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James McAdams | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Sep 6 2017 4:08 AM

I'm doing this as separate post to feedback on the latest beta, as it's only tangentially related. It's not about what the beta is doing, or how it might better achieve it's current goals, but whether those goals have been properly prioritised.

I've been really pleased with all of the changes that have been made, but I'm a bit concerned about what seems to be getting passed over. The Logos Mobile app already had more bells and whistles than any other bible app I know of, but it lags behind almost every competitor in a few areas, and those areas are fundamental to many when choosing the right bible app.

The areas where Logos seems to lag behind the competition are:

  1. the inability to quickly search an open resource and see the number of hits. Performing searches and viewing results is almost always an inferior experience in Logos to any other app. I do love having the ability to search my entire library or my collections, but even then, the results are really hard to navigate - you can't always tell what book a given result appears in, or how many hits are in that title, etc
  2. The lack of offline information for interlinear texts
  3. The inability to view images full screen (with very few exceptions)
  4. Text-size being a universal setting rather than resource/language-specific - I can't make non-English texts larger without making all text larger.

To my mind, pretty much everything else is either equal or superior in Logos, I think, and there are so many unique features. It is my favourite bible app by a long way.

But the first two features are among the first things that many look for with a bible app, and the latter two wouldn't usually make it on to a wish-list because they're so widely taken for granted now - point 3 is (as far as I can tell) universally offered in reading apps outside of Logos, and point 4 is at least available in the most direct competitors apps.

My worry is that the new app is focusing on yet more (genuinely fantastic) additions, while overlooking the most important features that kinda should have been in place from the start.

Posts 10178
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 6 2017 5:39 AM

Interesting list. I remember my first mobile apps when the Windows mobile arrived many (many) moons ago. Now long dead. But on Sunday mornings I used the features you mention. I just thought, 'well, of course!'


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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 6 2017 5:49 AM

Yes I agree with James!

I tried to express similar sentiments, and a similar list, in this post from almost a year ago: https://community.logos.com/forums/p/132866/863659.aspx

Hopefully the recent closed beta with improvements to the tab experience is a sign that Faithlife will finally prioritize development of the "core experience" of the Mobile Apps, which needs a lot of work still.

Posts 666
James McAdams | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 6 2017 6:43 AM

Fr Devin Roza:

Hopefully the recent closed beta with improvements to the tab experience is a sign that Faithlife will finally prioritize development of the "core experience" of the Mobile Apps, which needs a lot of work still.

I hope so!

I do want to re-emphasise how much I love all the changes made in the update - it's beautiful, and the tab experience will have a profoundly positive influence on how I use the app - and adding additional windows was a tremendously popular feature request, so I shouldn't say it's the wrong priority - but I don't think it's as foundational.

Posts 10178
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 6 2017 7:46 AM

Fr Devin Roza:

Hopefully the recent closed beta with improvements to the tab experience is a sign that Faithlife will finally prioritize development of the "core experience" of the Mobile Apps, which needs a lot of work still.

Not to be too negative, but I suspect the desired features are limited further back into the server-concept, and the corporate-concept (mobile as a desktop extension).

I think, maybe 10-12 years ago, on a screen smaller than an iPhone, Gramcord greek interlinear, hebrew interlinear, and LXX interlinear. Plus NETS, and full  UBS handbook cheap. 2 decent lexicons, and a background commentary. Multi-pane, but not tabs. Really quite workable in Bible class and listening to sermons.


Posts 1097
Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 6 2017 8:58 AM

James McAdams:

The areas where Logos seems to lag behind the competition are:

  1. the inability to quickly search an open resource and see the number of hits. Performing searches and viewing results is almost always an inferior experience in Logos to any other app. I do love having the ability to search my entire library or my collections, but even then, the results are really hard to navigate - you can't always tell what book a given result appears in, or how many hits are in that title, etc
  2. The lack of offline information for interlinear texts
  3. The inability to view images full screen (with very few exceptions)
  4. Text-size being a universal setting rather than resource/language-specific - I can't make non-English texts larger without making all text larger.

1. Searching a resource is much easier in the newest beta (6.0), IMO. I just search an open resource in a manner of seconds. Unlike 5.xx, 6.0 presents the name of open resources at the top of the resource options, which is really nice. Thanks Logos!

However, you are right...it would be nice to see the number of hits for that resource.

3. Using 6.0, I navigated to a bunch of resources with images, and could view all of them in ful screen by long-pressing them. I have never tried this on 5.xxx, so I am unsure if this is a new feature to 6.0. But it works nice in 6.0. I could even zoom in on them and save them very easily.

