Review of BibleWorks 9: Layout and Workflow

One of my favorite changes from BW6 is the modified layout of the program. On opening the program, the user sees three separate windows. These sections are named for their function: Search, Browse, and Analysis.

This intuitive design reflects the process involved in the task of exegesis. First, you locate your text, next you examine it, and then you use tools to begin further analysis of specific textual features. These separate “sandboxes” are connected, but they also maintain their edges in order to allow you to hone in on the particular data you need to access.

For example, the Search window displays your search term and a list of the “hits” that your search generates. Clicking one any one of these references automatically adjusts what you see in the Browse window but does not alter your Analysis window.

The Analysis window syncs with whatever you’re pointing to in the Browse window. The text under review is located in the middle of the screen, with the search column to the left, and the given resources to the right. The Browse window also clearly displays the text (either the primary text or a series of comparative translations/versions).

The windows themselves are also adjustable. So, if I would like to quickly see the sentence context of my search results, I can make the Search window wider. Then, if I’m accessing a resource, I can do the reverse and increase the space of the Analysis window. This is particularly helpful when accessing a lengthy lexicon entry (e.g., in BDAG or HALOT) or viewing a manuscript image.

These small structural features make BW9 easy for me to use, and they also create a helpful workflow when I’m studying a passage at length.

In terms of user experience, this modified layout is one of the most significant enhancements to the program from earlier versions (at least BW6 and earlier).

June 17, 2015


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