A Greek couple, professional digital nomads who are living and working around Europe, has taken on the gigantic task of creating the most user-friendly digital version of the Holy Bible to be available online.
Frustrated by their own online experience with the most famous book in human history, Christina Athanasiou and George Liapis are using their enormous experience in the digital field to create a site that, as they promise, will be the simplest way to read the Bible on the web, with an unrivaled user experience.
Called Blesstype, their digital beta version of the Bible is already live online for readers to browse through. Their goal is to create a digital place where you can read the Holy Bible for free, with large print and an easy-on-the-eyes typography for all audiences.
Digital Bible that is beautiful user-friendly
But why redo something that is already widely available on the internet? “I wanted to read the Apocalypse on-line. I soon realized that all the web sites and web applications — that have dozens of millions of users a month — are really badly made,” said Liapis in speaking to Greek Reporter.
Liapis, a digital revenue manager at the Times of Malta, says he gave up after just ten minutes. “I was tired. It was not just the typography and design that was all wrong, but also the text was interrupted by ads. All the sites I browsed that were devoted to the Holy Bible seem to have as their only interest making money out of the ads.”
This sparked the idea of creating something of their own, using their experience in the digital field. Soon a demo website was born which received rave reviews from fellow colleagues and marketing veterans, and they started exploring how to expand it.
Athanasiou is a former team leader at Facebook for Business, based in Portugal, and was in charge of a several million-euro advertising account there. That’s how she came to meet Liapis, since the company he was working for was one of her largest clients.
The couple currently divide their time between Portugal and Malta; they are true digital nomads, working entirely remotely. “There is no paper in our house. We are digital to the bone,” Athanasiou jokingly remarks.
She is now well aware that the project they have taken on is a mammoth one. She has taken on the task of uploading the text to the website, which is designed by her husband. There are over 670 languages for the Bible and over 2,000 versions of it — a total of more than 1.2 trillion words’ worth of data, she says.
“No matter how famous a version will be, Blesstype will host it,” Athanasiou explains. “Our goal is to bring to everyone an unparalleled reading experience in every different version that exists, because the most famous book in history needs to have an equivalent online presence and a digital legacy for future generations,” she says.
Plans for Blesstype
Athanasiou adds that most of the versions are in the public domain and therefore free to use, but many actually have copyrights, for which the pair must acquire the proper license.
Blesstype has been enthusiastically reviewed by potential investors who are interested in the project. Liapis says that the Orthodox monastic community of Mount Athos has shown exceptional interest. He also plans to discuss the project with the Vatican.
But as Athanasiou points out, the pair value their independence as well. “We want to maintain our autonomy and we would rather not have an investor giving us deadlines and instructing us how to do it,” she states firmly. “We want this project to succeed because it’s a life dream.”
The pair run a Google campaign that allowed the public to view Blesstype. They also decided to start a crowd-funding campaign at Kickstarter, so they built the site properly and just as they envisage it.
“I do not believe that our project will ever end,” says Liapis, who outlines to Greek Reporter some of the special features, such as text to audio and virtual reality (VR), he plans to add to Blesstype. “I would like every user to have a personalized experience of the Bible through the website.”
“All of us may have dreamt of Genesis as described in the Bible — but imagine the experience of wearing your VR set and being part of the Genesis, the creation of the cosmos! Be part of all those things that the Bible so elegantly describes,” he says, adding that Blesstype can reproduce all this in excellent quality.
“The reader would feel he/she is part of the events described in the Bible.”
There will also be features for the advanced Biblical scholar, like a Live Compare between versions tool. Blesstype will also develop a Colorblind Mode for every different type of that malady one may suffer from (Protanopia, Deutanopia, Tritanopia, Achromatopsia, etc.) and make sure all people have proper access to the scriptures in the form that appeals to them.
Additionally, the couple plan to invoke the creative genius of real-life artists from all over the globe and commission them to create custom art for each book and chapter of the Bible.