Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ancestry.com Member Tree Changes

As many users have experienced (at least I have the last two nights), Ancestry.com has been removing or reducing access to the Public and Private Member Family Trees for maintenance.  The hope we all had was that improvements were being made.  I think that is what happened this weekend.

Ancestry.com has changed how Public and Private Member Tree screens look, and how navigating to different features work, and has made it easier (I think!)  

When I logged in this afternoon to one of my Public Member Trees, I was greeted with a statement to the effect of "Ancestry has been working to improve your family tree experience.  Click this link to see the new format."  [I didn't take note of the exact words, and once I clicked it, I couldn't get back to it.]

1)  Before I clicked the link, the pedigree chart view for my tree looked something like this (from an earlier screen shot taken on 8 July):


If I clicked on the right arrow to the right of the 5th generation names, I could expand the tree three more generations in the blank space.

2)  In the new pedigree chart view, there is now information about a highlighted person on the right-hand side of the screen:

On the right-hand side of the screen, the highlighted person has three tabs:

*  "Timeline" - shows all of the Events for the person.  for each Event, there are icons for Sources and Photos.  Clicking on the Sources and Photos icons shows them in the right hand panel, and they have links to the source citations or media in the Person Profile.
*  "Family" - shows the parents, siblings, spouses and children of the person.  The names are linked - click on them and you see them in the first position in the Member Tree with their Profile information in the right hand panel.
*  "Hints" (with a red number) - shows the unresolved hints.  More on this below:

All of the tabs have a scroll bar on the right side of the panel.

3)  Here is the Family tab view:


4)  Here is the Hints tab view:


In the screen above, I have 59 Hints to resolve for this person in my tree.  They are listed in the right-hand panel one by one.  In most of them, I have the choice to "Review" or "Ignore.  "

I decided to "Review" the first Hint, and the familiar comparison screen showing the indexed Record information on the left and my tree information for the person on the right opened:


After reviewing the Hint, and perhaps selecting information from the record to include in my tree, I could choose to "Save to your tree" by clicking the Orange button.  If I don't click the orange button, I need to go "Back" or choose "Cancel."

Whatever choice I make, I'm back to the Hint screen, and can select "Ignore" or just leave it and go to the next one.  To accept the Hint on the "Review" screen, I have to click on the "Save to your tree" button.

5)  I chose to "Save to your tree" the first Hint on the list, and after I did that, the Hint stayed in my Hint list but with a green background.


However, that Hint disappears from the list the next time you click on the Person in the tree.  Accepted and Ignored Hints are on the Hints tabs in the Person Profile screen.

6)  I was curious how to navigate easily to the full page Person Profile, so I ran my mouse over the person's name in the Tree and a pop-up with five icons appeared:


The five icons shown on the screen above (next to Frederick Walton Seaver) are for:

*  "Person Profile"
*  "View Tree"
*  "Search Record Collection"
*  "Quick Edit"
*  "Add Relative"

7)  I clicked on the "Person Profile" icon and was at the familiar Person Profile page where I can see the person's vital records, Media Gallery, Timeline and Family Members on one screen:


I can also click on the Person's name in the right-hand panel on the Pedigree View screen and go to the "Person Profile" page.

8)  What about the "Family view" screen?  It has the same feature on the right-hand side of the screen:


9)  My first impression after using this was:  "They've made it a lot easier to attach Hints to a Person Profile - it seems faster to attach several Hints now."  But it probably isn't...I still have to "Review" and "Save" and wait for it to happen.

My second impression was:  "Hmmm, maybe that's not a really good idea.  Don't we want users to thoughtfully add Hints to their tree, and add sources too?"  But then, adding the Hint does add a source (albeit of not Evidence Explained quality).

A conclusion is that they have just added many of the links that are on the Person Profile page to the "Pedigree View" page, but not to the "Family View" page.

This presents more options for users to get really confused by the new navigation methods if they see the message and click on it, especially for sporadic or occasional users.  Ancestry does provide the option to switch back to the "old" tree view (I know I saw it on the bottom of the "Family view" page), but now I can't find how to get back to the "new" view above!  I tried signing out and in and that didn't work.  I thought it might be in Tree pages but it wasn't.  Help - I'm stuck in an "old" view and can't escape!   Hmm, 10 minutes later the note was on the Hint "Review" page asking for feedback, - but it didn't work for me.

Now I'm wondering if the Ancestry App on my iPhone and Android tablet have changed.  I'll check on it and report on anything really interesting in a future post.

My last wonderment was how many slides is this going to take in my "Growing Your Ancestry Member Tree" presentation, and what will I need to cut to fit the time limits?

My jury is still out on this new feature.  What do my readers think about it?

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/08/ancestrycom-member-tree-changes.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

9 comments:

Doug Williams said...

Interesting. I just checked and I do not have this new feature on my public tree.

Celia Lewis said...

Not on my Ancestry.com tree, either. They must be currently rolling the new interface just now. I'll check tomorrow... Offhand I don't think it will be that useful to me. Maybe for a beginner.

Elizabeth H. said...

I noticed this suggestion to try out the new feature and chose to click on it today to try it out. I like this new feature because I can see the details of a person without clicking all the way into the person's edit page.

One aspect that you didn't note is that if you hover your curser between the tree and the "preview card" in the right-hand column, a thick green line appears. If you click it, that individual preview column "hides." You can make it reappear by moving your curser to the far right and finding and clicking on that thick green line again.

Pamela D Lloyd said...

I also had to check this out and, initially, I didn't see the option. But, as I moved back and forth between the Home page and Tree pages, the option became available.

Overall, I like it, because it gives me more information about an ancestor when I'm on the tree page, as well as the opportunity to review hints without leaving the tree page. For a short while, I was concerned about the loss of space when viewing the tree, but then I discovered that when you hover to the left of the new profile panel, a green bar appears; click the bar, and the panel closes. Move your mouse over to the far right of the page, and the green bar appears again; this time, when you click it, it will open the panel.

Cormac said...

Not yet for me too. It looks nice though. Must be nice to be so connected as you Randy!

Barbara said...

I accidently closed it instead of clicking on it and now it won't reappear! Guess I can't try it out.

Geolover said...

Randy, you noted: "9) My first impression after using this was: "They've made it a lot easier to attach Hints to a Person Profile - it seems faster to attach several Hints now." But it probably isn't...I still have to "Review" and "Save" and wait for it to happen.

"My second impression was: "Hmmm, maybe that's not a really good idea. Don't we want users to thoughtfully add Hints to their tree, and add sources too?" But then, adding the Hint does add a source (albeit of not Evidence Explained quality)."

I agree with your reservation with an additional reason: it skips the step where one has access to the actual image (where available) of the item that will be saved-to-tree. I advocate **always** looking at the image, where there may be a contraindication for saving, or interesting/surprising additional information (in City Directories, maybe occupation or death, or same-surnamed persons living in the same place -- which may or may not be indexed).

There has been some comment on this newstuff on Ancestry.com message boards. It was first rolled out with a little blue banner saying "see sidebar" but the link did not always work. There appears to have been some twiddling with it.

Jacqi Stevens said...

Randy, the changes do look promising, but I'm with you on the "Hints" issue. No matter how easy Ancestry makes it to add hints to a tree, I've learned to always proceed with great caution, review the hint thoroughly, and double check before adding it to my tree.

Anonymous said...

What people have scanned has become a "you have to pay" to see now. You used to be able to see things. But anymore, unless you pay.
I have been able to go back from Mexico to 1200's Spain. But America wants to charge for everything.
Even things that are entered free from individuals.