We’ve covered a lot of Bible apps here at ChurchMag and too often we focus heavily on the functionality built into these tools. Features like Bible reading plans, the ability to add notes, export notes, commentaries, sharing verses and so on. These are all great and we’ve seen some huge steps forward there, but sometimes I wonder if this has lead to a neglect of the design of these tools.
Well NeuBible is a new (pun not intended) Bible app from a small indie development team that takes a radically different approach to many others and focuses on design first.
What is NeuBible
NeuBible is a Bible app from the two man team of Kory Westerhold, a UI designer at Apple and Aaron Martin, a design director at Yahoo. Their app came from looking round at the different Bible apps people were using and thinking that the design could be vastly improved.
This makes their app focus on a few key features and a beautiful reading experience. This is no feature heavy tool with a million different translations but there are a couple of more features in development (bookmarking and note taking) as well as the hope to add more version if the app does well.
The interface is minimal and makes good use of swiping and pulling interface elements into the screen such as pulling the screen to the left to show a chapter selection tool on the right, or scrolling the book of the Bible left to change between chapters too. Swiping to the right from the Bible text opens up the main menu bar. All simple and easy and hidden from view to avoid distractions.
The obvious main advantage of NeuBible is the reading experience. When you get to the verse you want, you are left with beautiful text on a clear background. You can change this to be larger or smaller depending on your preference as well as being able to adjust the font choices, spacing and even change to a night mode to suit the time of day.
These high quality fonts and disappearing interface (with easy swipes to reach) remind me a lot of the experience on the RSS reader Unread (also iOS only) which focuses on the content.
This makes perfect sense in a Bible app, the content in those pages is the most important thing and so giving it top priority and ensuring that nothing gets in its way is very powerful.
A really brilliant feature is the double tap to search. Simply double tapping on the verse you are in opens up a search bar where you can start typing the text of a verse (e.g. “for God so loved…” or a reference to jump to it (“e.g. john 3:16”) this is perfect for that moment during a church service where the pastor suddenly jumps half way across the bible. You don’t have to tap a hamburger menu, click on the Bible, click on the chapter and finally click on the verse (by which point the pastor is already on another verse). Instead, you double tap, type and go.
If you love all the added features in YouVersion or other more powerful apps then this will disappoint you, at least at first. You can highlight and copy verses but you can’t easily share a verse (with or without a fancy background) as you can in YouVersion. You also don’t have social notes, Bible reading plans or a whole host of other features. However, you may find that the benefit in the reading experience outweighs those losses so I would certainly implore you to try before you dismiss it.
The main criticism that I know many readers will have for this app is that it is iOS only at the moment. I don’t think it is a huge surprise for an Apple designer to develop an iOS app first, however, they have stated that they want to expand into further version and further languages (and versions). Their main issue is they need money to do that and the best way to get money to continue its development is to let it generate money.
[Video via Vimeo]
NeuBible is a beautifully crafted Bible app that puts the reading experience first and foremost. Although it is feature limited, the search feature and distraction free minimalism make it an incredible app. This is now my first choice of Bible app and I can’t wait for it to grow and expand into more devices and platforms.
– Value for Money
Neubible supports iOS and can be found here.
[Editor’s Note: Neubible is 50% off this week!]