Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dispatches from the Breakfast (FGS2013 Update 5)

While I was at the 2013 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Fort Wayne, I had the pleasure of attending a breakfast sponsored by

As with all vendor-sponsored meal invites, there's always a presentation.

The show emphasized five points of their approach to family history using Who Do You Think You Are? as an example.

The general idea was the use of records to tell a story which in turn draws people to family history. We need to know our audience and use different approaches to draw them in. Involve them in the process, make sure they can see the story you are trying to tell and make it visually compelling.

The points above are all used in the tv show. We can use them to draw our own families in as well. While each WDYTYA is a finite episode with an end, our own stories keep unfolding. I get the feeling Ancestry is crafting the "typical" user experience to assist subscribers in unfolding their own stories. Less about proper citations, more about the family history experience (which is how the vast majority of their customer base approaches genealogy).

We also got a peek at some new developments at Ancestor profile pages will have a Story View button which allows users to see an ancestor's timeline in a different format.

There was also discussion of "smart filters" which are used when searching directly from ancestor profiles. I did see an option on the presentation screen for turning smart filters on and off. Ancestry says 1% of people have this option as a test, but eventually all subscribers will get it. You can read more about smart filters at this blog post.

More updates: Family Tree Maker 2014 is coming, mobile apps are being updated, further improvements are being made to search and DNA components of

After the presentation, there was a Q&A session. Someone resurrected the dead horse that is "Old Search." The answer given was that they're trying to add the most-loved features of Old into the New. Old was expensive apparently. I'm not emotionally invested in the debate so pardon my lack of outrage.

Other questions were more of an individual nature because genealogists can't help but talk about themselves and their own issues. I wanted to hear more about what's coming up at Ancestry, but I didn't have any good general questions myself.

Guess that's it from the breakfast. I had a good time and I appreciate being kept "in the loop" about upcoming developments. Hopefully my wonderful friends and readers do, too.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for coming Amy. Sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you personally, just means we need to make it happen next time we are at the same event.

    We will be sharing information on all the things in the works here at over the next couple of months. Would love to stay in touch and get your thoughts as we roll them out.

    Kristie Wells
    Director, Global Social Media and Customer Engagement