Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com Blog Gets a New Look

Posted by Heather Erickson on March 4, 2010 in Ancestry.com Site, Company News

No need to adjust your computer screen – you’re at the right place. As you may have noticed, we have updated the appearance of the blog to give it a little facelift based on feedback we received from the blog survey we conducted this past January.

The appearance updates are minor, but we hope they will make the blog a little more user friendly for our readers. As part of the makeover process we have simplified archived blog posts and moved popular links to the top of the page to make them more accessible.

The Ancestry.com blog look may have changed, but the content remains the same. We will continue to post updates around new additions – our product, content, features and other services – as we develop them, and you will hear from the people who create and develop these products and site features for Ancestry.com.

We hope you continue to enjoy the updates we provide on the blog as you experience the journey of discovering, sharing and preserving your family history.

About Heather Erickson
Heather Erickson is Head of Global Communications for Ancestry.com and has been with the company since 2009.

29 comments

Comments
1 ValerieMarch 4, 2010 at 9:24 am

The only real, non-cosmetic, difference that I notice about this blog is the way that comments have been “hidden.” Previously, I could see the number of comments on each post from the blog’s main page. Now, you must open each post individually to see the number of comments and then click again to actually read comments.

I would think that – from recent blog comments – you would have picked up on the fact that your users don’t like when your updates create extra clicks. It seems to me that you are trying to hide blog comments, which tend to be negative.

2 Andy HatchettMarch 4, 2010 at 11:27 am

I like the look but agree with Valerie’s comment on the placement, etc. of the comments.

3 NancyMarch 4, 2010 at 11:28 am

Heather, I agree with Valerie–way too many clicks to get to what I could see right away before. I often went to the main blog page to see the number of comments on each blog and then know if there were any that I had not seen yet. Now I have to click, click, click.

Also, just to get to the comments on a blog from the home page, an extra click.

The only thing that seems to be an improvement is that the comment box has been moved and so on Firefox at least, it doesn’t seem to slide around and make it difficult to submit a comment.

4 Andy HatchettMarch 4, 2010 at 11:32 am

Nancy,

Yep- I could tell at a glance if there were any new entries to each article but now…. *sigh*

They could easily put the number of comments right after the “Read More” link (and the end of the article).

5 Jerry BryanMarch 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I very much like the new look and feel. I very much like the links on the right hand side of the page.

But I very much miss seeing the number of comments before opening the blog. That’s the way I was able to tell very quickly which threads had new comments and which threads did not. It’s therefore going to take much longer to read the blog now than it used to.

6 Jim LivermoreMarch 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm

As already stated above. Another implementation failure.

7 Heather EricksonMarch 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Hi all,
Thank you for your feedback on the new look of the blog. With any change to our site (including our blog), we realize that our changes may not please everyone. But we will absolutely take your comments into consideration as we look to make additional updates to the blog.

8 Andy HatchettMarch 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Heather,

The problem isn’t that your changes rarely please everyone; the problem is that the first roll out of any changes rarely please hardly anyone (except maybe those who initated the changes to begin with).

A subtle, but telling, difference. ;)

9 JoMarch 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Heather,

I like the placement of the box for adding comments and it’s nice having the date when comments will be closed.

I also like the placement of the Ancestry links and the choice of links, I think that will be helpful to newcomers.

However, like the others, I want to quickly & easily see the number of comments, which tells me two things…if there are comments I haven’t read yet and if a topic is generating a lot of interest.

Jo

10 JoMarch 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

PS: I think comments should be expanded by default.

Even when trying to reduce use of the mouse, it takes 5 tabs and pressing the Enter key to expand the comments.

11 VirginiaMarch 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

1) Agree with the comments about the “comments”…was nice to see # of comments from the “home” page.
2) That being said…I do like the “stream-lined” appearance of the blog…more business like than the “cutesy” mode Ancestry keeps applying to all of its features…would be nice if you continued to “tighten” the look of your other features (like your search pages).
3) Love the placement of the comment area and LOVE the placement of the “looking for help” and the reference to your Message Boards.
Virginia

12 HaydnMarch 4, 2010 at 3:18 pm

What is it with Ancestry and making people click more to do the same thing. First they messed up the trees and now they are getting their hands on the blogs. What have you got planned next?

All we are asking for is that you make things more user freindly and stop slowing our ability to do anything down to a crawl. I have nothing against you giving things a face lift but please consider how it will affect the user first.

Haydn

13 Pat SecordMarch 4, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Once again, I feel that Ancestry is just changing things for the sake of change. Are you trying to justify your jobs? I agree with all the others – now we have to work at seeing the number of comments.

14 Ron LankshearMarch 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Not sure why a change BUT it looks good. The real estate is now wider and the comments also which makes them easier to read and scan. Just wish the New Search hit list results were wider as they take up more down page space than old search.

PS where is RSS feed for comments?

15 JamesMarch 4, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I like the changes. Thanks for listening. Having the “Comment” box at the end of the thread is much better than before (reading all the way to the bottom then having to scroll back up to the top to make comments.)

Regards,

16 Carol A. H.March 4, 2010 at 10:05 pm

OK, another voice on the number of clicks (TOO MANY) to get to the comment area and the number of comments doesn’t show without more clicks. I agree with others on this. I monitor the number of comments to particular blogs. Well….I used to!

