Accordance is the Bible software of choice when it comes to the Mac (I've discussed their cost competitiveness and their iPad application elsewhere), although it hasn't been without its quibbles. Thus, when the new version was released this week (along with a vastly superior website) I was excited to see some significant changes that go a long way to addressing some of my previous concerns. The upgrade itself is $49.99, but I think it is money well spent. Here's my top three reasons for upgrading.
#1: Significantly Improved Interface
One of my main concerns with Accordance in the past has been its outdated user interface - both in its usability (e.g., floating palettes galore) but also its general aesthetic qualities. Usability is extremely important when introducing new users, but also for existing users who want to get work done efficiently whilst being able to discover the potential of the application. The general aesthetic qualities are equally important because - quite frankly - I think software should be beautiful, especially when you spend hours at a time working with it. That all said, I'm delighted to report that Accordance 10 is an improvement from a usability and aesthetic perspective.
- Usability: In regards to usability it is wonderful to see a unified interface (i.e., no floating windows!), superior search (discussed below), full names for library modules (finally!), the ability to more easily filter library modules, and a reading mode for texts.
- Design: In regards to design, chunky window frames have disappeared, default font selection is better, there are a range of themes to choose from, library modules now show their covers, analytics charts look good, and photos float in lightboxes.
Overall, I think that these improvements alone justify the upgrade price. Is it perfect? No. The design and usability have been significantly rethought and polished, yet I still feel that they could go further (e.g., removing the scroll bar in the library window to be consistent with the other panes; system fonts consistent with default theme; the dock icon seems not as good as the previous one; close and settings buttons do not need to appear unless the cursor is hovering over the pane header; and there is still no native OSX full screen mode). In fact, I think they actually have some design principles in their help section (especially with reference to the dark header - where the toolbar could sit - and how the tabs integrate) that could be carried over into the actual application UI.
#2: Simplified and More Powerful Search
Search at times - despite being very powerful - is sometimes complex to use in Accordance (not to mention frustrating at times). That has changed in version 10, with the inclusion of a 'flex search' feature which will automatically find all inflected forms of verbs and all singular and plural forms of nouns (in English texts) without having to specifically telling it to (you can still do an exact search of course). The new Automated Search Modes will also make it simpler for people to set up searches, especially those of a more complex nature. In conducting everyday searches, the use of the selection device (for words or verse) is far more intuitive (akin to Mail). Finally, the inclusion of a "search all" function makes it really simple to search your entire library
#3: It's Coming to Windows
Okay, this isn't really a reason to upgrade, but this is really good news for those not on a Mac (I couldn't really recommend the emulator solution to people). Personally, I always find it difficult to recommend Bible software to Windows users but 'at some point' in 2013, they too will be able to purchase Accordance. Read more about it here.
Accordance 10 is a significant upgrade, especially with regards to usability and design that make the $49.99 upgrade price a good investment. Whilst there are still a few design niggles (scroll bars, no full screen mode etc), they're not overly significant and will probably be polished out in future versions. I've had a few crashes, but as is the case with earlyadopteritis, they will no doubt be worked out soon (the 10.0.1 update seems to have solved a few). Conclusion: Upgrade to Accordance 10.