Ancestry.com is my primary genealogy research tool -- by a long shot. I'm really into data and Ancestry.com has the data. Other sites have data but ancestry.com has more. And it's easier to find than on many other sites. Even though I'm still not a fan of New Search (don't get me started), it still works better than most other genealogy data search functions (just not as good as Old Search.)
Today I want to address New Ancestry (released 1 Jun 2015) versus Old Ancestry (image: Old Ancestry left, New Ancestry right). I'm a minimalist. I want fewer clicks to navigate and perform functions. Fewer drop downs are usually better as they add more clicking.
The only thing I don't want kept to a minimum is the amount of data on a webpage. This really fits into my minimalist approach because I want to keep the clicking and scrolling to a minimum.
Here are my thoughts on New Ancestry's layout and functions.
1. Relationship to root person is visible for my trees without clicking (New Ancestry to right). I wish relationship to the root person was available for other trees.
2. Edit functions for an individual are on a drop down at the top of the profile page. The use of pop-ups provides a much faster transition than clicking to a new page.
- Quick Edit - Although I'd rather not have it on a drop down, it wasn't available at all on Old Ancestry for when viewing an individual's profile.
- Edit Relationships and Delete Person used to take 2 clicks to get to and one click to return to the person. Now it's available on the Edit button.
3. Quick Edit is available from the tree view.
4. Alternate names are shown on the Fact page. In the past they were hidden on the Edit page and not available for viewing except from your own tree.
Cons:1. The profile picture is now round. This isn't always appropriate as most photographs are rectangular. To make it look OK, I have to reshape it to fit and let's be honest, the square peg in the round hole looks unfinished and unprofessional, like I don't love Grandma Bessie enough to bother.
Although Ancestry.com is planning to add a feature that allows you to crop a photo to fit the new round space, I'd like the image to look nice without having to take that step. This is potentially a VERY BIG ISSUE for people who have taken the time to put images on thousands of people in their tree. Also, many of us use tombstones or documents as Profile pictures and a circle doesn't always accommodate the text. I know this because familysearch.org uses a circle and it is frequently challenging to make it work.
2. Find a person in this tree is a drop down from an individual's profile. In other words, if you're on an individual's profile page and want to change to another individual in the tree, the search field isn't visible. It's takes a click to show it. In Old Ancestry, you just typed a name in the box. (The field remains visible in the tree view.)
(Old Ancestry left, New Ancestry right)
3. Media thumbnails are not visible without clicking on gallery. Unlike "hints", I don't even know how many user submitted items are there without clicking. With the Old Ancestry, I could see up to five thumbnails and know how many more were available. This is also a BIG ISSUE in that I must click away from an individual's primary page (i.e. the Fact page) just to see that there are no additional images for them. The gallery loading took quite some time when I used it today.
Old Ancestry (on Profile page)
New Ancestry (on Gallery page only)
4. Sources now have a thumbnail. Whilst Ancestry.com has removed media thumbnails, they've added one for each source that contains an image. It takes up a significant amount of space. I've provided a comparison to the small leaf used on Old Ancestry. The only advantage is that it shows you there's an image and not just an index. Perhaps the thumbnail could be reduced in size or a generic image icon could be used. Old Ancestry top, New Ancestry bottom)
5. Less defined spaces. For all the new color on the page some color has been removed. Spouses names are no longer highlighted and family groups aren't outlined. This makes it more difficult to distinguish separate family groups. Call this quibbling, but I like the defined spaces.
(Old Ancestry left, New Ancestry right)
7. Quick Edit removed from family members. As much as I liked that the Edit functions now appear on an individual's page, Ancestry.com has removed the edit functions from family members. In the two photos above (yes above), Old Ancestry has an icon to the right of each individual's name. Click the box and get a slew of Edit functions (below).
8. Scrolling isn't a 9 letter word. Remember in my intro that I said I like a lot of data on a page? Well, I don't mean it should be cluttered just to keep it above the fold. The old adage about keeping data above the fold is yesterday's news. Katie Fishburn writes on Vibethink.com that there's a trend toward scrolling over clicking in web design. New Ancestry bucks the trend by moving the source data up into a 3rd column versus keeping it below the fold and available by scrolling. Everything seems to be competing for my attention.
Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn