Thursday, March 23, 2017

The New and Improved Find A Grave Shown at #RootsTech

Peter Drinkwater at RootsTech 2017At RootsTech 2017 Peter Drinkwater showed off a late-alpha prototype for a new Find A Grave website. Fearing the worst, he was quite happy when the presentation didn’t devolve into a lynching. Find A Grave diehards are that passionate. Peter asked for a show of hands of those who use Find A Grave. Every hand went up except for one older gentleman who had, apparently, fallen asleep. He asked for a show of hands of those who have contributed to Find A Grave. I think up to half of the attendees raised a hand. This was a crowd to be feared.

Peter Drinkwater is the general manager for Find A Grave, a website owned by Ancestry. While the session was titled “Getting to Know the New Find A Grave,” Peter first helped us get to know the old Find A Grave. Find A Grave was created in 1995 by Jim Tipton. “Jim Tipton lived here in Salt Lake and he had a hobby of collecting dirt from famous people’s graves,” Peter said. “He created Find A Grave as a place to document that and let other people share the locations of [famous] graves.” In 2000 he added the ability to document the graves of ordinary people. In January 2017 there were 157 million graves. For all those years, the website looked almost the same.

“It is with great trepidation that I even think about touching this,” he said. Why would we make a change, he asked? The code is quite old and there aren’t many developers who are comfortable in it. Modernizing the code will make it more secure, easier to work on, and make it possible to use new tools to improve the site.

The second reason to change it is to make it usable via a mobile device. More than 30% of visits to the site are on a tablet or phone. The ability of a webpage to adapt to smaller screen sizes is called responsive design.

The third reason to change the site is to internationalize it, making it available in a variety of languages.

The goal of the initial project is to convert Find A Grave to new code, not to add new features. That effort is well along and Peter showed off the new site to us. Peter expressed gratitude that there were no pitchforks and flames.

The new Find A Grave home page appearance

It can be found at www.gravestage.com, although a password is required to see it. Peter shared the password with us, but I didn’t get permission to share it with you. What say you, Peter? Can I share it with people?

The biggest change is immediately obvious: the search form is available on the home page. I think that is a great change. Entering the location has been simplified. Rather than selecting state then county, you start typing the name of the location (cemetery, city, county, state, or country) and select it from the list.

Search results look as shown below and can be sorted in various ways.

Search results on the new Find A Grave alpha site look like this.

An individual result looks like this:

An individual grave record in the new Find My Past website will look like this.

Peter told us the rollout plan is to follow these stages:

  1. Let people play with the beta of the new website. It operates like a sandbox. You can do anything you want, but everything you do will be thrown away. Nothing you do will effect the real Find A Grave website.
  2. Once it is ready, launch the new website as an option. Users can choose which one to use. FindAGrave.com will take you to the old website. Both show the same data and changes in one appear in the other.
  3. Once users are ready, switch and make FindAGrave.com take you to the new website. The goal is to be to this point by the end of April.
  4. I can’t remember what he said about end-of-life for the old website. Perhaps it will be kept online for a little while after the new website becomes the main site.

Any bookmarks or copies of URLs (website addresses) to the old website will still work with the new. However, going forward all new URLs will be simpler.

109 comments:

  1. Great article introducing us to the new Find a Grave site. I am excited by the updates and changes!

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  2. Well, I am one of those die hard fans. I guess I have no choice but to go with the flow.

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  3. When you click through to the Beta page the "password" is available to access the site. Think I'll have a look around. -eb

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    1. Used the password ~ was able to view the pages, but not able to sign in or see what is available in edit mode. The site did not recognize my registered email address.

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    1. Just what I expected! So disappointed!

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    2. I agree. It is missing all the siblings of my father. It sucks . It is not user friendly and looks GENERIC!

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  5. I absolutely HATE IT. The main profile picture is cut off, the bio is cut off, etc.... it sucks!

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    1. Yup. Another website ruined by people who don't use it.

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    2. Wish there was a way to "like" comments here because Diane Gould Hall hit the nail on the head. The ones creating the code are not users.

