Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Preview of Changes to Search

Preview of Changes to Search: "

We’ve been working on some changes to search, and want to give you a preview before it’s finalized, so we’ve created a small guided tour that will be launching on the site in a few days.

First of all, I’d like to say thanks to all of you who have put time into helping us, posting to your feedback on the blogs, on our message boards, during usability studies, at conferences, in focus groups, those who we have visited in your own homes, and especially those who have contributed to the user group which reviewed the early prototypes.

What we heard was that Ancestry Search needs to give you more control of your searches, more relevant results, better ways to find our data collections, and ways to search more efficiently. Based on your input, over the coming weeks and months, we’re planning on making a number of changes to the way search works.

Here are some of the areas we’ll be changing:

Search homepage – We’ll be developing a new search form, a clickable map, links to all our content categories, and new features to help you find information you’ve seen in the past.

Explore by Location – We’ll be offering a new browse experience for data collections by country, state, or county.

Recent Activity – We’ll be introducing new ways to keep track of recent searches and the collections you have browsed to recently. You can restart your research more quickly after taking a break with these new tools.

Search Forms – We’ll be making some changes to both the basic and advanced search forms – some elements will be launched in advanced search this week, others are still work in progress. We’ve tried to find new ways to help you enter the information you know more easily and give you more control over the results you get back.

For those of you who are using “old search”, we are not proposing any changes. However, we hope you’ll give the new tools a go as we launch them onto the “new search” site, and be open to trying new ways to see if you can find elusive ancestors that maybe the new tools can help you uncover… we’ve paid special attention to feedback from users of “old search” and hope you’ll find this reflected in the upcoming changes.

We’ll be posting a link to the preview on this blog as soon as it’s available, and also across the search pages in a blue bar at the top of the page. It’ll also be included in the next Ancestry newsletter.

We’re still in the process of finalizing the design, and we want to hear what you think. We’ll post a link to the preview soon. When we do, please take the tour, and give us your feedback by filling out a survey at the end.


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