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Blog / Interview: Rachel Barach on the New Bible Gateway

Interview: Rachel Barach on the New Bible Gateway

Bible Gateway's general manager Rachel Barach.

Bible Gateway’s general manager Rachel Barach.

Why is Bible Gateway launching a new site now? What new features can you expect to find in it? We recently unveiled the public beta of the next Bible Gateway website. We thought it would helpful to talk to Rachel Barach, Bible Gateway’s general manager, about the direction behind new site.

Why is Bible Gateway launching a new design now?
Rachel Barach: It’s important to us that Bible Gateway be a favorite and frequently-visited tool for people who want to read or study the Bible. To achieve that, we know the site needs to be easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.

Recent advancements in technology have changed the ways people interact with Internet-enabled devices; we’ve also gathered a lot of new data about how our visitors read and engage with the Bible. These realities—and the fact that we haven’t significantly updated the Bible Gateway experience in over two years—convinced us that it was time to refresh the site.

Why are you holding a public beta of the new Bible Gateway before it officially launches?
RB: We always launch a new site design in “beta” first. During this time, the new site is publicly available, but does not serve as the “default” or main Bible Gateway site. It sits in the background of the current site and allows us to invite people to visit and use it and provide feedback. We really treasure that feedback, and use it to continue improving the site design and fixing bugs or errors, right up until we launch the site fully to the public.

How would you describe Bible Gateway’s new design?
RB: Clean and simple. We’ve worked hard to reduce unnecessary clutter on Bible reading pages, and I think it’s made the experience of searching and reading Scripture on Bible Gateway simpler and more focused.

We’ve kept all the features people love and use every day, and we’ve also added important new functionality to the Bible reading experience; but we’ve also worked hard to keep the pages from becoming cluttered or cumbersome. The overall feel of the site gives me the sense of a credible, reliable, and sophisticated Bible search engine, which is exactly what Bible Gateway is.

I am also proud of how the new brand elements—the logo, and some mild revisions to our brand colors—have been incorporated seamlessly into the new look.

No major existing Bible Gateway features are going away—but what new features have been added?
RB: From a design perspective, I am most excited about the responsive nature of the new pages. Being responsive means that the web experience will work beautifully no matter what screen size is being utilized. So whether you’re looking at Bible Gateway in a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone, the experience will be consistent, yet tailored for each specific device. For many of our mobile app visitors, being able to use the full Bible Gateway website so easily in a mobile device browser will be a welcome change.

Perhaps more importantly, I am excited about the launch of user accounts. Now, visitors to Bible Gateway can create their very own Bible Gateway account, which will allow them to permanently preserve preferences (like default Bible translation), write and save notes on specific Bible passages, and highlight and save specific verses. Users can also now purchase digital reference and study books to augment the free reference material we’ve always offered. All of these personalizing features will be saved to the user’s account, and can be kept private, or shared with friends via social media or email. People will truly be able to make Bible Gateway their own.

What is Bible Gateway’s most popular feature?
RB: Search, without a doubt. People use Bible Gateway to search and find Scripture, and our Bible search engine is the best in the industry. We’re very proud to be keeping our search tools front and center on every page in the new design, so visitors will always be able to quickly find what they are looking for.

How can churches use Bible Gateway for the benefit of their congregations?
RB: By reminding people that there are resources out there—resources like Bible Gateway—that make the Bible easy to access, read, and even study, wherever they are. Encouraging people to make a daily habit of spending time in God’s Word can sometimes be easier when there is a free and easy-to-use resource for Bible text, audio, and study right at their fingertips. But even lay-leaders and pastors can use Bible Gateway—with its cross-reference tools, study resources, and parallel translation viewing, creating and refining sermons and small group studies is easier than ever.

Filed under Beta Website, Interviews