Apparently I am one of the 10% to try out the new search interface? (without being notified first). I honestly thought my computer was having issues.
I do not like it, and if you keep it I will have to stope using family search and will tell others to do the same.
This does not make searches simpler or quicker, but makes them much harder. Yesterday I spent well over an hour looking for a source that I know is there. Someone had removed it from my 2nd great aunt, and I was going to attach it again, but with the new search was not able to find it anywhere. Checked on ancestry, and found it immediately.
Please! Go back to the old format!
@Brenda Becker_1 I'm not a big fan of the new search format. But - you should have been able to find the detached source relatively easily by looking in the changelog for your 2nd great aunt. What was added, changed, or removed should have been listed there.
@Casey Robinson 001
Perhaps some of the responses here have not quite met your request to be "kind, specific, and constructive", but you should perhaps be able to empathise with the exasperation of regular users who had had no serious issues in using the old format, but are suddenly expected to adapt to something they find totally "un-user friendly", without expressing their deep feelings.
I cannot believe the developers responsible for this are regular users of FamilySearch - well, in respect of tracing their relatives and others in the huge amount of indexed material FamilySearch has made available to us. If so, I would challenge them to work for a couple of days using the old format and a further couple of days using the new. If they are able to find relevant sources more easily, I take my hat off to them.
Never mind the "threats", I sincerely believe the complete implementation of these new Search pages will deter many users from using the website. Without exaggerating, I dread signing-in each morning in a fear I will not have the old pages to use and have to be faced with the most unnecessary change I have encountered in my ten years working in FamilySearch.
I doubt very much that it is now possible to abandon this idea completely, but just hope that in future the genuine needs of the everyday user will be borne in mind, and meaningful consultations be carried out with the same, before any such change is forced upon them.
Here is an example of a problem with a search that has arisen in using the new page(s).
When searching for a death, to reduce the amount of results I was able to add a year range for the birth and perform an "Exact" search whilst leaving the Birth Place field blank, then add a Death Place and year range.
It seems a Birth Place must be inputted now, but this gives me results that do not match my requirements, because the death records are not indexed with a place of birth!
In summary: I am no longer able to get results just containing death results for a person of whom I know a year of birth.
It appears an "Exact" search on birthplace and year now means exactly that, whereas "previously" I would have still been provided with a list of deaths for individuals born in the 1856-1860 period, without having to add a birthplace not found in the death record.
After many years of posts being submitted on this specific issue, I see there is still no mention of being able to use wildcards in a search! At times this has been the only way I have been able to trace my relatives with "elusive" records, yet still no advice on the "new" Search home page that this valuable tool is available.
I think that we can all agree that the new search page/interface is useless, and that it should be scrapped.
Paul W, I'm not getting the new search page yet and your image is just showing that blue square and hourglass at the moment so my comments might be pertinant, but I am able to use your search criteria then choose record type of Death and get just death records:
Looking at the results, I think part of the trouble with your initial search is that only the first two records have a birth date at all so the search engine was being overly helpful and started to pull in birth records from Staffordshire. By the time there are results that have a birth date in the interval you want, there is one on page 2 of my search, the search has broadened the place and the death place in that next result with both birth and death dates is in Stourbridge.
Personally I still prefer search engines that give me exactly what I ask for and not the fuzzy ones like Ancestry, My Heritage, and now here that always give tens of thousands of results even though only the first couple have anything to do with my search parameters. I haven't bothered to look at the second page of any search results in years. The yield is just way too low. I also rarely use the main search page. I much prefer the collection specific search pages.
Thanks (as always) for your response.
By "unchecking" the "Exact" option against the birth details (and checking "Death", under Record Options) I managed to get a list of 194 results, against your 195!
I think you have identified my / the problem here, in that I am only able to get a prioritised list of results, which include those that are "exact" and those that are reasonably close matches.
However, my specific point relates to not being able to reduce the list (with the apparently revised programming that has been introduced) when I do check that "Exact" option against the birth (where I include a date range but not a place name). I was definitely able to "get away" with doing this with the old routine, whereas now I get the "Something went wrong" screen, as seen via the URL link provided.
I have always thought that getting exact matches only was the great advantage in using FamilySearch, as opposed to Find My Past or Ancestry. In the case of FMP, it appears to prioritise, but then, on somewhere around the fourth page of results, there are often far closer matches than have appeared on the second and third pages! I will be very disappointed if the "new code" for these searches really does put FamilySearch more in line with FMP's and Ancestry's way of showing lists of results.
