Software enhancement requests for Ancestry.com are not getting heard. And I think the product is beginning to suffer. – Dr. John P. Elcik
25 JAN 2021 – I just received a disappointing response to my post in Ancestry Improvements.
John-there is no way to contact anyone at Ancestry, this message board is for Ancestry Users , is not read by anyone who actually works for Ancestry and they don’t care what we the users think about the monumental problems that exist on this site.
Initially, I thought this was the complaint of a single user. When all my suggestions were deleted by the board administrator and Ancestry wouldn’t listen to my appeals for fairness, I concluded the problem is systemic. Ancestry is missing out on excellent feedback, and not only mine.
Ancestry Is Shutting Down Suggestions
Everywhere I turn, Ancestry.com seems to be shutting down suggestions and feedback on software enhancements. I dropped out of Ancestry Insiders at Gongos.com because they would not pass on enhancement suggestions. I also tried the Ancestry.com User’s Group on Facebook. That was an unbelievable experience. The User Group views all enhancement suggestions as venting. It deletes them. Nothing like the user’s groups I hosted when working for a software vendor.
I’m sure that I’m not the only user who has wanted to share information and has been frustrated by the lack of a clear process.
My recommendation is for Ancestry.com to encourage honest feedback on enhancements. That staff read and act upon suggestions. Engage with users; we want to help.
Can New Ownership Make A Difference?
The product is good but could be better. The recent release of a misguided change in handling HINTS is the exception rather than the rule. I hear that The Blackstone Group will soon own Ancestry.com. Hopefully, they will take stock of the situation and make necessary and overdue changes.
I’m retired and have the time and resources to use multiple genealogy platforms. I actively work in Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, FamilySearch, MagicRoots, Family Tree Maker, and Family Tree Creator. I’ve also had exposure to others. I used to create software and have a list of enhancements that would make Ancestry rock but have been frustrated by trying to submit suggestions. – John
Suggested Features to Add
- Please add Find Person to the top menu. Do this because using the leaf to locate the Find Person option or using the tree requires several steps. This should not be necessary for a basic and frequently used option. Locating the search box above Hints is also a way of improving user experience.
- Please create a box of explanations to help us keep track of corrections. QA could do this in a similar way to that offered for ignored hints. Do this because corrections are just as hard to track as ignored hints.
- Please add “pet” as a relationship type in the relationship record. Do this because pets are “family,” but using people relationships shouldn’t be the way to memorialize them.
- Please offer the option to display and sort Stories by the date when the story took place. Users will use this option more often than the current sort-by date entered.
- Please add a search option across All media because users will use it frequently. I also would like to see Photos, Stories, Audio, or Video as filtering options.
- Please add Family Group Sheets to the same row on the screen as LifeStory/Facts/Gallery/Hints. Do this because Family Group Sheets are frequently used and deserving of a better location.
Suggested Features to Improve
- Please relocate The List of All People to a more prominent location because it is hard to find. Offer options to sort by birth date or death date order because these would be useful options for users. My alternative suggestion would be to have an export option to facilitate using the list in a spreadsheet.
- Please fix LifeStories, so they display Word documents rather than defaulting to a download. I currently feel obligated to convert Word documents to text documents because not doing so makes for a poor user experience.
- Please help us format all dates the same. The alternate use of Uppercase months vs. Initial Cap months is not consistent. Example: 01 JAN 2021 vs. 01 Jan 2021. Fix the data, so dates look consistent everywhere. That screens currently display only the uppercase option is nice, but not enough.
Dr. John P. Elcik, IV