For those of you who are regular users of FamilySearch Wiki, you may have noticed that our main page has had a facelift. You may ask: “Why?” We will tell you. The page did not let new users or beginners to genealogical research know exactly what FamilySearch Wiki had that could help them!
For those of you who are regular patrons, our research showed that you only stayed on the main page long enough to type something in the search box and then go to the article or articles you were looking for. However, for the beginner or anyone coming to FamilySearch Wiki for the first time and wondering how the FamilySerach Wiki could help them, the main page did not give many clues. After a bit of clicking here and there, they would give up and move on, thinking that FamilySearch Wiki was only for advanced researchers.
Knowing that FamilySearch Wiki could be of immense help to the beginner, we at FamilySearch Wiki Support organized a design team to determine what should be put on the main page that would let the beginner and those new to the Wiki see what we had to offer, without extensive browsing. The new page is the result of months of meetings, consideration of all the suggestions for improvement, and all of the complaints that have been received over the years.
Again, the idea was to show the beginner and those who were new to FamilySearch Wiki what we had to offer, and that it would be evident immediately upon visiting the main page. Hence, we substituted the Tour, Write, and Edit boxes with six new boxes outlining the topics that lie within the over 70, 000 articles that inhabit FamilySearch Wiki:
- “Beginning Genealogy.” We wanted the very new to genealogy to know that there was material to help the people who had never been engaged in doing “their genealogy.” FamilySearch Wiki has a large amount of material for the beginner. We also wanted them to know that we could help them get their research started and organized through the use of their computers.
- “Find Records by Place.” We want the beginner to know immediately that FamilySearch Wiki existed to let researchers know what genealogical records are available worldwide, and how to access them and we are trying to gather even more helpful articles.
- “Research Tools.” We want visitors to know what records were available to research and how to access them, but also, how to analyze what was in those records, and what records they might consider researching in to solve particular research problems. One of the greatest attributes of FamilySearch Wiki is to give people suggestions for where they can look next for information.
- “Wiki for Groups.” We wanted our patrons, experienced or not, to know that there are others in the genealogical world to help both the experienced and the beginner. And again, we wanted beginners to know that they could ask for help from the genealogical community who are eager to help them.
- “Wiki News.” We put out a newsletter to help our patrons know what new things are coming to FamilySearch Wiki. Our newsletter also has experiences from our patrons, sharing insights and hints on doing research in various parts of the world.
- “Build the Wiki.” Besides helping the beginner and those new to the FamilySearch Wiki, we wanted our patrons to know that we are constantly looking for more material. We want whatever expertise or special knowledge they may have that is not now in FamilySearch Wiki. The Wiki has over 70,000 articles and many of them are contributed by our patrons–not everything is from the research staff at the FamilySearch Library.
However, we recognize that the result is not perfect. We have additional changes planned for the near future. Therefore, we would ask that you continue to make suggestions for improvement at Support@FamilySearch.org, with Wiki in the title.