Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Checking Out the New FamilySearch Home Page and Search Forms

I visited the FamilySearch home page (https://www.FamilySearch.org) today and was surprised to see a new design:

There are search fields for "First Name" and "Last Name", in the prominent box.  Links to "Trees," "Catalog" and "Books" are below the two search fields.  There is also a "More Search Options" link on the same line as the other links. 

Below the picture, on the right-side, are links for "Featured Collections" and "Browse by Location."  Further down the page are links to "Getting Started," "Online Help," "Personal Help," "Research Classes," "Volunteer" and "Tech Advice."

I wanted to add more information for a search for William Knapp (1775-1856), so I entered the names in the fields and clicked on "More Search Options."  I had to re-enter the names, and entered a birth place and birth year range in the search fields in the "Advanced" form:

I could have added Events for "Any," "Birth," "Marriage," "Residence," and "Death."  I could have added a relationship for "Spouse" and/or "Parents."  I could have searched by "Batch Number."

With the name, birth place and birth date range entered (and clicked "exact"), I clicked on "Search" and saw:

This screen shows me the nine matches, four of which match the exact search criteria.  The other five don't match exactly.  At the bottom of the page, there is an indication that there were 8 matches in family trees (either Ancestral File or Pedigree Resource File).

If I want to modify my search criteria, I can click on the down arrow next to "Refine Your Search" in the upper left-hand corner and see my search fields, and could choose to add more search terms for Marriage, Residence, death, spouse and Parents, as shown below:

There is a list of Filters on the left-hand panel also - for Collections, Birthplace, Birth Year, Residence Place, Residence Year, Death Place, Death Year, and Gender.  I have never been able to use these Filters effectively!

The new design is nice, and the search form has been improved to add more flexibility to searches. Those are all good things.  However, I wish that FamilySearch would show the "Refine Your Search" fields automatically instead of making the user click the down arrow on the Results page.  My sense (gleaned from society colleagues) is that many users don't know about the "Refine Your Search" down arrow and waste time, and have much frustration, when they need to change their search criteria.

Now I have to modify almost all of my screen captures in my "Using FamilySearch.org Effectively" presentation again.


Anonymous said...

Randy you're ahead of the game. I went into the site this morning and it's "same old, same old". How weird. Perhaps you happened across their testing of the new look.

Anonymous said...

I still get the old version as well as of Tuesday night at 5:00 PM.

Sara Gredler said...

I was able to get the new version once this evening (6:50pm central), but all my other refreshes get me the old site.

Deb said...

I started getting a new site this week, but it doesn't look like yours. No picture.

Anonymous said...

This morning it appears to be almost 'random' - sometimes I get the new page, and sometimes the old one?


Anonymous said...

It seems the only way to remove a search argument is to delete each part. The X closes the window, but still seems to be part of the search. (Time consuming)