Designing Bible+ 6 for iOS: Menus and Navigation

Posted by on 10/30/2015 in:

Our goal in designing Bible+ 6 for iOS was to provide you with an experience that delights you, makes studying easier, and stays out of the way so you can focus on God’s Word. Last time, we talked a bit about how we structured text layout so that you can read faster, understand easier, and remember better. In this post, we want to talk about how you move around in the app and access all of the various features.

The Menu

iphone-menu-blogSmartphones and tablets are rapidly changing. Screens are getting bigger and nicer. While it used to make sense to separate “My Stuff” and “Advanced Settings” into two completely different menus to save space, we find now that the added space for longer menus (among other factors) has made it a better practice to have one longer menu with headers than to have multiple menus.

One effect this has is that of simplifying the reading interface. When you tap to see the menu bar, you now see fewer icons and buttons to tap on. This means that you don’t have to think as much about what it is you that want to access.

We’ve also discovered that this change—at the same time as making the app feel less complicated—also makes features like highlights and notes easier to find. The briefcase icon worked well when we implemented it, but it wasn’t as discoverable for new users as we wanted.

The new menu serves as a central hub for doing virtually anything in the app. If you tap the menu button, you can do anything from access your highlights to opening a new book. This means that even if you tap the menu button accidentally when meant to open the navigation menu, you can still get to what you’re looking for from the main menu.

All in all, we think that this layout helps users get to what they’re looking for more quickly and without having to think as much or as hard about what they want to do and how to do it.

The Navigation Menu

Another important part of the app is the Navigation Menu (formerly the Verse Chooser). If the app were a car, I suppose the navigation menu might be the steering wheel; you can’t get where you want to go without it. In this update, we’ve done a lot to simplify and clarify the Navigation Menu, but we’ve been careful to maintain the same functionality and basic experience.

ipad-navigation-blog

The first thing you’ll notice is that there isn’t a dedicated button that says, “Go To” like there was before. To save space, we’ve taken the entire area in which we display your current location and we’ve turned it into a big button. This again simplifies the reading interface and makes the app work a bit more like most other reading apps you’re already used to using.

The second thing you’ll notice is that the layout feels like it has more room to breathe. Removing and reducing the heavy colors and borders makes the menu feel a lot feel a lot less cluttered. We also cleaned things up a bit; while you can still access all the verse chooser’s features, they’re now consolidated into a single menu.

We know that many of our users like the visual grouping of books into the Pentateuch, the wisdom literature, etc. You can still turn this on. Instead of shading the cells, we’ve designed a color scheme for the letters. We feel that this makes the distinction between books even clearer, while not sacrificing the open feel that keeps things from seeming cluttered.

Conclusion

It has been said that you can’t make something better without making it different. While Bible+ 6.0 might look a little different from what you’re used to, we’re convinced that it’s easier and more enjoyable to use. We hope you’ll think so too. Bible+ is always a work in progress; we’re always looking to make it better. Please continue to tell us what you like, as well as what you don’t like. We’re committed to crafting every detail of the app to give you the best experience possible.

18 Comments

  • Marcha says:

    I finally figured out how to file a note in a specific category/folder! Now I love it! My notes still only shows on 1/4 of the screen with white space under the created on date. Wish the note would fill up the split screen like before but so far the up date is great! Just taking a bit to break old habits. Used Olive Tree since 2009

    • Darius Walker says:

      I had the same issue until I realized that if you keep typing on the note, it expands and will fill the screen up. I’m thrilled that the took the “trash can” from the bottom of the notes view as I couldn’t count how many times I accidentally deleted a note. Not any more. I’m really loving the new app so far. Only thing I wish they would do is make the note categories available on the bottom split screen on the iPhone just like it is on the iPad version. This has never made sense to me.

  • Opeyemi Oluwadare says:

    This amazing, what a wonderful discovery. …, God will continue to enhance your wisdom.

  • Troy Mullens says:

    Really like the new version. Very slick. Looking forward to a seamless cut and paste to other whiteboards.

