The generations on either side of me link me to my past and my future. My view of family history involves revealing the roots and the branches.

Throughout this blog you will find perspectives related to the doctrines of temple and family history work from revealed revelation given to living prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS - Mormon).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Personalized FamilySearch Homepage Beta

I love when something changes! Especially when it enhances something and makes it better.

I am so excited that I have been given the random opportunity to experience a beta test of the FamilySearch new logged in homepage. I am going to share with you some screen shots of what I get to see when I log in to FamilySearch. Hopefully you will be as excited as I am. I love this new version so much that I refuse to click on the "Exit Test" button!

Some of the screen shots I will show you have already had some changes to them since I first saw the beta homepage last Friday. What I share with you today may still change before the new logged in (personalized) homepage goes live by the end of this quarter (June 2015).


The top of the homepage welcomes me by name.

In the top left section of the homepage it currently shows a possible record match for one of my relatives. Last Friday this section contained something else. It contained the number of LDS temple ordinances I have reserved with information on how to share ordinances with other family members.

I clicked on the "What's This?" button and I got a new screen that provides information about attaching records.


I then clicked on the "Learn what to do" button and I got a new screen that provides more information about what I will see on the screen. The data from the record source will be on the left side and the data from the relative's information in FamilySearch will be on the right side.


I then clicked on the "What do I look for?" button and I got a new screen that provides information on what to check when looking at the record. When I clicked the "Try it" button it took me to the "Attach Historical Records to Family Tree" Source Linker page for me to review and attach this record to the indexed individual(s) identified.


In the top right section of the homepage is a box that contains a "Recommended Task". You can click on "Skip" and switch to another task. This particular task is a record hint for a relative and is the United States Social Security Death Index. When you click the "Review and Attach" button it takes you to the "Attach Historical Records to Family Tree" Source Linker page for me to review and attach this record to the indexed individual(s) identified.


In the lower left section is a tabbed area that contains links to recent changes to "Ancestor Memories" or "Your Activity". The image below is for the "Favorites" sub tab of "Ancestor Memories". I am able to mark something as a favorite by clicking on the empty heart image. When I click on it, it turns red and marks the item as favorite. Notice also in the lower right of this image that you can share this item via multiple social media platforms direct from this page.


The next sub tab is Photos".


The next sub tab is "Documents".


The next sub tab is "Audio". I do not yet have any audio attached to any of my connections in the Family Tree.


The last sub tab under "Ancestor Memories" is "Stories".


Under the "Your Activity" tab you can see the individuals you have recently visited or recent changes made by you.


When you click on an individual's name it opens a pop up card window with the individual's information. You can click on "Sources", "Discussions", "Memories", "Tree", or "Person" and go to those respective areas of the Family Tree for that individual.


In the lower right section is currently a box that contains information about the Youth Temple Challenge. You can click the box and the website will redirect to the lds.org page for the Youth Temple Challenge. I suspect this box is customized as well to the person's login. Those that do not have an LDS login will probably see some other message.


Below the Temple Challenge box is a personalized "Your To-do List". I added one item already. In a feedback response from FamilySearch I learned that the To Do functionality will be enhanced in the next beta release and they said, "If you like to do’s you will love what we are planning." I inquired about the ability to add the names of Family Tree linked individuals. Not sure if this is what is coming, but something better is coming.


Below the To Dos is a box that contains "Your Statistics". It currently shows the number of memories you personally have added to the Family Tree and the number of individuals you are watching. Last Friday it also contained the number of LDS temple ordinances I currently have reserved. The data in this box is static. You cannot currently click on these items and go anywhere. I have suggested through feedback that one should be able to click on the "watched" area and go to the personal watch lists in the Family Tree. Perhaps this may change before the beta goes live?


Below the statistics area is a section for "Free Help". This currently contains four sections: Local Family History Consultants, Local Family History Centers, Family History Customer Service, and Live Chat. Since I am currently the local family history consultant in my area, my information is showing up. 