I'm just hoping I will get the "old" search pages back tomorrow, so I can add a screenshot here that better illustrates my point than describing it in words!
Sooner than I thought - I was using Firefox earlier, but find I still have the old pages when I switch to Chrome.
So, unless the image turns blue again (I will give the URL below, in case), this is what I would hope to still be getting from the new version. As you can see, I've been presented with 46 results, instead of an "Error" page, when I leave the Birthplace field blank and just enter a year range. Assuming the new version of Search is to be retained, I only hope it can be tweaked so I can get the same, limited amount of results (admittedly not all truly "exact" to my inputs) as illustrated here. Or - maybe I can and I'm missing something! Can you (or anyone) show me how to make inputs that produce only these 46 results in the new version of Search?
(Screenshot of https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?q.givenName=edward&q.givenName.exact=on&q.surname=worton&q.surname.exact=on&q.birthLikeDate.from=1856&q.birthLikeDate.to=1860&q.deathLikePlace=staffordshire%2C%20england&q.deathLikeDate.from=1911&q.deathLikeDate.to=1950&count=20&offset=0&m.defaultFacets=on&m.queryRequireDefault=on&m.facetNestCollectionInCategory=on if anyone can get to it via this URL)
(See comments above) Well I just did and the page displayed in the new format! Now to investigate if I can replicate if I start from scratch.
As far as I could see, I copied my inputs / how the page showed exactly as when I clicked on the link (above) that produced 46 results. Only now I get my original 194 results. Other users have often claimed to have received different results after inputting identical data - is this proof this can happen, or am I missing something (i.e. not really repeating the exercise with the same search criteria)?
Regarding "I see there is still no mention of being able to use wildcards in a search!" there is a fairly prominent link on the new search page:
that really gives good and quite extensive advice on many different ways to do searches and does include the use of wildcards.
Now that this thread is up to three pages, and since I don't have the production version of the new search yet, I though I'd take advantage of the chance to thoroughly compare the old search page and the current beta version of the new search to look at all the positive features and see if any useful features really disappeared or not. If it's just a matter of moving things around and changing colors to match the rest of the new website format, it really won't take long to adjust. And if there actually are some additional positive features, all the better.
Starting on the main page:
The three major sections have just shifted place. The only two real changes are that the default search place has been changed from Birth to Any Place and instead of clicking on the map then scrolling until you get to the right county, you just type in the country which really is more efficient.
I do like that on this page are now found three concise by clear explanations of the purpose of each of the three sections. Best of all is the Tips For Effective Searches link I mentioned above that goes here: https://www.familysearch.org/help/helpcenter/article/when-i-am-searching-historical-records-what-are-the-best-practices-and-tips to a very good explanation of how to do a variety of searches. That alone is enough to vote that this was an overall change for the better.
The design is nice, does not really distract from the function, and all the extra material about historical records is hidden down off the bottom of the page for new users to view if they want but can otherwise be easily ignored.
I really don't have any complaints with this page.
Taking one click to open the more options tab gives a search form that has only four actual changes from the old one:
All the same search options are there and as before, as many of them can be opened as needed. There has been some simplification of the headers.
So the main question here is whether the Any place field a more efficient search or less efficient that specifying birth, marriage, or death?
Comparing searches for Johannes, born Stord, Hordaland, between 1815 and 1820 with the new Any Place default, the new Birth Place, and the old Birth Place:
They all have the right name, they all have the right place, very few have the right date range. The Any Place of course gives more than births, however it seems a bit strange that the first ones are all Burials. The new and old searching on Birth Place are identical.
So I would say that this initial search form from the old and new interface are basically equivalent and I have no preference for one over the other. That is mainly because I have always viewed this initial search page as just something to get past. I think my inclination would be to never use this "More Options" form, just the initial one with only name and any place so that I can get off of this page and get to the real search page where one can actually get some work done.
In fact, I would happy with just a link on that first page that says "Go to Search" without needing to fill out anything on the form at all.
Why are so many of the dates in the above screen shot not proper dates? Many of them have format Death May 0018, and the 0018 seems to have no relation to the burial date.
Short answer: that is the month and day. It displays better on the actual result rather than this summary list.
Long answer: belongs in another post.
On to the actual search page. I find nothing was lost from the old version at all and nothing that should impact any of the ways people have been used to using this page. All the same search features are there and in this same search, the results are identical (the camera and attachement icons are not but that is due to differences in the Family Tree and the beta version:
However, there are some very nice changes here that actually do significantly improve efficiency of searching:
1) I was surprised that after taking 2 minutes to adjust to the search terms being on the right instead of the left, I actually find this to feel more natural, but then I'm right handed.
