Ancestry.com has added hot keys in the New Search User Interface. Hot keys are a common means of adding power tools for power users. In this case, Ancestry.com is using hot keys to make it possible to be as productive in the new search interface as one could be in the old.
A common criticism of the new search interface is the additional mouse clicks required in iterative searching. Some difficult to locate records require iteratively refining the search parameters. In the old search interface, a single click on Refine your search takes you to a full search form, pre-populated with the information from your previous search. You can then switch surnames or locales or any other information that might bring up that elusive record. With new search, all the parameters were buried in the interface and had to be individually clicked before changes could be made.
With this new change, users of the new search can now match the productivity of old search for iterative searching. Further, by assigning the action to a keystroke, Ancestry allows users to iterate without the need to lift one hand off the keyboard and move it to the mouse--an operation that is surprisingly time-expensive, as indexers have learned.
The hot keys are
|r||Refine the current search|
|n||start a New search|
|p||show first Preview|
|< key (comma)||show Previous preview|
|> key (period)||show Next preview|
A preview is the popup you get when you hover your mouse cursor over the title of a record in the list of matching results. Yet again, this gives you a keyboard substitute for an operation normally requiring you move your hand from the keyboard to the mouse.
Press P to bring up the first preview. Thereafter use the period key to move to the next record and the comma key to move to the previous record. These were chosen so the < and > symbols on those keys can serve as mnemonics for moving back and forth, respectively. The J and K keys also work for forward and back.
A little known extra provided by the Preview is that it presents a bit more information to non-subscribers than is shown in the result list. (It used to show all the information that only subscribers were supposed to see. Sorry! Ancestry.com fixed that bug.)
I hope Ancestry.com will add the < and > keys also, in case someone forgets and uses the shift key along with the mnemonic key.