The Bible App

This project was primarily born out of the fact that I couldn't find a good bible app that would make me happy. Everything I looked at seemed uncomfortable to look at or it was lacking features that I thought were key. I decided to design my own bible app.

Background

The Bible app stems from issues that I have found when trying to use other bible apps. When I'm reading the bible, I find it necessary to quickly switch between translations, and to be able to read without distractions and clutter. My goal for this app was to let the reader have the easiest time possible while reading.

The Search

My biggest qualm with the current bible apps is the lack of solid navigation, so my first goal was to redesign the way that users could look through the bible. Often times, apps will have both a search bar and a page where all the books are listed in order. I decided that this kind of search was redundant for my purposes and scrapped the book list entirely. Now I could focus on and refine the search entirely.

Because the search was only navigation for the entire bible, it needed to be comprehensive and be able to access everything. With this in mind, I created what the search page should look like. The search is able to access books, individual verses, and the lexicon.

I realized that typing on mobile is generally slow compared to typing on a keyboard, so I tried to optimize time being having an autofill implemented. It made it a lot easier to find the results that were needed within a couple seconds rather than ten or fifteen.

Legibility

The next thing that I wanted to flesh out was the experience of reading on a mobile device. I decided that the body text should take up the entirety of the screen, with a small marker of where the user was in the book at the top of the screen. With the entire screen to work with, it became much easier to figure out line length, type faces, leading etc.

Because the iPhone size that I worked with is so skinny, I had to adjust the size and typeface to match. I couldn't use the ideal line length of 65 characters because the typeface would end up being too small to read at that size, so I had to settle at the smaller end of acceptable characters per line. The average characters per line ended up being 45, which although is a bit small, is still acceptable.

The typeface that I chose was Sabon. I knew that I wanted to have a serif typeface because it kept the classical feel of the Bible and also increased legibility. With a retina screen, serif fonts become much more legible and usable. After many type studies, I chose Sabon as my serif because of the white space between words. I felt that it was more pleasant to look at, and that it was easier to read especially with the verse numbers occasionally breaking the flow.

Internal Navigation

I had figured out the navigation for the bible itself, but I had yet to figure out the flow of the app itself, so that's what I worked on next. I knew that I didn't want to have a menu bar anywhere, because I felt that it would be a distraction and take up too much space. I opted, instead, to use gestures to reach different spaces of the app.

Pulling downwards will always bring up the search bar in any space that the user is in. I decided to make this a universal gesture because the search is the most important navigation aspect in the bible app. The body text of the bible is the default space that the user will start in, so I chose that as the middle point between the other spaces. Swipe to the right from the text and the user will see his history page. I chose this gesture specifically because it generally means going back. I thought that it worked well with the history so the user could quickly go to other verses or the lexicon to cross examine what he was reading at the time. On the other side, swiping to the left will take the user to the options page. From my own use, I could see that the most usage from the options page would actually be changing the translation of the text. Because of that, the translation option is at the very top of the page for constant positioning. The plus icon that the user can see on most pages is to pull up another tab. The new tab lets the user read through two passages at once.

Takeaway

Because this project started from me pointing out things that I didn't like in specific bible apps, my process started with me redesigning key things first. If I were to start over, it would probably be better for me to start with the app as a whole instead of individual parts. It might have helped the final product flow better and seem more cohesive as a single product.