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  6. Everything should still be nicely located on one page, as it is now. Now made so you have to click, click, click to find things. The photos are put into that little box, just like on the new and horrible Ancestry site. I understand updating code. I don't understand a complete new format that makes this beloved website more difficult to navigate and ugly to look at. By the way, the part about mobile users does not ring true. I access this website on my iPad, daily. No problems viewing anything.

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    1. You expected the unvarnished truth from them? LOL
      I too access FAG from a tablet (not an iPad) and have zero problems. Never have.

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    2. I access Find a Grave on my Kindle, no problems.

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    3. Agree. Also, I understand there will be more ads with Ancestry, but putting them in the list of search results is BAD BAD and CONFUSING. Research suggestions should be clearly that and in a separate area, off to the side.

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    4. A much better place for the ads you have put in the middle of the search result list would be in an explore more box to the side like you have on individual profile pages.

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    5. This layout is bad for small screens like tablets and phones. Think about it. On my 35" monitor I have to scroll now just to see all the info in a profile with no bio. The simpler text layout of the old FAG presents a much better overview of much more info in much less space with the size of the type much better proportioned to the images. Think about it. A tablet is much closer to the size of a book and a phone much closer to the size of a paperback. Think of the way books are laid out. You don't cut pictures in the middle. You don't put pieces of 20 different things all over the place. You put enough text to get a good sense of the paragraph you are reading at least, clear links like footnotes to lead you to more complete detailed info, and if you put in pictures, you frame and size them so they have meaning to the text. You do not have to destroy readability to do auto resizing and stuff that works with mobile devices. Lots of stuff like Kindle, mobile PDF, ibooks, do it just fine and make truly user friendly research tools. Also the bright white background is bad for my eyes. Give us back the muted pale colored backgrounds.

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    6. I agree with everyone, I use my phone and don't have any problems....Why screw something up that's not broke

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  7. In #1 at the end of your post, you say "Find My Past." I am assuming you mean "Find A Grave."

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  8. Bio and photos are critical, and this new format badly crops photos and pushes biographies below the fold. Stop,and think!

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    1. Totally agree. One of the best thing about current FAG is how well laid out it is and how you can see so much together including the family layouts. Helps immensely with seeing connections and info. All that is lost in the new layout.

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    2. Another essential loss is photo credits. I had to hunt for them and a way to see the whole photo. Users should never have to hunt for the credits of who contributed information and photos. We need those to make proper cites and references.

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    3. If the photo credits are obscured, this is VERY BAD. The photo volunteers are IMHO the best thing about Find a Grave. We need to know who has had actual "boots on the ground" and we need to be able to contact them for permissions if we need to use a photo. And as Mary Jenson says, we need this information in order to write proper citations.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Please show us how the Bio portion works. I didn't even see it on any of the pages you used to demonstrate. Thanks for answering this question. I use Findagrave exclusively. This is most upsetting.

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    1. The bio is mostly cut off, and the inscription is given a disproportionate amount of space, prominence even. The main profile photo is half cut off. Absolute s***!

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    2. It truncates the full bio so you have to click a "more" link like on a long Facebook group post.
      They don't care about what users think, they only care that it looks pretty and matches Ancestry.

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    3. As long as it takes up two pages their goal is met. No photo credit either. Any memorial I want to save from now on will be a copy paste just to get the information and get it on one page. I am SO glad I had a fit of organization this winter and copied a whole lot of memorial pages for my family.

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  10. The new site would not take my email and password. Is it a separate registration to try the test site? I don't want to mess with my "real" login info. :)

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    1. Your current login won't work. It's mainly just to look and see as anything added won't cross over.

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  11. I think something should have been done about the number vultures who won't turn them over to family members. As it stands you have to make one before the body gets to the funeral home or the vultures get it. There are some good people who will turn them over but a majority who won't.

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    1. Or they should do something about people who refuse to read the website's policies and rules. Like complaining about an allowed practice.

