Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New site features coming to Ancestry.com

Monday night Ancestry.com broadcast a "town meeting" attended by about a thousand people. Mike Ward, Ancestry.com PR guy conducted the session. Tim Sullivan, CEO spoke first, followed by Andrew Wait, Senior Vice President over Ancestry.com; Gary Gibbs, Vice President of U.S. Content; and lastly, Eric Shoup, Vice President of Product Development. These presentations took the first hour, during which Mike gathered questions from participants. During the second hour, the management team fielded a selection of the hundreds of questions submitted. I don’t know if Ancestry.com will post the webinar for rebroadcast. If they do, you can probably view it here.

Of greatest interest to me, Shoup previewed two upcoming website features.

One is an updated record viewing page. Currently, Ancestry.com handled display of record text and record images on separate pages. Later this summer a combined viewer will be launched. Shoup showed us the “mockup” below. I believe he said that its use will be optional, for those that prefer doing things the old way.

A new record viewer

Also coming this summer is a new person page. The person page is what you see when you are working with a person in an Ancestry.com member tree. The main rectangle at the top of the page is called a Person Card and its display maintains context as the different tabs underneath it are selected. Since the page is the most often viewed page on Ancestry.com, it is being re-implemented from the ground up for speed and performance. The page has a stronger focus on sources and incorporates greater contrast for improved readability. Shoup thought the page might be available for some to start testing out in about a month.

A new person page

The mockup also shows the new navigation bar that is launching soon, perhaps today or next week. The bar is expected to look like this:

New Ancestry.com navigation bar

The new navigation bar incorporates drop-down menus. Above the navigation bar, To-Dos and Favorites also incorporate “drop-down” functionality to provide these features without switching pages. For more information, see this page.

This new feature is coming on the heals of a feature that has been months in development: lifespan filtering of search results. For more information, see “Latest on lifespan filtering.”

Stay tuned for more coverage of the Town Hall meeting.

5 comments:

  1. I was one of the attendees of the town hall meeting. Very well done, informative, and encouraging. I love being a World Deluxe member of Ancestry.com and have learned so much with their service.

    ReplyDelete
  2. On first take- I like what will be done with viewing the historical documents and having tree info right there and handy on the page. If this offers me a link to all tabs normally found on the home page, I will be very happy. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Will this new feature of viewing records work ONLY with Internet Explorer or will it support other services like Google Chrome and/or Mozilla Firefox?

    ReplyDelete
  4. ponyswimgal,

    I don't believe they said it in relationship to record viewing, but they did mention at another point that they were supporting the current versions of the several major browsers. To make this task manageable, they would drop support for outdated browsers using a timeline like Microsoft.

    --The A.I.

    ReplyDelete
  5. These changes look exciting. I'm looking forward to seeing them.

    ReplyDelete