Having the Nokia N9 in my hands as my daily mobile is pretty neat. In part because I’ve always liked the Swipe UI that Nokia released with it. There’s except for the newly released BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices, there isn’t anything else like it. Add to that the open source nature of the platform, and even with not-as-much-support, with a little bit of learning, there’s some neat things that could be done with this platform.
One of the projects that I want to get back into is my All Books Project. That was a project to create a UI for a Bible reader that addressed reading and spatial interfaces that are key to how I personally learn. With the N9, I’m seeing that I’m not going to be able to approach that project in the same way and so what I’d like to do is do something that is a bit beyond the normal framework of an app, and takes advantage of the fact that my N9 is usually connected online, and I usually want to do more with content besides read it.
Usually, I want to read the Bible when I’m in church or Bible study. There are times when I want to reference it outside of that, for example when talking with folks or writing, but will normally use a search to do so. Therefore, I don’t so much as need an app, but for my mobile to be an engine to getting me the content that I’m looking for, and then appending it to whatever canvas that I’m working with.
- I sit in service and my mobile is opened to the search pane (I can use the app Situations to do this auto-magically)
- As I begin to type the scripture being read, I get a listing of results filtering until I am done typing (think: auto-complete)
- I tap on that verse and am asked to which app or service that I want to send it to (in some cases that would be Evernote, others would be Twitter or SMS)
- If I choose Evernote, it opens a new Note with the title of the note being the day/time and then pastes the entire chapter/verse that I was searching for
- I go back to the search box and choose another Scripture, and this time I’m asked if I want to append the existing note or start a new one
In all of this time, I basically only interacted with:
- the seach engine on my device which queries content on the device and content online
I never opened a Bible reader. I never signed into an account after getting into that bible reader. I never clicked another button asking to export it to Evernote, or send it via email to Evernote.
That’s the kind of All Books experience that I can see from using this N9, and one where the platform bends itself to that kind of usage. I call it Bible-as-a-Service (BaaS). Basically where the bible is served to your container of choice as a service, and this its up to whatever was programmed into your device (or your skills in programming your device) into making something happen.
Breaking Down that Usage Scenario
Something like this cannot happen unless my N9 was connected already to a Bible-as-a-Service entity (think: Logos’ Biblia, are there any others?). Thankfully, the N9 (and BlackBerry’s devices) have this neat Accounts feature where I could always be signed into my account with them and then those services would be accessible throughout nearly all of the device.
That active context filtering as I type would be something that’s supported on the device, but also the BaaS would have to be able to return queries quickly as well. It cannot be something that causes a lag on the device, especially when the person isn’t finished typing the item.
That aformentioned Account piece would factor into the abiltiy to export those results into a Sharing panel for other apps (Android devices are great at this part). But, think about it being the case that you are interacting with the content of the Bible, but the canvas of where you put it would be up to you. I can imagine here that some kind of usage agreements would be put in order for some translations, i.e., you can only copy/paste/export so much content in a session or that you can only do the location but need to point via URL to the content itself.
I like Evernote as a notes resource, but you might have others that you use. Thinking of the N9, the best items are the Evernote client and email for this kind of content, with SMS/MMS being a close second for sharing and additional notes.
Then there needs to be some kind of memory function provided to the platform, possibly from the use of the API, that ensures that you are making a single note that might have several verses to it, not several notes of one verse each.
Potential Project Direction?
It sounds like a great idea honestly, and one that really kills the idea of app and gets more into that blended space where there’s platforms that work for you, services that work for the provider, and content that’s usable by all. There aren’t too many content providers or media entities in this faith space that could even do something like this either. Its really a matter of being able to make the case the the content is worth more being provided as a service than it is as a destination. That’s not normal thinking by any measure.
If anyone wants to go about perusing this project, let’s chat. Even on a “dead” platform, this kind of thing might be pretty fun.