Friday, February 1, 2008

Why make it hard to volunteer for FamilySearch Indexing?

Why does FamilySearch make it so hard to find the FamilySearch Indexing site? Yes, yes, I know that ought to be easy enough to remember. Yet still, many patrons at my Family History Center raise a hand, confused that the FamilySearch Indexing website no longer has the links they want. I walk over and find they are on

Do you realize there are no links to on, or At least no obvious ones. You'd think if FamilySearch wants everyone to index, they'd make it a little easier to get there.

The signup page has bigger problems. It is, literally I think, easier to do actual indexing than it is to successfully navigate the sign-up-to-volunteer page. First off, the Enter key seems to execute the "Sign On" link near the top left of the page rather than the "Continue" button at the bottom right. If you haven't signed up before (which most users haven't!), you think you have successfully submitted the form and are now being asked to sign on with your new user name and password. Wrong! Up goes the hand.

"Brother Incisor, can you help me?"

Then, almost everyone chooses a user name that has already been used, but they are not told until they fill out the entire form and submit it. They go back and try one or more times to find an available user name. By the time they do, the password they chose has been cleared, so they have to enter it again—twice...

...Only to find that they've chosen an invalid password. No one sees the password restrictions, even though they are right there in plain sight. FamilySearch needs to make the password instructions more visually prominent.

It would be pretty trivial to check the validity of the password as soon as the user moved to the next field. Don't wait until they submit the form. While you're at it, FamilySearch, it would only be a little more difficult to add some AJAX script to check the user name as well.

How about it, FamilySearch?


  1. Amen to that!
    I dearly hope that someone from a position of power and influence reads your analysis and does something about it!


  2. Dear DMZ,

    Thanks for your comment. I'm not sure who reads my blog inside FamilySearch. If someone there does follow my blog, drop me a line either here or at

    -- The Ancestry Insider


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