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  12. It's still in Alpha so your comments should be more constructive so they can fix things instead of just bitching.

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  13. Ancestry strikes again. Every 2 years the wreck something that was working just fine. I WAS a contributor. I bet those days are gone.

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  14. Anytime you change a web site, or a work related platform, there are going to be people who like somethings, and whole bunch of people who hate it. (Last night was my night to hate the Comcast remote, which did away with the ability to jump through the schedule via a ten key. Now the ten key only changes the channel.) People are going to have to adapt, its that simple. It isn't your personal convenience and haits that drives their development of new platforms. Its part of it, but not only thing. Don't like the site and only want to complain? Do that. Get it out of your system. But your whining isn't going to change anything unless you include fact based reasoning beyond what you are used to. And even then, it might not be heard. But if you act like a babyhead, no one is going to pat you on the back and say there, there.

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    1. Do you suggest that we get out by deleting the memorials that we've contributed? We've all invested a lot in the site, and it's natural to feel that we have a stake in what happens to it. Cool Cookie is a fine name.

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    2. Please don't delete your memorials! For those of us who "complete" cemeteries, that's a huge headache. And you delete the work of other people-photos and links. Plus you destroy links people have made on their trees. It's a mean, lowdown thing to do.

      I hope the new site has a mechanism to prevent mass deletions.

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  15. I just tried the site, and unless I'm doing something wrong, I dont see an option to search just a single state. Every time I enter Massachusetts, I'm forced to choose a cemetery - BUT I dont know which cemetery my ancestor is buried in. Is this a beta-site restriction? or will this be permanent?

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    1. The beta site definitely needs more testing. :|

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    2. pjh If you go to the cemetery link you can just enter a state. When you enter Massachusetts, you do get a list of all kinds of choices, but you don't have to choose one of them. It would be nice if the cemeteries appeared in alpha order, but they do not.

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    3. Hi Lisa, I did try this and for me, it did not work. If I entered Massachusetts, the results pulled Kentucky, Florida, along with other states, and some international graves.

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    4. pjh maybe something strange was going on at the time you tried it? I just did it again and got all Massachusetts listings. No rhyme or reason to how they are sorted, but they are all MA.

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    5. I just did a search on Jensen and put Omaha, Nebraska in the box on the search that says you can put in city and state. I got over 57,000 results and most are not even in Nebraska, much less Omaha. And the Omaha, Nebraska ones are not even at the top. This needs fixing. Lots of times we know a general area, but not the exact cemetery. Also, cemetery names change over time or may have multiple names. So if we don't get the cemetery name just right and don't find what we are looking for, we need to be able to do a more general location search.

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  16. I've been a Findagrave member over 10 years. Yes the site needs some upgrading in the functionality but the proposed new layout really isn't necessary. I use the app some but access the current webpage on my Android phone without any Findagrave problems. Leave the page layout alone please!!! The photos of the parents, spouse or siblings aren't an improvement from the current site links to these people.

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    1. Totally agree. The new layout is not an improvement.

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  17. Super excited! Look forward to the new look. I've been a Find A Grave contributor for over 5 years now and use it nearly every day. Seems to me that the goal of a change and an update is to actually improve the site, not to punish the users as some suggest here. I remember when Ancestry changed and people feared. I held out till the very end to change my view. I barely remember what the old site looked like now. There's always bugs to work out of the system. For a person to say they won't use the site anymore - that is ridiculous! If I didn't have my three favorites, Find a Grave, Ancestry or FamilySearch, I would quit doing research!

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    1. Take a look at some of your memorials and see if all of the information from the old site has been transferred to the new site. I only looked at one of mine so far and it is completely messed up. See my comment below.

