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

Friday, January 29, 2016

Become Confused, Move Stuff Around on the FamilySearch Family Tree

I found out about this today and don't rightly know what to think about it. Don't get me wrong. I think customization and personalization are right nice, but when I have to try to explain to someone who is already confused why the stuff on screens on a software program keep moving around, I begin to question my dedication to progress. Just because you can do something, does not mean you should always do it.

Here's the scoop.

Look at this screenshot from the Family Tree:

Do you see anything new or different? Here you go. This time I will point it out.

If you click on the little gear, the bars appear on the different details sections of the page where you can see all the details about a person in the Family Tree. Now, if you click and drag on the little bars, you can move the sections around. Like this:

OK, so now I have moved all of the Detail Page views around in the whole program. But it only shows up for me, I hope. Can I remember the way the page was originally? What I am saying is every person on my Family Tree now has my "new" arrangement. Now when I do demos of the program, I will have to make sure that everyone knows that their own screen may not look like what is in the manuals, Help Center etc. for screenshots.

I did put it back to the original format. Just close all the sections so they look like this:

Now I can move all of them back or around or whatever and see what is going on. By the way, did you notice that I put the Tools section up next to the Search Records? I like it better that way.


  1. Yeah! I've been waiting for this! The personalized floating sections that you can lock for your own use. I personally don't utilize "Print" often and I often click it in error. So excited to move TOOLS up to the top!

  2. They also removed the words 'close' or 'open' on each section. Instead you click the right point arrow on the top left of each section, and that allows you to close each section. I moved what I consider the most important section up, and closed the others with nothing on them. Pretty cool.

    1. My initial concern, as I mentioned, is trying to figure out what people have done to their screens when doing phone support. Also, many people tend to get confused when they see an unfamiliar view on their program and begin to fear they have somehow broken the program or messed it up.

  3. Deciding how much to allow users to customize is a programmer's dilemma. For the 1% of users who do customize, they love the fact that they've fixed one or two gripes they have (but not the dozens of other problems the programmers ignored).

    Allowing for customization makes the programming harder, adds bugs, increases maintenance time and makes documentation more difficult. So unless there's a good reason to do it, it shouldn't be done.

    Sounds from the comments that they didn't need do this, but only should have moved the print area down for everyone.

  4. Hmmm. Let's just say that after years of allowing users to move things around the Microsoft Office toolbars - and the consequent hard work that Office Support had to go through to work out where things were for that user - Microsoft introduced the ribbon that fixed everything hard down.