Monday, March 10, 2014

My Ancestry.com Sliders Have Appeared - My First Look at Using Them

I no sooner posted Where Did My Ancestry.com Sliders Go? How I Search Without Them this morning, and the next time I brought up Ancestry.com and did a search the "sliders" appeared.  I didn't have time to update the post this morning, so I decided to write a new post about them tonight.

1)  I did the same search as in this morning's post - Isaac Seaver, born in 1823 in Massachusetts (with default settings, no exact match box checked, etc.).  Here are the Results on the "Categories" tab:




You can see the "Sliders" at the top of the left-hand panel under "Search Filters."  Since I entered data into four search fields on the search form, there are four sliders, one for each term.

2)  I can still edit the search form by clicking on "Edit Search" (below the sliders) or by hitting the "r" key (a hot key for "refine search), as shown below:


 On the screen above, I can use the search filters for Given name, Last name, and Location fields by clicking on the "Use default settings" link to show the dropdown menus - as I showed in this mornings post.  I didn't change anything for the search.

3)  Back on the Results page, I slide the search filter sliders to the settings I want to use.  I chose:

*  Given name:  position #2 - "Exact, similar, sounds like, and initials"
*  Last name:  position #3 - "Exact, sounds like, and similar"
*  Birth year:  position #4 - +/-  2 years"
*  Birth place:  position #5 - "State"

Before I click the "Update" button, the sliders look like this:


3)  I clicked the green "Update" button on the screen above, and saw the Results that reflected my slider settings:


And the "Records" tab results show them also:



  As before, the results above are mostly for "my" Isaac Seaver, because the search found them based on the search criteria I chose using the sliders.  

4)  I was curious just what each position for each slider type was, so I hovered my mouse over the slider at each position (with #1 being the broadest, and #6 being the most exact) and found that:

a)  Given name:

*  Position #1:  Not exact
*  Position #2:  Exact, similar, sounds like, and initials
*  Position #3:  Exact, similar and sounds like
*  Position #4:  Exact and similar
*  Position #5:  Exact

b)  Last name:

*  Position #1:  Not exact
*  Position #2:  Exact, similar, sounds like, and initials
*  Position #3:  Exact, similar and sounds like
*  Position #4:  Exact and similar
*  Position #5:  Exact

c)  Birth date:

*  Position #1:  Not exact
*  Position #2:  +/- 10 years
*  Position #3:  +/- 5 years
*  Position #4:  +/- 2 years
*  Position #5:  +/- 1 year
*  Position #6:  Exact

d)  Location:

*  Position #1:  Not exact
*  Position #2:  Country
*  Position #3:  State and adjacent states
*  Position #4:  State
*  Position #5:  Exact

Sliders for other events will be similar, I think.  For instance, a Death year slider will be similar to the Birth year slider.

The next question I have is "how many matches do I receive based on varying the positions."  I'll try to work that up in the next day or two.

5)  Please note that the new slider settings are very similar to the settings that the user can select on the "Search" tab page for names, dates and locations.  They just made them easier to use without going back to the "Search" page.  The key is to select wisely, and to be sure to click on the green "Update" button to see the new results.

The so-called "New Search" is not really "new" any longer.  It;'s been around for three or four years, and the search algorithms have been manipulated in an effort to bring the user the best set of results possible.

Users need to understand that the search results are dependent upon the user input - if the user inputs a name, date or location that is grossly inaccurate, the search engine is not likely to have records at or near the top of the list of Results.  That's the user's fault, not the search engine's fault.

I like and appreciate all of the Search features added by the Ancestry.com user experience team over the past few years.  They have made it possible to  find records for my ancestors much more efficiently and faster than ever before.  I appreciate that!

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/03/my-ancestrycom-sliders-have-appeared-my.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


4 comments:

Karen Sipe said...

These must be a flaky addition. I have never seen them in all my time on Ancestry. In fact your first article stating the were gone was my introduction to sliders. Today your example shows what you are referring to so I tried again and still do not have sliders.

Anonymous said...

I have left Ancestry.com for a while; to take a 'breather' and may never return. My subscription, or what was left of it, has been cancelled! It had become so unstable since the first of this year, and was so frustrating to use, that I just quit! Am now refining what I have in Family Tree Maker and have reopened my Roots Magic 6. I like Roots Magic pages better. I have had a lot of issues also with 'thigs' that were supposed to be on the Ancestry site; and have lost more time (and money) during the years that I just couldn't take it any longer. Txs

Karen Hopkins said...

I have never seen the sliders when doing searches either. Any hints where to find them? I actually think they may be helpful.

Karen Hopkins said...

I have never seen the sliders when doing searches either. Any hints where to find them? I actually think they may be helpful.