seriously.

Make it simpler and more intuitive to use with tools that are obvious and used by the regular churchgoer sitting in a round table Bible study getting ready to read aloud next.  Help with pronunciation and enable that person (us) to use the tools quickly and effectively.  When others turn and say "What tool is that you are using?".  We would then be proud to say aloud "Logos Bible software".

Right now....I am not.  I hope in the future I can say those words.  All to often I hear "We will come back to you" or "next".

God bless all the hardworking Faithlife crew....start anew please.

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