I’m really begining to believe you are making it more time consuming to do anything to get us to stay on Ancestry longer, therefore keep our subscriptions longer. Are you doing anything to keep the site faster? I don’t think so.

The “widescreen” look is ok and the slider bar in the comment area is nice. But didn’t we have more archives, or am I having another senior moment?

“USER FRIENDLY” IS FEWER CLICKS!!!

“USER FRIENDLY” IS FEWER CLICKS!!!

“USER FRIENDLY” IS FEWER CLICKS!!!

17 Jerry BryanMarch 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I’m fully aware of the fact that most any change will make some people happy while making others unhappy. But in this case, I don’t think the happy/unhappy index is very balanced. I think that close to 100% of your users will be happy with the cleaner, crisper, tighter look and feel of the blog interface. And I think that 100% of your users will be unhappy with the great difficulty in seeing the number of posts for each blog entry. Beyond the actual number of posts, it’s also now much harder to determine which blog entries are still open and which have been closed.

18 BakerMarch 4, 2010 at 11:34 pm

oh you guys cause more frustration
couldn’t post my comment at all earlier today

LOL thanks for trying

19 BakerMarch 4, 2010 at 11:35 pm

what the heck then when i post my comment all the comments disappear and i go up to the top of the blog where i have to click to see the comments. can’t i just stay here and press refresh to see new comments as they come along.

gee do your programmers even us the programs the try to “enhance”

*sigh*

20 BromaelorMarch 5, 2010 at 6:59 am

I welcome the appearance of the “Ancestry Knowledge Base” but will the “lost-and-confused” ever manage to find it? Perhaps an article on the blog on how to use it might help?

21 JadeMarch 5, 2010 at 8:41 am

Too bad you eliminated the listing of Blog Poster. Since sometimes statements about policies and plans are useful, but post-categories (did you remoeve one or two?) are sometimes counter-intuitive, being able to search by name of the Ancestry.com poster was sometimes helpful.

22 DeborahMarch 5, 2010 at 6:13 pm

#17
I agree completely.

23 TomMarch 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Thanks for the blog, keeping us in the loop, and allowing us to comment for possible improvements. I’m a big fan of extra navigation options on the sidebars and not a big fan of removing functionality.

Dang, this reply isn’t dramatic enough. Maybe I’ll add a *sigh*.

24 BrklynBridgeMarch 6, 2010 at 7:06 am

Nice look and feel…so far so good…but (there’s always a but)…

How ’bout a link at the bottom of “comments” to take me back to where I was when I first opted to expand the article and read the comments in the first place?

25 Jerry BryanMarch 7, 2010 at 9:29 am

I know I’m repeating what I’ve already said and what many others have already said. But please, please, please restore the ability to see the number of comments to each blog at a glance. This problem is not a minor deficiency in the new blog format. It really is a major problem.

This not a “some like the change and some don’t” issue. This also is not a “some users will object to any change” issue. 100% of your users want and need this ability to see the number of comments to be restored, even if they like all the other changes. As nice as the new blog is in many ways, and as much of an improvement as it is in many ways, it would still be better to go back to the old blog if you can’t keep the number of comments at the forefront of the new blog.

26 Andy HatchettMarch 7, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Jerry,

I fully agree.

Maybe what is needed is a revised Table of Contents where the first page of the Blog only shows the Article Title, date posted, initiating Blogger’s name, and number of comments.

Something like:

Article 1 Title here Date posted here
Initiating Blogger here Commets number here

Article Title 2 here Date posted here
Initiating Blogger here Commets number here

Article Title 3 here Date posted here
Initiating Blogger here Commets number here

Article Title 4 here Date posted here
Initiating Blogger here Commets number here

That way one could click on the article title to read it or if one has already read it to click on the comments to see the latest comments, or click on the initiating Bloggers name to see their profile.

That would save a LOT of clicking.

27 Andy HatchettMarch 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Heather, Jerry, et al,

Since we can’t do attachments here I put a proposed layout here:

http://boards.rootsweb.com/topics.ancestry.ancimprovements/mb.ashx

The thread is titled New Blog Layout.

Comments welcomed

28 Deb HMarch 8, 2010 at 8:49 am

I’m a few days behind reading the blog…all I can say is “ditto to comments 1-17″ (at least). I like having the number of comments visible for all the reasons previously mentioned….and way too many clicks….sigh. Would it really be so hard to put out some “feelers” on the blog to ask users’ opinions about proposed changes before they’re implemented to the dismay of 90% or more of Ancestry subscribers/blog readers?

29 Mary CarrMarch 18, 2010 at 12:20 am

I do not like the way you changed everything!!!! It actually liked it the way you had it this changed it this last changed. Just when I get it figured out it changes.I HATE going to other peoples information and doinig all the clicking back and forth.I just get sick of it. I did enjoy it before. Why was it changed? PLEASE do something, change it back if you can’t make it better.DO SOMETHING REALLY SOON!!!!

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Here you will find informational, and sometimes fun, posts from the folks behind the scenes here at Ancestry.com. We hope you’ll notice just how passionate we are about family history and about the products we’re building to help connect families over distance and time.

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