Blog13 Jun 2011
Hello – I’m Ian Tester, the Product Manager for findmypast, and I wanted to let you know about a neat little project we’re in the middle of to make your experience of searching records a little better.
You may have noticed recently that small blue stars have started appearing next to your search results and wondered what’s going on. Usually, seeing stars before your eyes is a matter for concern, but not in this case – this is the first manifestation of our “Saved Records” project.
You’ve been telling us for some time that it would be incredibly useful to have a record of the records that you’ve already viewed to make your research easier. We’ve been thinking of various ways that we could do that for you, and have been beavering away in the background to make the first stage of this happen.
We’ve been making a number of changes behind the scenes for a few months now: the first was to make sure that we recorded the details of every record that you view in our database, against your account. We got this in place last year, meaning that we have been recording your search history since the end of 2010 in a much more structured way than we did before. We’ve also now started showing you which records you have viewed already, by adding a little blue star to your search results to mark the ones you’ve viewed most recently. It currently only shows you a few hundreds of your most recent views, but we’ll be expanding this number over the coming months into the thousands. So when you see a blue star today, that means that of all the records on the page, the records marked with a blue star are ones that you’ve already had a look at. It works across most of the records on findmypast, with the exception of Living Relatives (but keep your eye on this blog for some more exciting news about living relatives records later in the year).
So what’s next? Well, it’s useful being able to see the records that you’ve already viewed in your search results, but we’ll also be providing you with a dedicated “Saved Records” area where you can see everything you’ve viewed – this will give you an instant insight into the research you’ve been doing recently and will also allow you to add basic notes that you can use later.
After that, we’ll be adding the ability to mark each record with how likely you think it is to be a match for the ancestor you’re actually looking for – we think this will be handy as you’ll instantly be able to ignore records that you’ve looked at and decided aren’t the right ones, and to return to those that you want to mark as possibilities and come back to later. Obviously, we’ll also provide you with tools to let you filter your saved records so you can go back and do more research on them later. You should see all these improvements arrive by the end of the year.
We hope this will make your research that little bit easier! One fringe benefit of Saved Records is that because we now store every record you’ve viewed against your account, there is no danger of being charged twice to view a record you have already seen if you’re a PayAsYouGo customer. And perhaps best of all, your Saved Records will be available even if (heaven forbid) your credits or subscription expires.
Do let us have any feedback or suggestions on how we could make this work better for you or even if you think this would be helpful or not – add a comment below!