Last year I intended to do stupendously rich articles about Ancestry.com Bloggers Day presentations. Since I never got around to it, this year you’re getting my stupidously poor notes.
Today I will finish the presentation of Tony Macklin, the Ancestry.com search product manager.
- The issues for the design of Search are:
- Relevance and control
- Browse (which is very important and also instructional)
- Speed and efficiency
- Showed us a prototype for a new, new search
- (Thomas MacEntee nicknamed it “HD search,” to distinguish it from the old, new search.)
- The Search Home looked something like this:
- You’ll have to excuse my scribblings. Tony was speaking so fast. Hey! It made sense at the time.
- Tony pointed out that location searching will be back.
- The Category Search looked something like this:
- I was able to mock up my scribbles without too much work because the page was very similar to the new database page look. Don’t expect it again.
- The basic search form looked something like this:
- Usability showed that changing the label from “Birth Place” to “Where did your ancestor live?” was much easier for new users.
- Another usability addition that is one of those, “Duh! Why didn’t we do that before?” was the addition of a birth year calculator. Enter the person’s age in a particular year to calculate the birth year.
- Starting out, the search form has just a few fields. But users can click to add fields for family members and life events. Once added, the fields will always be present unless you later hide them. This allows users to configure the search form to match their particular needs.
- Advanced HD search has transparency about what the search is doing. And it allows users to filter search results.
- Restrict name matches: Options will be exact, initials on given names, Soundex on last name, and name variants. This filter will be available in the next couple of months, according to Ancestry.com.
- Restrict to locations: Restrict to state, state and adjacent states, county, or county and adjacent counties. This filter is in testing now which required a change beneath the covers today. That is why the order of results can be different today compared to yesterday.
- Restrict to national collections only: United States, UK, Canada, and so forth. This filter has been available for about two weeks and is pictured below.
- Restrict to record types: historic records, stories and publications, family trees, and photographs & maps. This filter was released in January 2010.
- Restrict to lifespan. This filter has been available since May 2009.
- Q. How will you deploy HD search?
- A. Advanced HD search will be implemented incrementally. Eventually, HD Search will replace New Search.
That completes my report on the lectures from Bloggers Day. Next time I’ll cover Andrew Wait’s closing remarks.