2020 Wishlist - Profile Layout Updates

+11 votes

Closing out 2019 with a bang, WikiTree released a long-awaited update to the comments system. I was excited about this for a number of reasons, but most importantly, I am hoping that this was the start of moving towards abandoning the sidebar and moving towards a more cohesive single column layout.


Since we are well into the new year, I figured it was about time to formally open discussions and a proposal on abandoning the sidebar on profiles and how this could be done:

  1. A plan has already been discussed for moving member tags toward the top of the page (and out of the sidebar).
  2. The Images section of the sidebar has been noted in the past to be redundant since the images may also be included in the biography or are readily available form the Images tab (e.g., this discussion, and this discussionor even this discussion). Chris even noted that this could be changed to a popup slideshow in the future...

The remaining sections that would need to be reviewed are:

  • Public Q&A
  • DNA
  • Collaboration
  • Research

For Collaboration and the Public Q&A, I believe most of these items (or information) would fit nicely within the new Comments section.

The Research Text and links could be added under the Matches and Merges Section (and above the Connection and Relationship links).

The last Section that would need discussion, and is probably the most controversial, is the DNA information. I know many people rely on this information to be upfront and center on a profile, so maybe this could be combined with the Profile Vitals (Name, DOB, Parents, Siblings, Children, etc.)?

What are your thoughts on removing the sidebar?

in The Tree House by Steve Harris G2G6 Pilot (410k points)
Will this apply to all profile views including when a person is not logged in, but viewing a profile? What about the ad and sponsor search box that populate the space now? Where are they going? There is already another sponsor above the Comment section.
I appreciate having the DNA information readily visible on profiles that have DNA matches, if only because it identifies WikiTree members who are related to the person in the profile.

The GEDmatch links are less useful because they seldom work properly for me. It might be possible to streamline the display of test information and links by trimming the introductory text and by replacing the test info with hyperlinked icons (to indicate au, y, or mt dna -- and also to identify GEDmatch and testing companies so we can see if the person is a match) that connect to the person's DNA test information page.
Regarding the DNA section, could it be done as a button, placed in the general area of the Ancestors and Descendants buttons?
I do like seeing the names DNA connections on the profile because they help make connections with relatives of the person in the profile. I am seldom looking for DNA comparisons, so the chance that I would click on a button to find DNA connections for a profile is vanishingly small.
I like the tags right where they are.  As per the other proposal they just look ugly.

Stick them under badges.  Give us the ability for more than 20, so I can actually follow family names.  Have them accessible via a single link (in the way that badges more than 20 are accessed).

Just don't uglify profiles.  It won't attract new people and will drive people away.

11 Answers

+9 votes

Thanks for bringing this up, Steve. It's been on my wishlist for a long time as well.

We are close to releasing the new Genealogist Section for member profiles (the culmination of what was discussed here and in the preceding conversations).

We are still working on the slideshow view for images.

Maybe the DNA section would work as a floating sidebar? Your idea of putting it in the main "data" section is interesting as well.


by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
A floating sidebar is definitely an innovative idea!
Can't see the point of the DNA section.  Anything relevant that appears on your ancestor's profile will also appear on your own profile, so why do you need it on the ancestor?
To RJ ... The DNA section shows ALL the DNA tested descendants that share the ancestor.
It's been on mine as well! The images on the sidebar currently take up a lot of valuable real estate on some profiles.

I'd actually love to see the Research link and info between the PM bar and the Contents. It would reinforce that finding sources is important. As it is already the lowest item on the sidebar, it could go between Matches and Merges.

The member DNA info in a floating sidebar is intriguing, or with the data fields. Would the ancestor DNA links go down with Matches and Merges then? That information is not viewed be everyone and can be quite lengthy on some profiles. I personally use that info a lot, but would be fine scrolling down if that is what I was looking at the profile for.

Come to think of it, DNA information would fit perfectly with the Relationship Connections currently at the bottom.smiley 

+7 votes
Steve, would it be possible to create a Beta Version of the new view that can activated by the Profile Manger to see what it would look like?  Then discussion would be more relevant to what they see and not what they think they might see.