  • Mike Copeman says:

    The app does look a lot lighter and there are obvious advantages in the simplicity of the new structure. Aesthetically the new design is very pleasing. I do feel, however, that having history so readily available had benefit when studying and for compiling a list of scripture references when using a tablet to teach from. Having said that the history button did get in the way on occasion. Perhaps I will become more adept but the double finger tap for quick access to the history is not a reliable functionality. Broadly the changes are an improvement, thank you.

  • Jorge Facusse says:

    Notes, do not expand full screen.

  • Rose B says:

    The little letters are not matching with the bible passage. This does not make bible study easier like you keep posting. Can you fix this? I wish I could post a pic to show you what I mean but you can email if you want. I wish I could go back to the old version. I found it so easy to follow and study. Please help. Thanks

  • Evang. Samuel Daramola says:

    Great work – no doubt, and I pray the Almighty God bless and reward you all in Jesus name. Amen!!!
    However, this new version surely just can’t match the structure, layout and the design of the immediate prior Olive tree Bible iOS version.
    I upgraded by mistake and wishing to downgrade my to the previous version I had on my iPad, as this new one take a noticeable time to open Bible pages or commentaries frequnetly displaying ‘loading..’.
    The Previously olive tree default background especially makes a feel as if I’m reading a physical literal paper version not this kind of strangely white background which we now have in this version 6. This version 6 is not too different from any other Bible app out there, but the version 5 excel them all!
    How I wish you can retain the default literal Bible-like colour background we previously have , in this new version.
    While I thank & praise the Lord for you hard work on this latest version, I honestly can liken it with Windows 8 which dipped Microsoft sale until they had to quickly come up with Windows 10 because from users experience window 7 is far more friendlier & better than window 8.
    Kindly restore the old default background or email me with the link to downgrade to the immediate prior version of olive tree Bible.
    Thanks and God bless!!!
    Shalom!

  • William Gordon says:

    The new version has made a great Bible app almost unusable. I hardly know where to begin. I loved the previous version. This new version has made me start looking for a more user friendly Bible app.

  • Sword Smith says:

    The previous version screwed up many of my highlights (> 10K)! It has been more than a year and I am still fixing many of them. Please consider putting the Highlights at the Split Window so that I can easily fix any highlights that have been erroneously updated by the previous version. This version is excellent! Thank you.

  • DORIS PENNEY says:

    Notes when opened in own window waste alot of space with the tags and the created and updated sections. takes up more space than the notes itself.. Also when copying a verse. It gets annoying when the copy define menu pops up and i cant get it to paste in the notes. Use the Notes alot and I find these a real hinderance.

  • Ken K says:

    Please bring back an icon for quick access to lookup Bible books and verses. yes I know it is just one more click…but it’s one more click.

  • Jeff O'Dell says:

    With latest update, the NASB Strongs bible is glitchy. Several typos noted (spacing btwn words gone) and the footnote/comments numbers and letters don’t match the verse when touched. It seems like all the notes are tagging a couple chapters early. If I touch a note (superscript number or letter) in chapter six of a book, I get the corresponding pop-up for notes two chapters (or so) before the verse where I tapped the note. I also really miss the old page-face looking interface. The version 6 update seems like a big step backwards in user interface and overall quality. I can live with the less pleasing appearance and function, but is there a fix for the mis-aligned footnotes?

  • Donald Keiffer says:


    Darius Walker:

    I had the same issue until I realized that if you keep typing on the note, it expands and will fill the screen up. I’m thrilled that the took the “trash can” from the bottom of the notes view as I couldn’t count how many times I accidentally deleted a note. Not any more. I’m really loving the new app so far. Only thing I wish they would do is make the note categories available on the bottom split screen on the iPhone just like it is on the iPad version. This has never made sense to me.

    I also would like to see the note categories available on the bottom split screen on the iPod Touch just like it is on the iPad version. It is so hard to scroll thru all the notes to find a particular one when you have hundreds of notes.

  • Colette says:

    is there any way in my split screen on my iPhone that i can get categories? I can access notes but my notes are in categories and i can’t get them in the split screen. Thanks
    Also would be great to be able to insert images or screenshots into our notes!

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