This help information is currently available for everyone by clicking the "Get Help" at the top right of the FamilySearch homepage (right above your username) and then selecting either Call Us, Live Chat, Find Local Help. I love that with this new homepage it is all contained in one area.

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*Clarification* 4.18.15

I received a comment that suggested that the top of the homepage needs to continue to maintain the toolbar menus of "Family Tree", "Memories", "Search", "Indexing", and "Temple". It does still have this formatting and navigation. I had not originally clipped that portion of the page since it had not changed and I was showing what had changed. You can still navigate directly to all of these areas and not utilize any aspect of the new homepage features if you choose not to.

The complete top of the homepage looks like this (notice in this image the "Share a Name" feature has returned):


And for those who may be interested, the bottom of the page has not changed either. One can still navigate to the About, Blog, Feedback, Site Map, Cookie Consent, and Language pages:


*****
Well, what do you think about this new personalized FamilySearch homepage? Share your thoughts in the comments.

15 comments:

  1. I think it's great, and like you, I embrace change, when it's for the better. Thank you for the preview!

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  2. WAHOO!! So glad you shared the screen shots of this. Can't wait to get the new Homepage now.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement to write about it.

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  3. Thanks so much for the post. I will be linking to it from my Rejoice blog.

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  4. Yes, thanks. Very helpful. When I go to beta.familysearch.org I don't see this. So it must be by invite only.

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  5. Thanks for your excellent post Amy! I have the new beta version too. :)

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    1. Fun! I hope you are enjoying it and providing any feedback to FamilySearch that you may have.

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  6. The folks in my group, FSFamilyTreeUserGroup.com, have these thoughts: The design is attractive to inexperienced, young, new users. It will be confusing to older inexperienced and experienced users. Because there is little mention of the need to prove (source) records first, correcting messed up data, and proving your relationship to the people already on Family Tree, ... and let's folks go right to a temple challenge, it misleads inexperienced users into thinking all the data on FT is okay. This is an attractive way to compete with Ancestry and other gen sites, but fails to warn of the open edit system, and the damage that can be done by frivolous edits without the research that is needed. It is an effort to attract more participants, which is desirable, but we've seen so much duplication of temple work for people with messed up data and work already completed, ... I really hoped we had learned something more by now.

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    1. Cathy, this is the link that is associated with the Temple Challenge box: https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history/temple-challenge?lang=eng&cid=hp-2359

      On that page it sends users to another page if they click on Find a Name: https://familysearch.org/campaign/reservationopportunity-vp?cid=ld-tc-1017

      This page includes a video with instruction that teaches about duplication in the Tree.

      I know this new homepage doesn't do all the things you have mentioned in your comment. Perhaps that is still coming? Some areas of the homepage have changed again since I made my blog post yesterday.

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  7. There are a lot of nice features, especially for inexperienced users. I think it will better direct inexperienced as to where to start. However, for those who are experienced, it doesn't make it very easy to just go where you want to go.

    My wife logged in the other day, and the new design popped up. Unfortunately, we were unable to easily see how to go directly to Family Tree except by exiting the new home page design. Maybe it isn't that difficult to do, but I don't see any direct links to Family Tree in the screen shots above either. I would suggest that as a minimum, the FamilySearch toolbar that is curretnly always at the top of any page within familysearch.org be retained. (The one that says: FamilySearch Family Tree Memories Search Indexing, etc.). It could be placed just under your name. When the home page was changed a couple of years ago, there was initially a lot of negative feedback from experienced users. This could be prevented if the current toolbar was retained. I really hope that those of you who are giving feedback can encourage FamilySearch to do this.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Mark. I added a clarification to the bottom of the post with two additional screen shots. The toolbar menu has not changed and is still part of the the page when one logs in.

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    2. That is great. I like it a lot better already. I'm not exactly sure how we missed it the other day. Maybe for some reason we didn't see the same screen shot--maybe it was just an invitation to see the new home page and we skipped it.

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