Personally, I always felt most of the sidebar information was a bit obtrusive to the overall look of the Profiles and could be handled in a different manner.  And I really like the idea of a Pop Up sideshow for Images.
by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (166k points)
We could potentially do it as a custom theme through a Chrome Plugin if you wanted to "test drive" it (it would be close, but not 100%).

I am not sure this could be implemented through WikiTree itself very easily.
Oh well, just a thought.  Thanks.
Can the items/sections be like widgets where you can design/layout your own profile view?
Technically it is possible, but the amount of programming needed would be overwhelming since there is not a full time developer. So feasibility throws that out the window (plus, we want everyone to see the same thing to lessen the burden of future changes and additions).
Doing a possible preview for chrome users locks out all others who do not (or can not) use chrome.
+10 votes
The sidebar is such visual clutter, especially with images, so Chris' comment about a slideshow view is music to my ears. I am all for any innovation to remove the sidebar and have all of the sidebar info on tabs instead.
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (702k points)
+6 votes

Hmm. It's hard to get excited about a comments section, Steve. See YouTube for details. But, that was cool. 

Looking at a couple profiles and I noticed that some of the info boxes seem to be more aligned now. Check out this profile: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Ferraiolo-6

I might start incorporating the pics in the bios as suggested if we nix the side bar. Though, I do kind of like how it is now. 

Question is, if we remove the sidebar pics, what will go in its place?

As far as DNA goes, do you think we could use a double helix icon next to someone's name at the top? Would that be possible? We could use the same sourcing as before. But, once it's DNA confirmed a DNA double helix could appear next to the name.

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (355k points)

That's because the pics on Ferraiolo-6 are actually nice photos. How many profiles have you seen with the pdf image, endless docs, etc, in the sidebar? Nothing but clutter. 

I agree with Nat, the pictures on this profile are great, and even show in chronological order along with the bio - so this is a very clean example of what can be done with the current system - but is not that easy for everyone to do (myself included at times!).

So hat I have been trying to do lately is incorporate the images into the bio as if I were writing a standalone webpage. For example, see https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wolcik-1. Obviously I need to do some edits and add in additional images to the bio, but the wider view (without the sidebar) would be a great help in this.

@Steve  This is my only worry that it may not be easy for newbies.  With so much you can do on WikiTree compared to other sites or stand alone programs, it is not the most intuitive to operate.

Right now each page has 83 System Tabs including associated choices.:

My WikiTree: 20

Name-####: 23

Add: 8

Find: 16

Help: 16

6 or 7 Operational Buttons (Depends on if Manager or not)

Profile (public view) / Edit / Images / Family Tree & Tools / Changes / Privacy / Profile (private view)

With more to view under each choice.

4 Page View tabs:

Categories  / Comments  / Matches  / Sources

This many tags, tabs, buttons can be a bit daunting to learn their uses when starting out. But then we all had to learn, so really not much of an argument.
@ Natalie. You know....I actually *heard* that comment when I read it. You got skills, Nat.

But, I see your point. I tend to upload .png files to Wikitree. It's a force of habit because I save all my photos, comics and other images in that format. It makes the quality better somehow and reduces the file size. .JPGs tend to be HUGE file sizes and I am sure Chris doesn't want that much exertion on our servers. =)

I do see some profiles with docs on the sidebar. I've done that with Italian documents because I don't have the url for them at Antenati handy. That reminds me. When we have some docs scanned and uploaded, can we put them in profiles? For a lot of Italian profiles it's....what I have to work with in order to make the profile.

@ Steve: I assure you the chronological order had nothing to do with OCD. Nope....*cough*. That profile is good. I can see me doing something similar to that.
That is actually one of the problems with images in the sidebar. They show up in the order in which they were uploaded, and you can't change it later.

So even if you try to upload them in chronological order / the profile's timeline, suppose you later find a new photo that would fit in nicely, it breaks the chronological order.