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    2. Oh good Angela. I'm glad you said that.. I thought it was just me. You're right, the memorials are all messed up. Glad this is only a test program so far!!! :-O

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    3. Right on. The links on the left margin are what I meant by my example of how a book page is laid out to have meaningful information with clean links to more detail and not just throwing together bits of information and mixing them up. In the old sites, the sponsored material does not destroy the readability of a chunk of information like a search results list. Taking a nice straight list of text info with links and a few icons and making it blockier and breaking it up with sponsored stuff (even if it is related) instead of putting it in a separate explore other research avenues box leads to confusion and losing track of a research line. Someone who is looking for more information will look to the side or bottom and click on stuff that interests us. Drive by accidental clicks disrupt research paths. If you want us to explore other research tools put them in a useful but separate place.

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    4. Also, look at my comments below about my efforts to compare Nicolas Choquet memorials. I can't do it. Lots of stuff is missing.

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  18. Will it still be a free site? Or are they going to require a fee to be able to look at the information?

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  19. s o m u c h w a s t ed s p a c e

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  20. I like that it's faster than the old one. The old one has sooooo many ads that it's slow like a dial up. On the other hand, I don't like the way the pictures are distorted and you can scroll up or down to see a news article that was posted or a larger picture.

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  21. This sucks. The memorial number is clear at the bottom of the page. The pictures look terrible and the "read more" is ridiculous. The old version worked just fine.

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  22. I just looked at my great grandfather's memorial on the new site. It doesn't have his wife, children and parents attached to him like it does on the old site. It says there are no family members currently associated with this memorial. So that is not right and did not flow over to the new site like it should have. I also now manage his memorial as the lady who originally made his memorial transferred him over to me. It does not list me as being the person managing his memorial. The new site also says that there is no bio information on him but I added his obituary to the old site so it is not on the new site. I also left a flower on his memorial for the old site but he does not have any flowers on the new site. I don't like the new site at all.

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    1. The 'new site' isn't actually live yet, so you wont see all the same information as whats on the current site. my guess is (from my experience in web testing) that the programmers pulled a copy of the database and website from a set point in time. When I did this, the data and code I pulled down to the test region was not updated with anything from the live site. You're probably just seeing old information that is being used for testing purposes. Try looking at the live site to make sure your updates were made.

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  23. I suspect that data in memorials that seems to be missing in this Beta version is data that was added by the contributor after a certain cut-off date used by the developers, yes? Hence too the absence of a lot of recent "flowers"? And the absence of memorials for recently deceased relatives of those who were added to Find A Grave some time ago?

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  24. Is there a link we can use to send our feedback and suggestions to Find a Grave?

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    1. Yes, when you are on the page, there is a feedback link in the bottom right corner of the page.

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  25. Poor programming. Enter any letter or word for the password. A new box will appear with the actual password inside quotation marks. Do not include the quotation marks when entering the password in the text box.

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  26. I didn't read through all of these comments yet, but why... when I sign into my account and pull up a memorial (my great grandfather in this case) that someone had given to me to manage years ago, does it show the old bio that the person who initially created it, and not the one I changed it to after obtaining management of it? I was thinking that maybe it's just a glitch and that all that will change once it launches, but while it shows the old bio and photos the prior person created, it shows that I sponsor it $. I'm doing this backwards... posting before reading the long list of comments, :D so hopefully this has already been addressed and I'll find it as soon as I start looking, LOL! :p

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    1. my guess is (from my experience in web testing) that the programers pulled a copy of the database and website from a set point in time. When I did this, the data and code I pulled down to the test region was not updated with anything from the live site. You're probably just seeing old information that is being used for testing purposes. Try looking at the live site to make sure your updates were made.

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  27. Just from what I see here, the grey with white text is difficult to read, hard on the eyes. The pleasant colors on the "old" site with black text was very easy on the eyes, and pleasant to look at (why the ugly colors of death needed?). Understand the need for new code, but don't understand the need to change to ugly colors, hard to read text, and reformat of the page. Hopefully, the attached spouse, children, Bio, etc., will flow over in the "new." And hopefully, the name and date will continue to be on the photo's contributed, as well as Flowers contributed. Photo size needs to be large enough to see the text on the Headstones (as it is now,) not some little Thumbnail you can barely see. Name of person (with link) who manages the Memorial is important, unless FaG is going to "manage" all Memorials, which I don't forsee. The current page format is easy to use, easy on the eyes, and does NOT need to be changed. As someone else stated in their comment, it is obvious that the persons coding, and changing the platform/format, are NOT users of FaG!

