Finding a close family member
The old days were simple, being able to search for a person only in the records I created in my own tree. Today I was trying to find the wife of one of my grandfather's many cousins. I could not remember which cousin she was married to. Creating one gigantic family tree as Family Search has done was a wonderful idea but it comes with a new set of problems. When I used the find option and enter the name it came back with 245 results in the world tree. A desire to make a simple update suddenly became painful. I finally went to Ancestry.com, found the person, then came back to Family Search. Based on this experience I recommend that the Find option include a sort option to organize the results according to the closeness of the "found" person to the home person of the user's tree.
My siblings and I were talking about how it's super frustrating how you can't just search within the tree view. I had a suspicion the "well, this is a shared family tree so you'd be searching everything still" response would come up but I don't think that's an excuse to not improve the user experience.
I'm sure there's tons of people who want to just search for someone that's a direct line ancestor or search for someone within the first 5 generations, etc. Why not add a search bar within the tree viewing experience and allow it to search for near relatives using basic filters like "only search my direct line ancestors" or "only search ancestors within the first 5 generations". That way the user is much more likely to find what they're looking for rather than searching the whole database and having to sift through 50 people with the same name. And it would be a much more intuitive flow rather than having to leave the page you're on and feel completely disconnected from your tree. Plus, the connection could automatically be made (visually) between you and the ancestor you select in the search results without you having to sit there and push the little arrows on the right until you've gone back in time 200 years. Think about it. You only see your parents and grandparents by default. What if I wanted to look at my 6th great grandfather in the context of my tree? What if I could just search his name instead of having to sit there and click on those little arrows again and again?
I'm a UX designer for The Church working on the Gospel Library app. I'd be happy to work together on a proof of concept if you guys (Family Search) are interested. Feel free to reach out to me directly.
Maybe performance is the only thing holding this back. I'm not a back-end developer so I can't speak to the feasibility. But if I can go to the fan chart view and quickly see 7 generations of my direct line ancestors. How hard would it be to run a search for the name "Mary" within those 7 generations? I just did it using CMD+F on the fan chart view and found out I have 9 Marys within my 7 generations of direct ancestors. Why not allow the user to do the same thing (from any view of the tree) and quickly find a person they're looking for?
Even a simple, limited solution to this problem would be better than nothing. Please reconsider. If people have really been asking for this feature for 10 years, I think it's time the users' voice is heard.
Here's a prototype I drew up real quick:1
This would be especially helpful if you could choose enough generations that you believe the person for whom you are searching is within those generations but outside of the current view (as your prototype shows). If you are searching within the page view the browser search function does appear to work (but not helpful when you can already see everyone you are searching). I agree the only problem with the idea seems to be performance in loading the specified number of generations for a search to the run within.
Also, I recalled that FamilySearch already uses a similar idea when tagging photos - it will suggest names in your tree as you type. So the performance must not be too big of a hit - FamilySearch should be able to implement something similar for a tree search capability.0