The Serendipity Curve

Note: Creating Passionate Users is a secular blog, unrelated to Logos, and as such may use terms or images we wouldn’t choose.

Creating Passionate Users is a seriously smart and interesting blog on user-oriented product design. A recent post on the site entitled “Add a little more random to your product” encourages product designers to consider ways to boost the serendipity quotient of productsby adding randomness. Give users more opportunities to be surprised and they will enjoy the product more.

The article uses the example of the iPod Shuffle, which forces users out of a listening rut and exposes them to more of the songs they own.

Think about all the music on your (non-Shuffle) iPod, computer, or vintage CD rack. Now think about the subset you actually listen to regularly. For most of us, it’s a pathetically small set. By literally forcing people to listen to randomly-chosen songs, the Shuffle was constantly delighting, surprising, rewarding, stretching users. And users loved it.

Here at the Logos Blog, we’ve shared some of our thinking on this very topic, encapsulated as “Facilitate Serendipitous Discovery.”

F-S-D serves as a description and guiding principle for the way we design Logos Bible Software to invigorate, refresh, suprise and inspire users in theirBible study.

F-S-Dalso speaks to the approach we take to ensure that users receive more value from their electronic library…even as the number of books in that library grows into the thousands. That is, we design features and automated reports that help people find information they didn’t even know they were looking for…often in books they didn’t even know they owned.

Now I’m eager to hear feedback from you, the Logos user…

  • Do you have a story to share about your own serendipitous discovery?
  • What’s your favorite serendipity-producing feature in Logos?
  • Have you used or seen someone using Logos in an unusual way?
  • Where does Logos fall on the Serendipity Curve?
  • How could we boost the serendipity and randomness of Logos in ways that would make you happier?


  1. Jonathan A. says

    A random page/topic (datatype based) function in a given book would be a neat idea, even if it didnt have the page flipping, it’d help me get me more acquanted with books in the same fashion I do with my print library.

  2. I love the “featured book” on my home page.
    I’m not sure how random this is, but I would also love for logos to break any of my resources/collections into daily readings over any given time span. I currently use the Bible Reading Plan feature. It would be great to do a “Works of Wesley” plan.

  3. I was studying Romans 3:25. the compare Bible Versions report showed me how the NIV took exception to the word, Propitiation” and replaced it with “Sacrifice of Attonement.”
    I started digging in to some word studies, first with Propitiation, which led me to the Greek word, hilasterion, which took me to the LXX, and ultimately to the Hebrew Kapper ???. when I did a word study on this Hebrew word, I noticed the grammar section (which queries the Syntax Data Base) and was suprised to find the verb as a subject “being eaten” and “to eat” it. Curious, I explored the ESV Reverse Interlinear and noted that the “Sin Offering” was to be eaten by the priests… this led me to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s Supper and Christ’s admonition that we must eat of his flesh! (Jn 6:51-56)
    Christ is the Sin Offering. We are the holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5-9) and as priests, we are prividedged to partake of the sin offering, but outsiders are not. (ex 29:33; 1 Cor 11:27)
    I had always wondered why Christ made eating of his flesh so important, but it is clear that he was making reference to his being the sin offering…

  4. Deborah Anthony says

    I use my Logos software mainly to teach to a group of Methodists who think that John Wesley is the permenant pope of that faith. I address salvation a lot. I was preparing a study on Daniel and wanted to know what Wesley said because most of the material I found addressed Calvin. The program brought up a portion of his journal addressing how he nearly missed being saved even though he was an Anglican minister. The article was thought provoking and very serendipitous. Thank you Logos.