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# Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Ancestry.com Plays up New Search Experience
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com staffers have been working the PR circuit lately to promote the new "search experience" opened to the public this spring. Makes you wonder whether the old search will be shut down soon—after all, the company wouldn’t run the two searches side-by-side forever.

In an interview last week, product development manager Kendall Hulet told me about 90 percent of people still were using the old search. And on blogs including our own, Ancestry.com’s and the Ancestry Insider, most seem to prefer the old search.

Part of the issue may just be getting used to a new way of doing things, but Hulet knows there still room for improvement.
 
"There are bugs," he admitted, but emphasized you can use the Tell Us What You Think button to send feedback (comments specifically describing a problem are most helpful). The Ancestry Insider quizzed him about two bugs, including one that causes more false matches with the new search than the old.

I asked Hulet about that bar in the new search results that basically says you’ll be wasting your time if you continue looking at results. Why even include those far-fetched matches?

The warning is an attempt to help people who otherwise would spend hours clicking every single result, Hulet says, while also giving more-experienced users access to any record that has the remotest chance of being an ancestor. “What I suggest to people who don’t want to see all those results is to use more Exact terms in their search,” he added.

Something else to watch out for: In the advanced search, if you click the Exact box for one of your terms, the search won’t find records that don’t include that information. (Sorry for the double negative—say you choose Exact for a birth date. Your search won't pull up a newspaper engagement announcement that lacks birth information.)

Hulet couldn't say when the old search might go away. He did say something you'll be happy to hear—an improved search engine is in the works (though he cautioned the upgrade would take some time).
  
Hear more from Hulet about Ancestry.com's new search experience on DearMyrtle’s July 1 podcast.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, July 09, 2008 2:43:22 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [9]
Thursday, July 10, 2008 11:08:06 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I'm an "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of person. I tried Ancestry's "new search" engine and hated it. I much prefer the old version.
Margaret McCleskey
Thursday, July 10, 2008 11:42:19 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Not being able to search by state is a real problem. If it can be done in the new search site I can't find it.

And they still do not let you sort by catagory (such as first name, date, county, etc.)
genejoan
Thursday, July 10, 2008 11:52:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I completely agree with Margaret McCleskey about the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and that is exactly what I have sent to the good folks at Ancestry.com.

They didn't seem to listen to my feedback that they requested until I replied back sent the following: "It is the stupidity of Ancestry.com to dumb-down the website that I object to. You obviously don't read the messages and this is strictly another one of your dumber-than-the-website answers." The nicer feedback with my concerns seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

They finally decided to forward my concerns to their corporate department. It is the dumbing down of the home page, and the cumbersome manner they have "improved" the so-called homepage.

Why make it so hard to do what we do? It was a great site, but now I am finding myself trying to find my own shortcuts to get to the searches. It was the insulting response that got them to finally listen.

I know they are wanting the novice, but the experienced researcher should be taken into consideration too. After all it is our subscriptions that pay for that website in the first place.

Linda Arnold
Menifee, California
Linda R.F. Arnold
Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:35:22 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I'm another one that told them if "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." And, like genejoan I really hate not being able to search state by state. If Ancestry has any sense they will listen to their customers because we're the ones paying the bills... and, the customer is always right! :)
Bonita Voigt
Thursday, July 10, 2008 4:56:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I, too, dislike the "new search". Even the old way often gives me a lot of junk that doesn't have anything to do with the person I am searching for, but at least it doesn't send me a million or so entries to plow through. The new Home Page isn't an improvement on the old one, either. I just renewed my membership and hope I'm not going to be sorry that I did.
Esther Leonard
Thursday, July 10, 2008 9:28:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
The problem is that Ancestry.com doesn't properly plan and test changes before bringing them to the public. This makes the customers TALK ABOUT Ancestry but in a negative way and sometimes to the point of dropping their subscriptions...like me.

The errors with the exact search is inexcusable. The layout of the new interface is also awkward. I am an experienced software professional and know how to analyze usability. It is not just that people have trouble "adjusting" to the new layout. The new search interface is truly more awkward and requires more steps in entering criteria.

Since dropping my subscription, I have continued to watch to see if there are any signs that Ancestry is starting to "get it" again but it it not happening. I would suggest that they apply some of those financial resources they spend for CNN ads to improving their planning and implementation of changes so they truly are improvements.
Linda
Friday, July 11, 2008 12:52:32 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I am also of the opinion, leave things alone. I recently bought THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO ANCESTRY.COM and, of course, it is the old search. I wonder if they will refund my money if they do away with it, eh?

I also do not like the "home page." It seems if any one, ANY ONE, invites you to see their page they make it YOUR home page. I did not have any family information or "tree" on Ancestry so I was given home pages of two of my cousins. Although both contained information about my family neither was MY tree. I called Ancestry but was told they could do nothing about it. I find this a lot, big companies can change things and suddenly are unable to change them back which makes one wonder if they are as smart as they claim. At any rate I finally put up a fiction "family tree" (The Rabbitt Family, "Harvey Rabbit and his father Peter Rabbit")and it is now my home page and I am no longer intruding on a family tree I do not "own" or create. The problem is that both of my cousins "tree's" are large and take forever to load...So, I made the "Rabbit Family" only two generations.

Personally I am not sure I am going to renew my subscription to Ancestry.Com OR my subscription to the ANCESTRY magazine.
Richard Moore
Sunday, July 13, 2008 11:50:48 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Regarding Richard Moore's solution to not have a tree of his own and creating a fake one: good thinking, but is this my future? I have 5 trees on Ancestry but none are large...yet! If they get large, which is why I use genealogy software in the first place, will I have to do the same thing? I notice the last tree I worked on comes up when I log on. Are we being reduced to "running ahead" of the programmers to stay in the game?

What Ancestry needs is competition, good competition. I won't go into the new search. I have nothing good to say about. it.
Carol A. H.
Monday, July 14, 2008 1:04:26 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Re: the two comments below this solution:

You can search by state by clicking on the search tab. The search form is there just choose the tab you want to search.

Historical Records
Family Trees
Stories & Publications
Photos & Maps

You can enter a first name, last name, choose USA in the "lived in All Countries" then a state choice will appear. You can click on Advanced Search to have every option you need to enter your information.

You can also scroll to below the Search form to find a list of all the states, clicking on a state will give you all the databases for that state.

Hope this helps you.

Edith
================================================================
7/10/2008 11:42:19 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Not being able to search by state is a real problem. If it can be done in the new search site I can't find it.

And they still do not let you sort by catagory (such as first name, date, county, etc.)
genejoan |genejoanAT NOSPAMmt dot net
================================================================
7/10/2008 3:35:22 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I'm another one that told them if "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." And, like genejoan I really hate not being able to search state by state. If Ancestry has any sense they will listen to their customers because we're the ones paying the bills... and, the customer is always right! :)
Bonita Voigt |zippyvAT NOSPAMgroundcontrol dot us
Edith
Comments are closed.