After a few days of kicking the tires and testing the steering of the new FamilySearch site design and customer focus I’ve come away gut shot. My old friend is dead, replaced by a Fisher PriceTM color scheme and target audience inspired spawn.
I’ve already written a new personal portal page with links to the features on FamilySearch that have been buried or eliminated under the Full Page Advertisement that comprises the main page. That’s a sad commentary as a review of a new design.
The past few days have been spent trying to pencil out the economy of pushing away the people who use the resources and populate the databases on FamilySearch in favor of a new market that denies the intrinsic value of those commodities in favor of the comparative shallow value of photos and stories that only enjoy added value by the ability to be tied to the very resources and database submissions that have fallen into disfavor.
The shift reminds one of the posit that states: “the intrinsic value of paper money is the same as that of gold.” We all know how that has turned out.
The new main page of FamilySearch is nothing more than an advertisement that you can’t block. You can only navigate through it to some of the products you wanted to see in the first place. Many of the other products that used to be present are now represented by links that look like descriptive words if they have even been awarded that much recognition.
Like many of you, I have invested thousands of hours contributing to the FamilySearch Wiki and Indexing projects. I suppose that I should be happy that 50% of my effort has value in the eyes of FamilySearch because the Indexing project is still proudly promoted on the site.
I don’t remember anything in the genealogy market creating such a storm of negative feedback from the very folks who produce most of its value-based commodities. Will they pick up their marbles and go play elsewhere? Only time will tell, but the strength of the relationship FamilySearch has had with them has certainly been weakened in the course of one day, notably 16 April 2013, when the new site design and its target audience was released into the wild.
Here’s to hoping the apparently genealogy unencumbered site designers are able to pull a unicorn out of the hat by getting rid of the double and quadruple navigation clicks and restoring the resource links that were swept to the cutting room floor.