[sword-devel] Bible Software Review

Eeli Kaikkonen eekaikko at mail.student.oulu.fi
Wed Apr 30 23:37:51 MST 2008

On Wed, 30 Apr 2008, Chris Little wrote:
> The SWORD Project for Windows is the only full-featured frontend for
> Windows. Indeed, it is probably the most full-featured frontend for
> Sword, period. You can complain about the interface. I think there are
> definitely easier to use and more polished programs (at least in some
> respects), but they are all lacking features.

It could help if you or someone else wrote a list of the wanted features
of a complete Sword frontend. I have hands full of work while porting
BibleTime to Qt4 but I have still implemented quite much new features or
code and could do it in the future, too.

> Regarding the review in general, I can't help thinking we were a bit
> cheated. We got low marks on support, though we've actually got very
> good, prompt support at present (between email & the forums).

sword-support works quite well (though could do even better) but I think
the problem is how the support is advertised. We have had several
discussion about the structure of the website. I don't blame people if
they find it difficult to find certain email addresses, link or
something other there. The forums is the more serious problem and I
think Chris remembers how I feel about it - my comment was almost
identical to that of the review writer. Honestly, I really think Chris
is wrong here. I have used different kinds of forums and know how they
should work, and the Sword forum is NOT active or attractive.

Again, I think our website is the key issue here. Just see the plethora
of websites of modern projects (software of other) and you notice that
"Forums" is one of the most visible links in the home page. People are
used to that and can't find our forums easily.

> His assessments of the UI & searching are partly legitimate and partly
> due to inadequate documentation (which is to say that he doesn't know
> about the search functionality) or his not reading the documentation.

Or the usability of the program is not the best possible. I have used
our Windows frontend and noticed that it has some features which are not
intuitive to use or are just hard to use because of badly organized
or suboptimally working UI.

I don't know if Chris has studied usability (or HCI) but I feel I have a
different kind of point of view. A basic rule of HCI is that the user is
never wrong. If something is difficult to use, the UI is responsible,
not the user. Designing a good UI may be more challenging than designing
a good software architecture. Good documentation is also important but
let's get real: if you test new software, do you read the docs first?
Most of the people don't bother reading documentation at all. They are
not to blame if the software could be more intuitive and easy to use.
The goal is to make software so easy that documentation is unnecessary.
The coder may say that the task is complicated so the UI must be also,
but that is mostly an excuse or lack of expertise.

	Eeli Kaikkonen (Mr.), Oulu, Finland
	e-mail: eekaikko at mailx.studentx.oulux.fix (with no x)

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