2) The slight increase in font size makes more of a difference than I would have though in legibility.
3) Tucking the place name under the date is more efficient in that I can scroll down one column instead have having my eyes jump back and forth between columns.
4) For people that use the filters, which can be a very powerful way to narrow results, having them always at the top of the page rather than hidden down off the screen where I always forgot about them, has got to be a welcome change.
5) The Search button is fixed (as much as HTML apparently allows). You never have to scroll to find it.
6) The search results and the search fields scroll independently (again, at least as independently as HTML allows). You can scroll through the results while the search fields stay in place making it much easier to modify a search.
7) Most welcome of all, the source summary opens to the side instead of in a fixed box that covers all the results and it can be left there while scrolling through the rest of the results:
So at this point I would say the new interface loses nothing, is certainly not more difficult to use, gives the same results as the old interface, and has many excellent new improvements. The only thing missing is that reset button.
Now to take a look at some brand new features of the search screen as found under Preferences:
Results can be displayed as usual, or as a Data Table which can be customized with just the columns wanted:
I'm not going to test this out, but I wonder if this affects what is exported when downloading a spreadsheet of the search results.
The format of the results can be displayed three ways: Minimal, Default, or All. There is isn't a lot of difference in the sample search I am using. There may be more depending on the collection the results are from:
Most intriguing are the Translated Text and Original Text options. Especially when the translation did not work very well. In this next example the original text for the birth dates in DD-MMM format displays correctly while the translated versions have a format of Month-DDDD which is confusing until one catches on to what happened.
Here is a search in a census where the effect of this setting can also be seen:
Unfortunately, this setting does not effect the place name in situations where post-processing wrecked the orginally indexed name and replaced it with an incorrect standard. For example, most of the places here that show as Tysnes, Nordland, Norway, in the actual indexing process were recorded as just Tysnes and were for Tysnes, Hordaland, Norway. But that is an issue for another post, it has nothing to do with the new Search interface.
My final impression is that this new interface does little to degrade or make more difficult how we previously searched and has several very useful improvement that function well and make searching easier.
In fact it works so well that it is reveling some problems in the actual search algorithm itself that were already present in the old interface. But that is also a topic for a different post.
My thanks to the FamilySearch designers and programmer who developed this fine improvement for us.
If it is so wonderful as you say, Gordon, why does it ALWAYS return this message from a search in Beta, if I try to view the record or even the full extract?
Because the beta system is not complete. It is bits and pieces of sections of the website that are being tested. There is a bunch of stuff you can't do on beta or that just don't work there.
Also, it probably has something to do with the record set you are trying to view and and how or if the collection exists in Beta.
Here is a random record search in Beta in the 1920 census which shows just fine:
Clicking on View Record also works just fine:
It may even have to do with when you are searching. Things may not go well if Beta is in the middle of an update.
Please keep in mind I have been discussing the interface, but did say in my next to last paragraph "In fact it works so well that it is revealing some problems in the actual search algorithm itself that were already present in the old interface. But that is also a topic for a different post."
I duplicated your search in the Norwegian census, Gordon, and the result was a failure page.
Yes, but again if that was in Beta, which is the only place I get the new Search interface. That just means that the collection is not connected to or loaded in the Beta site. If someone who does have the released production version could try the search: https://familysearch.org/search/record/results?f.recordType=3&q.anyDate.from=1891&q.anyDate.to=1891&q.anyPlace=tysnes&q.givenName=johannes I would assume the results will display just fine since it displays without a problem in the current production version I see:
The Beta site does not contain the complete FamilySearch website.
(Sorry about the deleted comments and retries. The image moderation was acting up.
After 3 weeks of being one of the 'lucky 10%' I still fail to see how this NEW search is improved, even if I am searching for more records for someone who is already entered into the FS tree with a birth place and date, a marriage place and date, a death place and date, a spouse's name.
I am still getting results that are 100 years off, places that are 100s of miles from the locations on the pre-existing records and names that bear no relationship to the names on the profile.
I could probably get used to but not happy with the new search if the results were useful but they aren't.
Come on Family Search, sort this mess out!
So, Gordon, what you seem to be saying is you love the layout of the new search without mentioning that you haven't actually tried to USE the search for its stated purpose.
The purpose of this thread as stated in the opening post was for commentary on the appearance, layout, and usability of the new design, not long term and recognized flaws in the search algorithm itself.
