Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What no Feedback? Changes to

In the past few days there have been some subtle and not-so-subtle changes to the website. One of the most baffling changes involves the mysterious disappearance of the Feedback tab. On each page of the website, there was a brownish tab linking the page to a Feedback system of making comments or asking questions. Here is a screen shot of the page showing the Feedback tab with an arrow:

Here is a screen shot from today:

 Voila! Gone. Maybe FamilySearch got tired of Feedback? Maybe they decided that having a link on the side of the page was tacky? There is still a link hidden down at the bottom of the page, but even with my huge 27 inch screen the link does not show unless I scroll down and there are twenty plus other links competing for my attention. I guess if you have too many suggestions waiting to be implemented, you remove the suggestion box.

What else has changed? Oh, nothing too important, they just removed the search box for the FamilySearch Research Wiki, that is all!!! OK, what does the website really have for resources? Basically a lot of digitized records and a huge database of research help and links to where to find more information. What are those two things? The Historical Record Collection and the FamilySearch Research Wiki. Where are they on the website? I challenge you to find either or both of them! (You can tell I think this is a discussion I shouldn't be having by my over use of "!")

Is there anything at all on the start up page that tells you anything at all about FamilySearch? Where does is say, "Search a billion digitized images?" Where does it say, "Search 64,000 articles on where and how to find your ancestors?" Where does it say, "Search a catalog of 2.4 million microfilm records?" Who knows this stuff is there? How could you possibly guess what was on this site by looking at the startup page? Answer me that question and you will be able to see what I am talking about. If I knew absolutely nothing about FamilySearch and stumbled onto this page what would it tell me about the website? FamilySearch is not Google but they should take a lesson from the Google site. What is the lesson? Not very many people know about all the Google resources either because there is no place where they are explained. How about saying something like "Search billions of digitized images for your ancestors" instead of "All Record Collections?" How about links to the resources instead of cryptic links like "Books?"

Oh well, off to other activities today.


  1. Yes, and does "Catalog" mean "shop"?

    Under "Learn", the big purple box is now with the "get started" link that leads to . . . videos, which are not useful for the blind, deaf, people on dial-up and many of those using wifi may also have discontinuity problems.

    In addition to a not very friendly approach for new would-be users, it is planned to eliminate being able to search for a particular type of record (changing the search box to search for a person instead). Want marriage records for Champaign County, Ohio? Too bad, you will first have to wade through scores of Census enumerations since the search results are not even sortable by ~name~.

    The same engineer mentality that has made searching at so time-wasting is now at work at FamilySearch: the thinking that the user should have 2384 results, no matter how unlikely, instead of 12.

  2. I also noticed the not-so-helpful-changes recently. Frustrating. Also, I do wish there were markers for data not accompanied by images... The current search system is definitely challenging in many ways.