And you can't choose to put the best photos near the top, either.
+3 votes

These are great suggestions, and I have to admit, I love tabs!  I would be happy to see every section on a tab at the top of the profile, or available by clicking a 'button', like a dashboard.  Just my 2 cents smiley

by Amy Gilpin G2G6 Mach 8 (89k points)
+6 votes
Please don't forget that the PPP indicator needs to be visible near the top of the any profile that is PPP.  The fact that it is currently at the top of the second column is a perennial nuisance for me when editing from my phone or doing a comparison of a pair of profiles, because I can't easily see whether a profile is PPP. If the site transitions to a single column display, it should not be hard to find a place to put a PPP indicator on the top of the page.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
This Smith agrees with that Smith.
I agree too.  I didn't even know it was viewable from the profile view and have had to go into edit to find out.  Perhaps a small icon like the unconnected icon could be placed up in that place.
+3 votes

My preference is to move all remaining sections (except Images, since it already has a tab) somewhere below the biography, adding buttons/links to the sections to the navigation buttons/links row below the tabs.

If Chris or one of our tech team could post a list of all the navigation links currently in use and a list of the remaining sections (and perhaps listing subsections), we could get a better idea of which sections should be separately linked and which could be combined with existing or new links. We may also want to discuss order of importance relevant to the layout position of each section.

As for moving any section above the tabs, I am totally against that. I would prefer that we revamp our naming structure to include a secondary name field for such purposes as stage names, name changes, professional names (as used in religious context, etc.).

As for ad placement, I'm sure we could fit them somewhere - perhaps a hidden section above the biography, or something similar.

by Lindy Jones G2G6 Pilot (208k points)
I disagree. The only situations where it would work to put tabs below the biography are embarrassingly incomplete profiles and children who died too young to have a meaningful biography. For logged-in users to work effectively, tabs like Profile (public view), Profile (private view), Edit, Changes, Images, and Privacy need to be readily accessible at the top of the profile.
I didn't suggest to move the tabs below the biography, Ellen. I said to move all the sections from the right column to somewhere below the biography and to add navigation links for the moved sections to the navigation links currently below the tabs.
Sorry. Apparently I misread your comment.
+1 vote
A review is certainly in order -- of both the "display screen", the first one you come to -- and the "edit screen" where you go to make changes.  I would recommend not only moving things from the side to the bottom of the display screen, but also move some of the material from the display screen to the edit screen.

The governing criterion should that the display screen is intended to provide information and the edit screen is intended to provide tools for doing genealogical work.  The display screen should be WikiTree's "best foot forward" and appear both attractive and professional.  The edit screen should show the world that we value good genealogical work and provide the tools to do it!
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (339k points)
+2 votes
This sounds good. I like Mindy's suggestion to move Research between PM bar and Contents.

The Edit page also has a huge sidebar in the lower half. It would be great to have a Research button above the Biography box.  It is a double edge sword for the contents of How to Add Sources and Formatting Tips. Struggle as we might it's still difficult to get everyone to add sources. On the other hand there is little screen real estate remaining if you resize the window, say to have multiple windows when, for example, editing the profile and looking at a will image.
by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (328k points)
+4 votes
I'm actually concerned with how the text section of a biography will subsequently look. Many bios have short one sentence paragraphs. If you put the short sentence in the current space it doesn't look too bad, but expanding the space to the entire width of a computer screen, those short sentences are going to look meager and scanty.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+1 vote

I definitely. like the idea of removing those items from the sidebar.  On the Collaboration section, it is pretty much redundant.  We already have a more obvious place to send a Private Message.  I love the new comments section and that covers Public Comments and Public Q&A.  Do we need to keep the statement about you are invited to edit?  Or that could be incorporated into a small box that would help encourage new people edit, use G2G, Find a project, etc).  Or perhaps a link similar to the one that says Help cousins find this profile.. . .could say someline like "How to edit or ask questions." that would link to a page with more info.

I really like seeing the images without having to click somewhere.  So many profiles don't have images that it seems burdensome to have to go to the tab constantly only to find it empty.  I'm not sure how the slideshow would work, but if we could slide the cursor over to the right and the images would slide in, that would be OK.  Definitely need a new page to open if you stay with the click the tab approach.

by Cindy Cooper G2G6 Pilot (118k points)

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