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  28. There is missing data in the old website, I found a source attached on Family Tree from Find a Grave, but the page was for some reason either removed or the site is otherwise broken. It is probably scattered entries, but it may be worth it to check those to find any more like that and eventually fix the problem or someone get new data even though the old info is AWOL

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  29. Is it just me or does the Find A Grave logo look like a comic version of a Halloween graphic? I'd like to see it presented in a more straight-forward font. It doesn't "match" any of the other fonts which are all sans-sarif. Not liking that at all, but trying to keep an open mind as to the new functionality.

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  30. I presume it is because graveyards are commonly thought of as spooky places and a sans-sarif font just looses the spooky feeling.

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  31. The new site is not a pleasant one to use, at least in this beta version. Too much wasted space, too much scrolling, the photos look funny, and too much clicking around to see what used to be one tidy page with everything instantly visible.

    I hate that to search by a memorial number, you have to click on a drop down menu. And I used the links on the left margin constantly, that's a huge loss.

    I understand that after the site goes live, they will solicit suggestions for changes. There will be a lot of tinkering to improve the site. But like a lot of people....I don't see the need for such a drastic change to the single page format, and the search page of the original site was beautifully simple. I wish they had retained more of the old format.

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  32. New and improved??? It's absolutely horrible, isn't it??? Biographical information has been wiped out. Poorly cropped pictures are the least of the problem. Pictures are also missing captions. In photographs of families, it is not obvious who is in the pictures based on just the memorial. Attributions to who added the picture is critical in doing research since the contributors of family photographs are usually other family members or researchers. To top it off, the format is cluttered and just plain ugly. Why does "improving" something always amount to ruining it???????????????? Surely, Ancestry could have created links to its other products without wrecking findagrave. At this point, I am really tired of the near monopoly Ancestry has achieved with online research. I am a contributor and memorial manager. Going into mourning for findagrave now.

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  33. I work in the software industry although not for any of the genealogy companies. I thought it would be useful to talk about how users can most effectively provide actionable feedback to software developers.

    First of all, I applaud the Find A Grave team for publishing a public beta site. Developers are reluctant to show work they know is not complete, but it is in everyone’s best interest to get direct user feedback early and often during the development process. Second, we all need to acknowledge that user interfaces need to change over time although the benefits of those changes are not often immediately apparent. And finally, recognize their job is to make money. On a free site, that means they need to increase traffic. Concepts such as internationalization and mobile support are significant to them.

    1) Generally, don’t focus on colors and fonts. Everyone has difficulty accepting the unfamiliar, and everyone adjusts with time. Although Google is an extreme example (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/05/why-google-engineers-designers), major companies employ experts and detailed processes for deciding these things.

    2) One exception to this I believe is handicapped people. Although there are tools and guidelines for accessibility, real-world feedback is still encouraged in this area.

    3) Mobile support is about providing a good user experience a variety of resolutions. Try this experiment. Pick up a corner of your browser displaying the Gravestage site. Adjust it bigger and smaller. The elements change to accommodate. A good design finds ways to continue to show the most important information as the screen size drops. This is called responsive design and it takes a lot of effort to do it well. Pick a resolution that matches your mobile screen resolution and provide feedback in this context.

    4) Developers aren’t genealogists so it is all too easy for them to make false assumptions. Help them understand with specific, actionable insights into what you want to accomplish and how you go about it. If there are enough people like you, they will surely try to accommodate.

    5) It is generally accepted that reducing number of clicks is important, and I think this is a very fair criticism.

    6) Provide your feedback with context describing what type of user you are and how you use the site. Even a specialized site such as Find A Grave has dozens of different types of users that use the site in different ways. They need to be able to all these constituencies.

    7) It is safe to assume they are familiar with similar sites in the industry, but the internet is a very big place and I find it helpful when someone says "I like to do X with the site, and I find that Y site does this particular function very well".