4. Excellent point. Resource-specific settings would be nice. But perhaps universal settings are better, with the ability to save a setting specific to a particular resource. So if I increase the font size on a resource, perhaps the ability to lock that setting regardless of the universal setting might be better. It could be a little much to have to address size for every single resource. Generally the font size is something one would want constant, with exceptions (such as for non-English texts, in your case).

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College
Mac OS 10.13.6 High Sierra, Mid 2015 iMac, 2.5GHz i7, 32 gbRAM, 1tbSSD

Posts 640
Into Grace | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 6 2017 9:05 AM

James McAdams:

I'm doing this as separate post to feedback on the latest beta, as it's only tangentially related. It's not about what the beta is doing, or how it might better achieve it's current goals, but whether those goals have been properly prioritised.

I've been really pleased with all of the changes that have been made, but I'm a bit concerned about what seems to be getting passed over. The Logos Mobile app already had more bells and whistles than any other bible app I know of, but it lags behind almost every competitor in a few areas, and those areas are fundamental to many when choosing the right bible app.

The areas where Logos seems to lag behind the competition are:

  1. the inability to quickly search an open resource and see the number of hits. Performing searches and viewing results is almost always an inferior experience in Logos to any other app. I do love having the ability to search my entire library or my collections, but even then, the results are really hard to navigate - you can't always tell what book a given result appears in, or how many hits are in that title, etc
  2. The lack of offline information for interlinear texts
  3. The inability to view images full screen (with very few exceptions)
  4. Text-size being a universal setting rather than resource/language-specific - I can't make non-English texts larger without making all text larger.

To my mind, pretty much everything else is either equal or superior in Logos, I think, and there are so many unique features. It is my favourite bible app by a long way.

But the first two features are among the first things that many look for with a bible app, and the latter two wouldn't usually make it on to a wish-list because they're so widely taken for granted now - point 3 is (as far as I can tell) universally offered in reading apps outside of Logos, and point 4 is at least available in the most direct competitors apps.

My worry is that the new app is focusing on yet more (genuinely fantastic) additions, while overlooking the most important features that kinda should have been in place from the start.

Thanks, James for sharing these concerns. You made a very accurate assessment. 

Posts 666
James McAdams | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 6 2017 10:08 AM

Myke Harbuck:

1. Searching a resource is much easier in the newest beta (6.0), IMO. I just search an open resource in a manner of seconds. Unlike 5.xx, 6.0 presents the name of open resources at the top of the resource options, which is really nice. Thanks Logos!

I see the same options (Recent resources, Top Bibles, Collections, Downloaded resources) in the same order as in earlier versions.

Myke Harbuck:

3. Using 6.0, I navigated to a bunch of resources with images, and could view all of them in ful screen by long-pressing them. I have never tried this on 5.xxx, so I am unsure if this is a new feature to 6.0. But it works nice in 6.0. I could even zoom in on them and save them very easily.

I'm not able to open any more graphics full-screen in the current alpha than I could in 5.xx - maybe you've just been looking at one of the resources that was already supported? If that's the case, you shouldn't need to long-press - a tap will do? Maybe I'm missing something, but I just tried what you said with a couple of my illustrated resources without success.

Posts 128
Andrew116 | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 12 2017 5:17 PM

I wouldn’t use the word “concern” personally because I suspect the changes we are seeing in the new version are paving the way for many of these features. 

But just this morning I hit on exactly one of these frustrations

see picture bAbove

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Daniel Di Bartolo | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 18 2017 12:09 PM

James McAdams:
My worry is that the new app is focusing on yet more (genuinely fantastic) additions, while overlooking the most important features that kinda should have been in place from the start.

Hey James, 

I really appreciate you taking time to articulate some specific frustrations that you have. I think you've made a good assessment of how we compare with our competitors in some key areas. I also appreciate your positive feedback on the design changes we've been working on. :)

I wanted to give you some insight into why exactly we've chose to focus on usability instead addressing the issues you mentioned above. Earlier this year, we did a survey (got over 1,000 responses) from both Base Package owners as well as users who don't own a base package. Here's what they said: 

Survey data is just one of multiple tools we use to determine what we build-- but the feedback users gave us in this case really helped us zero in on our major work this year. Over 70% if users told us that they want a faster, easier to use app-- and that they want it more than additional features. That's what we've been working on-- improving the overall usability. Making the app easier to use benefits both the longtime power user of Logos, as well as those new to our ecosystem.