Anyone that is having difficulty with a specific search or sees problems with the way results are displayed needs to report that specific search with the specific parameters and URLs generated so that the team behind the search algorithm can improve it. I'll be posting an example of such in this Records (Searching and Viewing) category.
Every search I have tried using the new interface in Beta has given the same result list as using the old interface in production, as you can see in some the images in my commentary. That fact that getting from the result summary list to the actual result does not always work in the Beta environment is not the fault of the interface. It is the fault of the Beta environment. Or are you in the full production site, not in Beta, and getting the same error?
But all your "pretty" pictures serve no purpose if the system doesn't return information.
The current problem (for me, and others, I'm sure) is that when using the production version we never know what we or others will see when using those URL links. For example, I tried to repliacte the problem I had experienced (detailed earlier in this thread) but everything looked fine, as I was taken to the page in the old version. Likewise with Gordon's example. It is very difficult to replicate the problems we are experiencing with the new version because (as Gordon says) not everything is loaded to Beta (so "error" pages will be displayed in certain cases) and some of us are only seeing the new pages in the production version on certain days of the week! (Even then, I found earlier that at exactly the same time, I had the new pages in Firefox, but was still presented with the old ones in Chrome.)
One hopes the developers / engineers are taking note - although there is a problem even for them to replicate issues, if they do not have constant access to the new pages in the production version.
I accept Gordon's point that the original post was meant to provide feedback on the design and general feel of using the new Search feature, but obviously the difference in results produced (when using seemingly identical criteria) is something that must be investigated - to discover whether this is due to a bug, or is a result of some "deliberate" change in the way the algorithm now works.
This new interface is maddening in that it quite literally doesn’t work. I’ve been trying for two days to do some basic searches and I can enter all my search terms but the results page will not load. I just get the "Something Went Wrong" notice... again and again and again. Same result if I try accessing from an individual’s profile page (PID).
The one time, and I do mean one single time, I did get a search result to actually appear, it didn’t fit within my screen, stretching width wise about three times wider than my screen, causing me to have to scroll crosswise beyond functionality and well as down through the results. When I tried to filter by collection it again went to the error message.
I understand the impulse to cosmetically update things periodically, but I’m struggling to understand why a very functional and user friendly search interface (one of the best within the genealogy platforms in my opinion) would be replaced with something quite literally unusable.
I can’t comment on the functionality of the new version beyond that, because I cannot access it in any meaningful way, nor it seems can I switch back to the old version, which leaves me with no search options whatsoever. I shudder at the horror stories in the other comments here as to what I have to look forward to.
Ive been contributing to this platform for years, but sadly this is incredibly off-putting to my continued participation. Hoping some serious debugging and revision is happening.
On a brighter note, I do commend to invitation to users to provide feedback, thank you.
I was starting to wonder when I would get the production version of the new search site so today I did go ahead and clear cookies since the one time I have found this to be valuable is after major website updates and I immediately switched to the new version. Now testing the census record which gives the page not found error in Beta, I find that as expected it works perfectly fine in full production:
Rani, I really get annoyed when the only suggestion for any problem is to clear cookies, but as I said above, the one time that really does help and and is a real answer is after major website upgrades such as for the new search interface. So do go ahead and do that. Secondly, posting that things just don't work does not give the engineers anything to work with. Can you post a sample search that is not working? Can you post screen shots so they can see exactly what you are seeing? Personally I haven't seen anything nearly as bad as what is being posted here and as I've compared search results between beta and production have not seen any differences.
I still get the old version in Firefox, where I have not cleared cookies. It would be interesting to compare a search you are trying between the new version in Safari now I have it in the real websitei and the old version.
Just wanted to leave my feedback on the new search feature. It is so rough - I can do a very simple basic search and not get any relevant results, even for records that I know are there. For example, on a search with very complete birth and place information, it brings up a list of naturalization records instead of more common census records or birth or death records. I am very skilled at working with the usual search filters but honestly this new system is so mind boggling and unintuitive that I have just given up many times and left off sources that should be attached because it is too difficult to find them, even though they should pop right up. I also really find that the results coming up on the left and the search parameters section coming up on the right is not intuitive at all. Reading left to right is very natural for most users and this just makes no sense. The new process is not intuitive or natural. Go to the right, enter the info, find the results on the left. It is more than just being different than it was before, it also doesn't feel like a natural way to read this page. I would love to be a part of a FS focus group if you would like some kind helpful hands on constructive feedback. But if the goal is to help users find sources to attach, this is a huge step backwards. I have almost had to quit using the search feature and go to other websites to fill in information that will hopefully help the source hints pop up. Otherwise it is too hard to find through Search on FS.