    As they finish the site, they will fix all the bugs like photo cropping and stuff. But, they need help with understanding the many diverse use cases that ultimately affect the broad structure and design of the site.

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    1. I agree. Very well stated. I will try to provide feedback with this information in mind.

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  34. First, honesty is not a word in the vocabulary of ancestry. They have a consistent, lonnngg history of "dishonesty for dollars". First step to removing it as a free site most likely. And a move toward making it as reliable as an ancestry online tree a direction findagrave has been moving in since it was taken over by ancestry.

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  35. I don't care for the newly designed site. You've taken a clean, elegant MEMORIAL page where ALL information was concisely and clearly outlined and linked and replaced it with a cluttered, ugly display of scattered bits and pieces of information and chopped up photos, requiring several clicks just to visit the complete memorial. I fail to see how this new site serves the users and contributors better, no matter what type of hardware they are using. I've contributed over $500 dollars to remove the ads from 107 family memorials so that the memorials might be displayed in a respectful manner. Now to see this mishmash displayed as memorials to loved ones just makes me sad.

    Another respondent suggested we detail how we use the site. I'm a FAG memorial owner, FAG photo contributor, a researcher (ancestry account for years) plus I've entered 3000+ edits for various parent and spouse links on FAG. I usually work from my desktop but have also worked from a laptop or Ipad.

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  36. The best thing they could do the FindAGrave would be to limit it to finding a grave. It is not a genealogy site. People should not put up the "graves" of people when they don't know where it is and they don't provide a PICTURE of a gravestone or a reference showing that the person was actual BURIED in the graveyard. It has become a place for people to dump their Ancestry unsourced family trees. That is a reason why Billion Graves is better. I use FindAGrave all the time, but when I see junk talking about parents, dates, etc., with nothing as a reference, it makes FindAGrave look like it was made out of whole cloth, i.e. imagined.

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    1. I agree, Vic. Without a photo of the grave, then who knows where the information is coming from?

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    2. Vic, I agree with you but that horse got out of the corral a long time ago. When Ancestry bought the site and allowed people to link memorials into family trees, it became about as useful as you would expect from an unsourced collaborative tree.

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    3. Death certificates indicate burial place. Sometimes headstones are sunken, broken, removed, unreadable, etc. A person can be buried in a cemetery yet their headstone never found. People are buried at sea. Many poor people couldn't afford a headstone. Findagrave understands these situations and allows memorials to be created anyway.

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    4. Jean - If there is no stone, but there is information about the deceased, the source of that information should be clearly stated, otherwise it gives the impression that the data is coming from the headstone.

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  37. If you want to consider some real improvements, think about adding a partial name search on the first name like you have on the last name. And consider giving us some fuzzy searching on names like soundex and common equivalents like covering Ann, Anne, and Annie in the same search or Thomas and Tomas in the same search.

    Also, give us the option to specify either a range of dates or a +/- a number of years on less than exact date searches. That would be a huge improvement.

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    1. Also come up with some date filters that make sense for genealogy research. When you are researching history, how long ago something was added isn't much use. But give me something like 1800's, 1900's, 2000's and you have given me something useful.

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  38. I'm trying to compare old memorials to the same profile on the new site and lots of stuff is not working. 145917827 is the memorial number for Nicolas Choquet born 14 Feb 1644. I get an error searching by the memorial number. Same thing with his wife - 160927884 . I'm getting server errors. So I tried searching by the exact name and birth year from the original site : Nicolas Choquet, year born 1644 . No results. So I ran the search with just the name Nicolas Choquet on both the old and new sites. I get 4 results not including the one I'm looking for on the new site and 6 results including the one I'm looking for on the old site. I have no idea what's going on but some serious debugging of the search function is needed.

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    1. I've done some more digging and have even more issues. I noticed that on the old FAG site, the Ann Julien and Nicolas Choquet (1644) have these little icons on the corners of the photos that say "Done." I thought maybe that this was a mark that some profiles had been optimized for the new coding. If that is the case, then it isn't working because these are profiles with the Done markers that are not coming up in the new site.

