Change…

Screenshot of browser interface to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org

No matter what change occurs, someone will complain. I try not to be one of those people.

Other times change is amazing and awesome. For example, a recent purchase of a new TV gave us much easier access to all kinds of media, including an internet browser (the Silk Browser) we could use on our TV. Things were great, being able to bring the scriptures and Gospel Study aids up on our relatively large TV screen. It was pretty amazing. We could read while the audio read aloud to us. When there were embedded videos, we could click and play them. When the study guide suggested we read something, we could click and have the reference pop up on the screen for all to see.

No fumbling through fragile pages. No worry that someone in the room was using their phone or device for something else. Ability to scroll through content in a manner to ensure the less-able members of the group could follow along.

Then three things happened.

First, we got to May in the “Come, Follow Me” guide and I realized there was no way to scroll the left side. I quickly realized I could work around this for our continued study by signing in (the TV auto-filled my username and password) and using bookmarks to keep my place in both the “Come Follow Me” guide and the scripture reading. [Today I noticed this same “feature” when I use the website interface of a laptop computer, hence the post.]

Second, someone put a “Feedback” box on the middle of the right side of the screen. That would normally be fine, except that is where the next page arrow lives. After sufficient anger to prompt at least one instance of attempting to comment using the awkward TV remote “keyboard” interface, I figured out that I could click on the “Related Content” icon at the far upper right corner and open the side window, pushing the next page arrow out from under the “Feedback” box. After several days, I noted that the Feedback box had shifted off the next page arrow.

I was feeling like I had mastered things. Then came the day when I attempted to scroll down the page. And nothing happened. By this time the orange “Feedback” box had disappeared.

Now, this could all be a subtle way of getting us to use paper copies of the scriptures and manuals. Unfortunately, other websites or TV-provided media work just fine, so these “features” don’t succeed in dissuading folks from plastering their faces to the TV screen for other content.

I’m moderately sure that someone thinks the updated interface is wonderful. And maybe it’s just that I am slow and technologically backwards. If you know how to make the Church website sing and disgorge content on devices that don’t have a touch screen, please share!

If you have also run into challenges, please share what you do to study scriptures in light of the challenges. For example, my husband (who didn’t really like me using the TV for family scripture study) reads his verses from the Thomas Wayment edition of the New Testament. My daughter reads from her mini-quad with several ribbons. And I use my phone or tablet or (gasp) paper scriptures.

This entry was posted in General by Meg Stout. Bookmark the permalink.

About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

6 thoughts on “Change…

  1. I read my verses from the Wayment translation, too. Three other family members use the Gospel Library app on their phones, and one uses a cheapo Seminary edition Bible.

  2. Have you tried using Chromecast? You can use your device to “cast” your screen to the TV and then have full access to scroll, etc through your phone. The TV essentially mirrors the phone as you type, scroll etc.

    Much more user friendly as virtually no one develops content for tv browsers.

  3. I can understand people not developing for Silk, but the same non-scrolling “feature” exists for the Chrome browser on my computer. Though I can scroll through the actual chapter.

    I have dongles that can connect my phones/tablets as HDMI input. I was just thinking of the potential gospel student who doesn’t have all my toys and is limited to accessing gospel library through their TV. If your blindish, that makes a big difference (versus print).

    Thus speaks the mother who created an entire blog site so her autistic kid could do the young womanhood activities and projects with website-enabled point and click ease. Speaking of which, that blog site may now be broken – last I noticed, thousands of visitors had used it. Good thing that program is now a thing of the past.

  4. Silk is a Chromium fork and therefor almost identical to Chrome minus and plus some features.

    I can understand the frustration. Web design is job where you almost always get the blame. It’s not easy given the wide variety of different devices and screen sizes as well as software.

    But if a website analyzes the screen size of the device it is displayed on it can intelligently decide what elements to display or skip in order to give the viewer and user the best experience. However this functionality is broadly underused and often completely neglected. The result is frustration in front of the screen (i.e. you and me).

    There is no fast solution. But keep telling the website owner (i.e. the church in this example) what is working and most importantly what is not working. That is the only way to at least hope for improvements in the future.

    Often you could switch to using the accompanying app. For devices like FireTV from Amazon which is Android based most Android apps will work. You can “sideload” them to your device which is a somewhat complex task for the not so computer savvy. But maybe you can ask somebody for help. However sideloading is not an option for other devices like AppleTV oder most TVs.

  5. I was able to go to millennialstar.org and navigate around and post this comment. But I’m not able to do it at the Church website. At least not in either the silk or the firefox browsers.

  6. I know I have challenges adapting to changes in technology. One thing that I’ve found personally frustrating on the Church website is that when I print a Conference talk or Ensign article, the footnotes don’t print anymore. I have to copy them from the right side of the page and paste them onto a Word document. If there is a better way, I’d appreciate knowing it.

    I use all sorts of resources when doing Gospel study, but ultimately I find myself getting the answers right in the scriptures themselves. We really are blessed with much.

Comments are closed.