Friday, June 28, 2013

Is this the Problem Users Have with Ancestry.com's "New Search?"

After seeing some of the comments on the Ancestry.com Comments List, on Facebook, and in Comments to Comparing "Old Search" and "New Search" Results on Ancestry.com, it struck me that perhaps users unfamiliar with "New Search" don't know about the "Categories" list of search results.  

1)  When I was working in "Old Search" today, I did a search for my "isaac" "seaver" born 1823, died 1901, and clicked on the "Exact matches only" box on the search form:



When I clicked on "Search" I saw the matches in a list of "Categories:"


That is the list type that I recall when I used "Old Search" and I really liked it.  But, you have to select "Exact Matches" to see it.

2)  In "New search," I input "isaac" "seaver" and birth date "1823" and clicked the "Exact Match" box:


The results I received looked like this (this is on the "Records" View tab):




The screen above is the "Records" View, and the content is similar to the ranked matches screen in "Old Search" (i.e., with "Exact matches" not checked.

"New Search" has two Views on the results page above.  The other view is "Categories."  Do you see the tab for "Records" and "Categories" on the line above all of the matches (the one that says "Results 1-20 of 44" on the screen above?

If you click on the "Categories" tab you will see the ordered list of record categories with the record databases listed:


The format is somewhat different, but the layout is the same.  

There are more matches on the "Categories" list because I used a slightly different set of search terms.

3)  Does this help sort out the differences between "Old Search" and "New Search?"  I hope so.  

There are many more "features" and capabilities in "New Search" - I guess we'll have to go through them one by one in future posts so that my readers can learn about them.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/06/is-this-problem-users-have-with.html

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

5 comments:

Rosemary said...

I agree with you. Many people just don't know about categories, don't restrict their search to a specific country, and don't unclick the member trees, stories, and images. These options are all "sticky" and stay from one session to the next. At least they do with my browser which is FireFox.

I've found some interesting and unusual databases that I would never have seen using the usual types of search. There may be just a couple of hits in these databases and would be just lost in all the other hits.

Denise Fischer said...

The categories tab on New Search does make it more like the results on Old Search.

The problem I have with it is the empty space between each item. They could be compacted, making it easier to scan through quickly.


Geolover said...

One problem with the "categories" view is that there may be many pages of listings, ranging from 27,000 'hits' to one 'hit' each.

Ancestry.com always lists them in descending order of number of 'hits.' I have found that my actual pertinent results are nearly always in one of the items with a single 'hit.' But there is no way to navigate to the end of the list immediately or to reverse the numerical sorting order.

This particularly irritating in the first round of searching from a tree, when the search engine disregards bracketing by the individual's vital dates, and may include databases for wrong places that "match" only an initial letter of a first or middle name. So sensible searching from a tree in NewSearch always requires several search-refinement operations to begin to get something manageable.
This can be frustrating.

inner_child said...

I am a user of the old search. I have even found a way to remove the ranking. Ancestry needs to listen to its customers. We want a one page summary of results, achievable in a quick intuitive way.

Kathryn said...

I typically use the Old Search with Exact Matches checked and wildcards. I've compared it to the New Search with categories several times and I keep going back to the Old Search because it is just plain easier for me to read!

I think the New Search has caught up as far as results go, but the Old Search is still laid out in a more compact way. The little divisions between the category types and less space between each category makes it not only easier for me to read, but I can see more matches at a glance.

One area where I do prefer the New Search is for newspapers since it gives a preview of each match, while the Old Search only gives the title.