Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ancestry for iPad

Ancestry.com's iPad appI got an iPad! The very first app I downloaded was Ancestry.com’s Ancestry. I love the look. It’s amazing how effective a good background and some shadow effects can be. (Click the image to the right for a larger view.)

The Ancestry app is pretty well integrated into the iPad way of doing things. The philosophy is that little or no help is necessary to use an app. Do what seems intuitive and the app works.

One minor miss is the login username. Another philosophy of the iPad is that typing is a pain and should be minimized by remembering things I’ve typed. After once entering my full username, I should never have to type it in full again. Unfortunately, the Ancestry app doesn’t drop down a box of recent usernames. Hopefully, they can get that fixed.

For the Ancestry app, the default view is a pedigree of your Ancestry Member Tree. Moving up and down the tree is simple; swish the pedigree to the left or right. Or tap any person to move him or her to the primary position.

Tap the person again and an information card slides out of the right side of the screen. I’ll talk more about that sometime in the future. First I need to tell you (and Ancestry) about a serious bug.

I planned to use the iPad and the Ancestry app while visiting archives since an iPad is much less bulky than my too ever-present laptop. I was leaving a library and heading over to a courthouse. I thought to pull out the iPad and synchronize my latest tree changes.

Little did I know that the iPad had connected to the library’s Wi-Fi, but needed an additional button click on a page in the browser.

This confused the Ancestry app. It popped up a message, saying some error had occurred. I think when I dismissed the message, the Ancestry app immediately closed down of its own accord. I knew what had happened, so I went to the browser and finished connecting the Wi-Fi. Then I started up the Ancestry app again. The app had logged me off, so I had to start over. Worse, it had flushed my tree off the iPad. With 8,000 people in my tree, it took several minutes to re-download, delaying my start at the courthouse.

I’m definitely hoping Ancestry.com can fix this one.

3 comments:

  1. I also have an iPad with the ancestry app. It is much easier to travel with than a laptop. I've used it in Salt Lake City at the Family History Center and in my travels to Ireland. I find it quite useful. I would like, however, to be able to access my 'notes' on each person. I keep my sources listed there. And it is not as easy to browse through your list of names. But I do like it. It also has a longer battery life than my laptop. It is not always possible to plug in at a library or archive. Enjoy you iPad.

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  2. I stay logged into the app, I don't ever have to re-log in. I'm sure its just an option you can check, don't rememebr where I did that though.

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  3. My connection dropped out tonight and ... guess what ... my tree had been flushed so had to re-download the whole lot ... definitely needs fixing

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