BibleTech08: Day 2 – Session 02, The ESV & Bible Usability

Stephen Smith led this next session in room 1 that I attended and you can view the slides he used in this pdf document. Stephen works for Crossway Books and Bibles and also writes the ESV Bible blog. After visiting the blog I learned there is even an iPhone-optimized ESV Bible that I plan to add as a bookmark in Safari on my iPhone. The ESV has actually been my preferred translation for the last couple of years and I was happy to find these additional resources.

Stephen asked the question, “How do we keep the Bible usable as we bump into technology?” He presented a bit of history and where we are at now and then had several slides (that you can see in the PDF document) showing their usability map that captures the demographics of people who read the Bible and then presents a multitude of answers for questions about everything related to people reading the Bible, such as:

  • What are they reading?
  • How do they annotate?
  • What are the physical features of the Bible they read?
  • Why did someone buy the Bible?
  • Where do people keep the Bible when it is not in use?
  • and many more questions…

They use these multitude of responses to try to figure out how to make the Bible usable for people. Stephen said that Bibles should work how people expect. This is the real challenge for electronic Bibles and the different tools we use to read these texts. You can check out the results and findings from their usability study at this site. It is definitely worth a look as it opens your eyes to all of the different situations involved with people reading the Bible.

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