03 March 2009

Organization of the Ancestry.com website

I've blogged briefly about this before, but it still frustrates me. I just do not like the organization of the Ancestry.com website. I wanted to look for someone in the 1841 UK census today and going directly to their homepage took me forever by the time I waited for all the things to load up, etc. etc. It just does not feel like it was created by people who actually use it on a daily basis.

I made a page of links that I use quite a bit for navigating through the main databases I use at Ancestry.com. The page is http://www.rootdig.com/ancestry.html. It loads fast for me and goes right to where I want. I need to add a couple of things (one is the 1841 UK census), but I prefer it to the organization of the Ancestry.com site.

Just my two cents.


OpenID jay said...

Hi Micheal, Your quick link list looks like a great solution for your needs, you have alot links you need to get to quickly. I'm curious have you tried customizing your homepage on Ancestry? Using the link in the top right corner you can remove the elements of the page that your not interested in or otherwise reorder the elements of the page. Here's an example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/quadmod/3328972110/sizes/o/ Feel free to drop me a line anytime to discuss design/interaction on Ancestry. Thanks for the feedback.

Jay Fichialos
Sr. Manager, User Experience

11:55 AM  
Blogger Margaret Harris said...

Michael, I think your idea of setting up a separate page for your most used links is a great idea. I use the Ancestry "quick links" feature quite a bit, but I get frustrated with the search results that don't line up as logically as I want them to. For example, wouldn't it make sense to have the results show the census info in a chronological manner? Instead, I have to jump through a few hoops to go from the 1870 census to the 1860 census to the 1850 census of the same individual in the same locale. Just my two cents.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Michael John Neill said...

Thanks. I have tried customizing the page and that allows for some options, but I really wish Ancestry had a "down and dirty" page with quick links to the "main" databases geared towards someone whose more of a power user.

I (and I know there are others) don't always need to search everything at once. And I often don't want to sift through hits from numerous databases. There are times when I just want to get in really quickly, look someone up in a specific database or two, and get back to something else--either a different website or other records that I am organizing.

And even on a high speed connection, it takes the Ancestry.com main page (and some of the card catalog pages) too long to load, especially when I am on a deadline or trying to squeeze some quick searches in between something else.

I do like keeping track of my recent activity. That feature is nice and I use it quite a bit.

I know my page of links looks like it was compiled by a novice amateur (it wasn't--I just didn't feel the need waste time making it pretty), but sometimes I don't need all the bells and whistles--I just need to get work done.

3:03 PM  

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