I'm responding here to give you a little context into our decision making on why we've prioritized usability. Now, I will tell you that there are multiple items on your list that we've decided to pursue in the near future. Improved offline functionality stands out to us as something that will be especially helpful for many users. 

When users like you take time to share with us, like you've done here-- it really helps us to validate or invalidate our assumptions on what we should be working on. Thanks again for taking time to dialogue with us. Shoot me an email at daniel.dibartolo@faithlife.com if you ever want to dive deeper into any of this. 

Posts 666
James McAdams | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 18 2017 12:36 PM

Thanks for responding!

For the record, I'm pretty sure that I chose UI on both of those questions.

In my head, functions that are already supported by the app but not in a user friendly manner wouldn't be a feature request - the app supports interlinear resources, but not very well. The app supports images, but not very well.

I appreciate that the improvements that I mention would be "new features" in a way, but I worried that if I put down "add more features" that it would be taken as a preference for things that the app cannot do at all, rather than things it can do, but not in a user-friendly manner.

It's trying to pick the best match out of the three, which isn't easy unless you know what is being considered under each option.

Posts 666
James McAdams | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 18 2017 12:56 PM

To give some examples of what I mean:

The thing that has put most of my friends off the Faithlife Study Bible app was the search function. In any other app, they could find a verse based on keywords fairly quickly, but in Logos they couldn't. I'm not looking for a new feature - Logos can search already. The speed of searching is slower than most, but not enough to be an issue if the results were easier to skim over. It's fixing the tool that already exists.

I know someone who uses Logos but went elsewhere to get an Atlas. To be fair, the Atlas in question wasn't available in Logos, but the decision was made easier because the other app let him zoom in on the maps, and Logos didn't. It wasn't even worth thinking about alternative resources - he'd already been "burned" by a similar-ish resource in Logos, so why bother?

Zooming would technically be a new "feature", but it's one so basic to iOS and Android that it feels more like a UI issue.

Offline interlinear would be a feature, but the feature would be "doing what you can already do, even if you don't have signal" - it's something you can do easily in other apps and it's possible in Logos but it doesn't work all of the time, even if you've downloaded the resource. It "feels like" a UI issue rather than a new feature.

Posts 10178
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 18 2017 1:10 PM

James, your struggle seems apropo. But I'd suspect Faithlife slurped up resources from mobile (if it ever had much).

It reminds me of a Suunto sports watch reviewer trying to match up to Garmin. Somewhere between the interface and features, Suunto was catching heat, as the reviewer tried to be fair.  You almost have to list basic features/interfaces, and then a check if Logos even had it.  Vs a 3-piece pie-question.


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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 18 2017 1:28 PM

Daniel Di Bartolo:

I wanted to give you some insight into why exactly we've chose to focus on usability instead addressing the issues you mentioned above.  

James McAdams:

In my head, functions that are already supported by the app but not in a user friendly manner wouldn't be a feature request - the app supports interlinear resources, but not very well. The app supports images, but not very well.... things it can do, but not in a user-friendly manner

Confirming what James was saying, in a survey like that I personally would classify James's suggestions as Usability / User Interface improvements. And, from my list of 15 items, I would classify 1-7, 9-10, and 12-13 as User Interface improvements (12 of 15!!). 

I don't consider them primarily as "new features," because they are things the app already does, but poorly, or in a way that feels broken or is quite difficult. Most of them are things that we run into very often, some of them every day. Making them work would improve the "usability" of the app.

Even something like my 9th suggestion (lead-follow on syncing), which obviously is a "new feature" on a certain level, for me is all about user interface. Because when we read with a Bible and a commentary together, the app doesn't work well often. It jumps around in very undesired ways when reading the commentary (as commentaries oftentimes have Milestone jumps). The user interface is "broken." Same with things like Hebrew lookups never having worked well enough to actually be usable. Trying to search for a word within the book you are actually reading? Good luck! And so on.  

These requests are all about making what the app already does finally work in a way that is usable and enjoyable. That's what I understand by "Improve the user interface." And that's why I opened my list of items speaking about improving the "core experience" of the apps (i.e. instead of adding new features). When I wrote that post, it was after a couple of years of frustration, as new tool after new tool was added to the app, while usability of the app remained poor on some very basic levels that we run into everyday when using the app. 

That being said, I still find it to be the best overall Bible app on the market, and the only one I regularly use!

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