      Also, I kept looking until I found one that is in both. Louise Crevier Meugniot, 60058340 is a profile that is in both. On her the memorial number search works without the server error.

      But when I compare the profile on the two versions, the new version includes only one of the photos - the one of the grave stone. The second photo of Louise herself is gone in the new version. Since the site is billed as a memorial site, those memorial photos are especially important. Memorials are what differentiate FAG from Billion Graves.

      Note also that on the old FAG platform, there is a link to Louise's husband. That link is gone on the new site. Spouse links are essential.

      I note that on her brother, Napoleon T. Crevier, the link to his wife is there so maybe the missing link to Louise's husband is a symptom of the missing profile problem. Emile Celestin Meugniot comes up on the old FAG site, but he does not come up on the new gravestage site even with a very broad search for all with last name of Meugniot.

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    2. Now, go back an look at Louise Crevier Meugniot's profile in the old FAG and in the new site. Look at how the layout allows you to view her picture and read the text along side at the same time sort of like facing pages on a book. As you go down, there are nice neat links below leading you to family members. You can view it the same way on a phone or tablet by turning it landscape.

      Now look at it on the new site. First of all you have to click read more to get even close to this kind of view where your mind takes in the info in the gravestone picture and the text at the same time and relates them.

      Next move down to the family links. On the old site they are arranged in a way that makes chronological sense and makes the most use of the space - Parents, Spouse, Siblings. You need to look at her husband Emil to see how a really full profile looks with multiple spouses, children and sibilings. Its still neat and continues down side by side with a full second photo so the mind is still relating the pictures to the text info. And things are still neat and space efficient which is very important for a site used for research, especially an area that moves on links between people.

      Now go back to the new site for Louise.
      First the thumbnails in the family list are useless. Gravestone photos convey no information unless they are large enough to read, and even on a large screen these thumbnails can never be large enough to read. The columns also waste space. You already have the screen divided into two big columns - one for the text and another for the photos and flowers and ads. Dividing the text side again and adding on thumbnails that are too small to read the text on the stones just wastes more screen real estate and makes it choppier.

      If you absolutely insist on the gravestone photos with the family members, at least you could go back to using the full width of the screen putting full size photos of the stones on the right and just link lines with names and dates like the old site in a single list. But that really isn't an improvement.

      Just give us our single text list of relatives in a more compact format where the eye can take in all the family relationships at once and use the right area for either the flowers and memories or more photos. And please, please, give us back the photo credits.

      Delete
    3. Now at the very bottom there is something new that is actually useful. Moving the find more Meugniots in the same cemetery, town, state, and on FAG from the left to just below the family members makes sense. After someone looks at family members it is just logical they may want to look for others. And pairing it with a box to look for other leads on the same last name in the Explore More box is a good way to connect in with other Ancestry resources. This puts them where they are useful and easy to find for those who might be interested without breaking up the information users are tying to observe. This is much better than those sponsored breaks in the search result lists which do not make sense where they have been put.

      But now follow the link to Louise's father Charles Crevier and its a mess. Most of the text is gone. On top of that I've just noticed the cemetery entry photos are gone. These are very important too. Often with a lot of similar names to cemeteries, these photos are very important in helping me make sure I'm searching the proper cemetery. They need to be on the individual pages as well as the cemetery search page. They help a lot in making a virtual visit to the cemetery to keep the user oriented as to which cemetery they are in.

      Delete
    4. Also, look at the birth location for Charles Crevier on the old and new sites. They are different. The one on the new site actually reflects the complete update I sent in and is correct, but the point is that we can't have the migration from the old site and data to the new site changing the data. Whether you are a casual user just learning about your family or a serious genealogist, accuracy and credits showing where the information came from are important. And FAG is way too big to have to go back and proof it all after the migration. The data has to migrate accurately without loss or change.

