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Monday, June 18, 2012

FamilySearch wish list

FamilySearch.org has some extremely valuable websites. But there is always room for improvement. In working with the various sites, I have compiled a wish list of things I would like to see. I am fully aware that FamilySearch has a "Feedback" tab on many of their pages. One of the Feedback options allows a "suggestion." It is not very clear what happens to those suggestions however. If you click on the "Help" link, you get several choices. One of those choices in another "Feedback" link. Clicking on this link takes you to a page where you can click on another link to "Share your ideas."

Do you get the point? This is my first wish list item. I wish FamilySearch wouldn't bury their options and functions in a series of linked pages. What happens when you click on the "Share your ideas" link? You go to another page entitled "Ideas from the Community to improve FamilySearch." This is sort of a forum for new ideas. Interestingly, the number one featured discussion that came up this morning dates back two years and most of the comments are more than a year old. The suggestion is
The Pilot search interface and filtering are what we want. Produces much better results. Please keep pilot.
It is a little bit complicated but what they are talking about was in the old FamilySearch.org website. The issue is moot. But the issue is still being discussed? This isn't even very clear. But they are still getting very recent comments on this topic. A total of 353 people have expressed an opinion on this topic.

The next suggestion is "Please allow us to make corrections to the records."  Looking at the threads for this suggestion shows that it too has been under discussion for over two years and also dates back to the old (I mean old) FamilySearch.org website. There are almost 300 comments in this thread.

This brings me to my next wish. I wish FamilySearch would sort out what it is and is not going to do with suggestions and stop talking about 2 year old subjects that apparently do not apply to the present website. If you take the time to read through the thousands of "suggestions" you will see that there are a lot of comments from FamilySearch explaining why the suggestion won't work or why it hasn't or will not be implemented. There are thousands of topics in the Feedback and suggestions keep being made regularly, but there is no way to tell if the problem or suggestion has been resolved, implemented or is moot. I wish this Feedback thing worked.

Another wish is related to the problem of buried resources. I wish FamilySearch would have a page or whatever that outlined all their various websites and resources. I realize that they stick a lot of links on their homepage, but it would be nice to have a page or two that explained each of the resources, such as the Wiki, the Forums, the Learning Center, TechTips, Labs, Community Trees, Film Ordering etc. in one place with links. This is especially true if they are going to keep using a cryptic homepage with links to things that are never explained. For example, the major link to "All Record Collections." What are these record collections and where do they come from? No explanation. Well, now you will come back and say if you go down to such and such a level in Wiki or whatever there is a detailed explanation, but how do I even know to look for it?

Some of my wishes are more specific. I wish they had a link from an individual in Family Tree to search for that individual in all of the records. For example, I am looking at an individual in Family Tree, why not have a link to search for records about that individual rather than going back to another screen to do a search where I have to remember all the information I have about the individual to enter into the search screen. Now, I could put this suggestion into the Feedback and two years from now there might be a lot of comments, but how about a simple, we can't do that or good idea or whatever.

More wishes. I wish that if FamilySearch is going to have a blog, that they would use it to notify us of changes to their websites. If they add a feature or delete a feature, how about giving the community some notice? For example, FamilySearch added an inconspicuous link to "Remote Assistance" on the homepage. Did you notice it? Have you used it? Would you use it? Can you even find it? There is nothing in the blog. In fact, I can't find out anything other than what is on the linked page. Why would I use this and where did it come from? I wish they wouldn't keep adding stuff without explanation. If there was an explanation, I missed it. Do I want a FamilySearch support person to remotely connect with my computer?

I wish the FamilySearch folks would talk to each other. I still find in talking to various representatives of FamilySearch that they often are not aware of other programs going on with FamilySearch. I might be nice if the employees of FamilySearch had an overall view of what FamilySearch was trying to do.

Last wish for today. I wish they would have a place showing us newly added resources such as new records and newly digitized books etc. I know you can click on the "Last Updated" column on the list of Historical Record Collections and get a list chronologically, but how about a page listing new resources like digitized books, something simple like "What's new on FamilySearch."

Enough for today. Sorry if this sounds a lot like criticism. I really do love the site and all the resources, but I do get weary of some of the issues.

1 comment:

  1. :Regarding your wish: "I am looking at an individual in Family Tree, why not have a link to search for records about that individual rather than going back to another screen to do a search where I have to remember all the information I have about the individual to enter into the search screen. Now, I could put this suggestion into the Feedback and two years from now there might be a lot of comments, but how about a simple, we can't do that or good idea or whatever."

    On the hard-to-find message board for FamilySearch issues and suggestions, someone posted the same idea and Ron Tanner quickly responded:
    https://getsatisfaction.com/familysearch/topics/searching_for_records

    The response was not to the actual suggestion, but stated that in a future update to Family Tree on FS.org "we will put on each person in the tree a list of matching records that the system has found."

    A search 'prequel'. What a way to take up server resources.

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