Wednesday, June 21, 2017

YouVersion Footnote Linking

Project Status: Feature Request

The App

If you are looking for a Bible app the one from YouVersion is a really nice one, I recommend checking out. It is free with no ads and is always being updated with new and cool stuff. The tweaks and ideas that follow refer to the app as of version 7.6.1 on Android devices.


If you haven't found the setting yet, you might find this interesting. There is a setting in the Bible app that let's you toggle footnotes on/off. Not all translations and versions of the Bible will have footnotes, but for the ones that do an icon will show up inline with the scripture.

Touching on the footnote icon will expand it to provide you with more information related to the verse in which the footnote was nested.

The Problem

The problem with footnotes, or the inconvenience I should say rather, is that often times the footnote is simply a reference to another verse in the Bible.

The reason that is an issue is because the reference to another verse is not linked to the actual verse in the Bible app.

The text is also not selectable or shareable, meaning there is no option to grab the text of the footnote and use it to more easily find the verse in the Bible.

Current Flow

The current user flow of the app is as follows:
  • Expand a footnote.
  • Memorize the verse reference.
  • Either search for the reference or navigate to it.
  • When done, navigate back to where you came from.

Hopefully you remembered the original verse you started at, because there is no way to easily get back to it otherwise, at least not currently.


The solution comes in two parts really and here they are:

  1. Implementation of the recently posted about "YouVersion Study Tabs Feature Request" idea. In short, this would allow for having multiple sections of the Bible open at once. Making studying easier and ideas like linked footnotes even better.
  2. Hyperlinking the verse reference in the footnote so that when touched it opens a new tab at that verse's position. Thus making digging in and studying easier for the user.

Alternate Solution

Since the "YouVersion Study Tabs Feature Request" hasn't actually been implemented yet, here's a solution for handling linkable footnotes until that awesome day when tabs show up:

  1. Hyperlink the verse reference in the footnote so that when touched it jumps directly to verse mentioned in the footnote.
  2. Show a persistent notification-like banner near the top or bottom of the app informing the users of where they jumped to this verse from.
  3. The users then have the option to touch the banner and jump back to the original verse, or to close the banner and continue from where they are now.