      Delete
    5. I highly recommend moving the memorial number, date added, and creator of the memorial up from the bottom of the photo page (where it is very difficult to find) to the title bar with the name, birth and death date and burial location.

      Delete
    6. If you insist on making changes to the layout, then I suggest keeping the new title block at the top but adding the creator and memorial id number to it like I suggested and keeping the new "see more memorials in" and "explore more" boxes at the bottom. Then put everything in the middle back to the way the main center block of the old site is. Include our old buttons for "Add a photo" and "Request a Photo". These are important.

      Its probably okay to change our existing tabs to those click/touchable buttons at the top of the main area, but give us back share and edit. I see you have moved them further up to the title bar/box area, but they are less noticeable there. Also, I can't explore and evaluate what's behind share, edit and save-to because you can't sign in on this beta.

      Its very important for a contributor to see what you are planning there to evaluate.

      Delete
  39. Suggestion for memorial owners: The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has a new beta site which makes it simple for you to enter a URL and make a snapshot of the page for archive.org. If you want your old memorials to be preserved in the classic format, why not save copies now? https://web-beta.archive.org/

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  40. Ancestry.com will screw Find A Grave up to the point where it is unusable the same way they screwed up the new Ancestry.com

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  41. More than 30% of visits to the site are on a tablet or phone. Ergo 70% are not. Would that 70% be desktop or laptop computers?

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  42. This what happens when Ancestry gets into something that works.

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  43. Am I missing something or can you no longer enlarge pictures?

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  44. Every time there is something good,someone has to screw with it.

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  45. I had information on my brothers cremation linked to my family and it is GONE! Why don't you people leave well enough alone?

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  46. I'm part of the 70% who works exclusively from my laptop computer, and intend to do so. I'm not really impressed with the "squished and distorted" photos on the memorial pages at first view. I'm also not impressed with having to click on 'Read More' in the bio portion ... or 'click' on the photos to get a clearer view of them. I noticed that hyperlinks within the bio portion, connecting family members, do not appear in the new format, and links to children and parents also do not show up.

    I echo, and totally agree with, the comments of M Milkweed on March 25, 2017: “You've taken a clean, elegant MEMORIAL page where ALL information was concisely and clearly outlined and linked and replaced it with a cluttered, ugly display of scattered bits and pieces of information and chopped up photos, requiring several clicks just to visit the complete memorial. I've contributed over $500 dollars to remove the ads from 107 family memorials so that the memorials might be displayed in a respectful manner. Now to see this mishmash displayed as memorials to loved ones just makes me sad.”

    I too have contributed money to sponsor 132 memorials, and that was the ‘small’ expense. Who can put a price on the time and energy and expense involved over the years in travelling to various cemeteries, photographing headstones, and then uploading this information? As a contributor, I have been generous and very willing to give of my time, because I felt the site was a good one and easy to navigate – Please don’t make me sad or mad!

    ~ Linda Morgan ~

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  47. i will stay with the older version. it is nice and ordered. it shows more to me than the newer version without clicking all the time. I can see that the designers have a new look, but we do not need it to look like some other web page that is already on the net and i do not like that one so i rarely go there.

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  48. Well that may be beta software, but now when I go to Find A Grave, and click on some files that i created a few years ago, now an add pops up and I can't do anything about it. Very frustrating.

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  49. I have been an active contributor since 2007. Coding may need to be changed but format and display of information of current site does not need to be changed. If I have a preference, I will stay with the older version. Otherwise it is a waste of my time to continue my contribution/research efforts and need to design my own site for collecting information like the old findagrave site.

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  50. I have been an active contributor since 2007 and it appears you are taking a wonderful site and changing it into a site like Billiongraves which I DO NOT like to use and contributed very little to this site. I am familiar with coding and it is possible to keep the same layout and functioning tools of the current site and update the coding. It appears I have wasted over 10 years of research efforts on findagrave and should have designed my own website. If you keep the same layout, I will continue to actively contribute to findagrave. If not, it appears I need to get started designing my own site.

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  51. I agree wholeheartedly with Martha Reid's comments.

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