In addition to the occasional book review (I posted one earlier this week) I have reviewed a couple of Bibles in the last year at the request of Bible Gateway. Regular readers know about the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid and as a partner The Master’s Table posted reviews of The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids and The Jesus Bible. A few weeks ago Bible Gateway asked Blogger Grid members to review the new website design at Bible Gateway. The new design has since rolled out so if you use that resource or follow our links from here then you have probably seen the changes.
According to Bible Gateway, the new design offers a cleaner, easier to read screen. To me, it looks like they took controls from the top and moved them to the left side of the screen. I don’t see anything that makes it easier to read. The difference was supposed to really shine when you start adding side-by-side parallel translations on the same screen. So let’s add NKJV next to the ESV text in each format and take a look:
That’s a two translation parallel view on the classic layout. I have scrolled down the screen a bit, rolling the website banner and user controls off the top of the screen. The Bible text takes up nearly the full width of my laptop screen. Now look at the same text side-by-side in the new format:
The control panel to the left collapsed which makes the text field a little wider. But look at all that business to the right, and at how narrow the fields are that contain text. I could add three if not four translations side-by-side on the classic site before they get that narrow. This makes parallel study more difficult, not easier, in my humble opinion. Side by side translations, which is how I’ve been writing my sermons for years, was easier on the classic site than the redesign. Which is ironic considering the Bible Gateway claims.
Now, this next difference is going to be a picky little thing but it’s my picky little thing. On the left-hand sidebar of this blog (and if you’re reading this in an email or blog aggregator now would be a good time to pop in to the actual website) you see the Bible Gateway verse of the day. The text is in ESV followed by a reference and that reference is linked to that verse on the Bible Gateway website. Here is how the verse of the day for today’s date would appear on the classic site:
And here is the landing page, the very first thing you see, when visiting Bible Gateway today:
In addition to the fact that the page just doesn’t look as good, the reference appears before the verse. Like I said, a picky little thing. But that’s how we normally display verses in print. If you share a verse on social media, make a graphic for a slideshow or write a verse at the bottom of a get well soon or birthday card, we write the verse and then add a reference. It would be the same if displaying a quote; first the words and then an attribution. If you click the link in the left-hand sidebar it will take you to the new Bible Gateway site not the classic site. The classic site is an option you can choose – at this time. When I visit the regular site, without getting technical, it recognizes me and displays the ESV text since that is my preference. If I click the link in the upper left of the screen for classic site those recognition protocols are no longer in place and the site defaults to NIV. So, to copy and paste the verse of the day the way I like it and in ESV, I have to go to the website, click on classic, change the translation and then copy the verse and reference. I have discovered a work around but it still involves a few steps. I now go to the regular site, copy the reference and verse, paste it into my editor twice and then cut it so the verse comes before the reference. Like I said, I know it’s a picky little thing but it’s my picky little thing. And it’s not the only reason I prefer the classic view, namely that the side-by-side translation parallel was better before.
For the time being the new format of Bible Gateway and the classic site are both available. I don’t know if it will always be like that or just while users compare the two and get a feel for the new design. While I’m giving the new site design a negative review let me be clear: I have been using Bible Gateway for years and will continue to do. I will continue to include links on the sidebars and link scripture references I use when blogging to Bible Gateway. It has been and continues to be an excellent resource available anywhere I have my laptop or phone.
One final thought: since I mentioned my phone there at the end I was going to include a screenshot of the phone app. When I opened Bible Gateway on my Samsung (Android) smart phone, I noticed this little detail:
The reference for today’s verse shows two verses, Matthew 5:14 and 16. But on the website, new and classic formats, only verse 14 is displayed. The mobile app shows verses 14 and 16. I don’t know what that means but it is interesting. To me anyway.