Did you notice the new changes to profile pages?

+26 votes
Hi WikiTreers,

We just made some relatively small changes to person profile pages.

First, if the person is public, their birth and death years now appear in parentheses in the headline.

Second, what's bold in the vital info section at the top of the left column has changed. We used to put the words "Born", "Son/Daughter", "Brother/Sister", etc. in bold. Now the birth date and location are bold, and the death date and location, and the parents' names.

Third, the 100 Degrees feature box at the bottom now has an image of the current Connection Combat winner (Nikola Tesla this month) instead of Kevin Bacon.

Finally, if the person is non-living, the 100 Degrees feature box is replaced with an advertisement. The connection information appears below the ad in plain text.

Post here if you have any questions or comments or notice a bug.


in The Tree House by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Very nice and now I know my eyes are okay :). The changes showed as I refreshed and I thought I was losing it :).
Thanks Chris, for making the connection less glaring.

And I love the dates in the headline.

This appears on the bottom of my great, great grandfather's profile.

18 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 20 degrees from AJ Jacobs and 30 degrees from Nikola Tesla

Does this mean that every time there is a Connection Combat this list will get even longer?

What changes Jacky? There are no changes, everything is the exact same...really ;-) Mags
I luv you too Mags

Chris, the Connection Combat winner is different each month. The new replaces the old. Though, we will experiment with a change soon that may allow us to maintain four or five anchor people, instead of the current three.

For those of us who want none of these, the thought that there will be even more, I can only say... UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

The part I like best is at the VERY TOP right after the profile name ! The dates ( if any) enclosed within the parentheses. This should help confusion with same name profiles within families ( fathers and sons and grandsons).

e.g. Deborah Hitchbourn (1704 - 1777)
Agree with Maggie. Those dates at the top help keep things sorted out. (I just check my computer's history feed to see which person I'm comparing. Much easier than having to open a profile to look.
OK, I started a new thread before I saw this and realized it was the same subject.  Bottom line, I don't care much for the new format, but don't think it's a disaster, either.
I'm seeing ads at the bottom of profile pages even though I'm signed in as a member. Is this a mistake?

Here's a follow-up question on the issue of bolding: 
What would you think of putting spouses' names in bold instead of parents' names?

Karen, seeing the ad is not a mistake. We do remove most ads for Wiki Genealogists but I don't believe we say anywhere that you won't see any ads. If we do, let me know.


I actually like seeing the ads, although I preferred them in the right column where I could read them and click on them without interrupting my thought processes about what I was reading in the Wikitree scrolled comments.

The reason that I like the ads is that they are clearly targeted for individual users and therefore are helpful in one's daily life. I *do* like to read information about the Jeep Renegade, for instance. (It reminds me that I really should buy a new car  before I make that coast-to-coast journey to visit all of the places that my extended family has lived.)

I'm also aware that by placing ads on the website, the site can remain open to anyone who wants to explore it. I strongly dislike those sites which give out teaser information and then expect a monthly fee for more detailed information.  I'd rather see ads (and patronize the sponsors) any day.

Thanks, Chris Whitten. Wikitree works. But then, I'm a public librarian. We are use to collaboration, free information and a community of kindred souls. And frankly, the adverts are just a bonus for my busy life.

I'm also aware that by placing ads on the website, the site can remain open to anyone who wants to explore it. I strongly dislike those sites which give out teaser information and then expect a monthly fee for more detailed information.  I'd rather see ads (and patronize the sponsors) any day. 

What Dorothy said ^^^ ... the ads, on here, make me happy because they make Wikitree free, and they're not obtrusive.

Also, I noticed the changes yesterday. At first, I wasn't sure I was OK with the, but I suddenly realized found myself depending on the bolded information, and Mags has a really good point about the date helping to keep people straight.

Well done, Chris! :)

I'm fine with the new changes. Ads are part of life for free web sites. The balance here at WikiTree seems reasonable.

6 Answers

+12 votes
Hi Chris and All

I see that the biggest - visual at least - changes are 1) the dates at the top = very nice; will help when scanning a profile and 2) the rather-large ad for Ancestry.com at the bottom (instead of the banner for 100 degrees etc.)  I am less impressed by that but realize that economically-speaking such things are inevitable if we want to keep WikiTree "free" for members and the public.  Only criticism is it does seem a bit large type at least on my screen (the ad).  Could it be one type size smaller??  Upwards and Onwards,  Chet Snow
by Chet Snow G2G6 Mach 4 (47.4k points)
Slightly smaller typesize would be better. Like Chet, I'm not fond of the ad but realise that someone's got to pay the bills.
My ad is for Buffalo Wild Wings.  It must be generated by what sites you visit most.  I like to eat out.
+13 votes

Hahaha same here , already thought maybe it was a virus or something , kept refreshing , even removed a new app , because this happened right after I installed  it :P 

by Bea Wijma G2G6 Pilot (277k points)
+16 votes
Up top seems okay with the date, but in the data fields area it seems to make the whole area more difficult to read.  The reason is the bold-type lettering seems to draw the focus away from the softer green type that is in the rest of the area, and you need to adjust the eyesight to account for the fourth difference in type in just this one area.

What I always missed was the darkened links that are created after visiting a profile and then looking at the link to that profile from another profile.  I think it's still there but it is so very slight from dark green to black (I think) that my eyesight doesn't pick it up easily.
by Vincent Piazza G2G6 Pilot (241k points)
Same, I'm not digging the bolded text. It's way too heavy for the soft lemon-lime theme.
I agree, the bold and smaller text makes the page visually unbalanced.
I see what Vincent means about the bold type. I will work with profiles later and try to figure out what it is that is a little distracting.
Extremely demanding on the vision.  Uncomfortable to look at for extended periods.  Maybe helpful for people that are just glancing at profiles but to look at many profiles it's quite stressful.

Didn't realize that it had been done on purpose (thought that it actually was another technical glitch) I have to agree with the others here - I find it distracting, unbalancing and suddenly feel no urge to work in WikiTree today (my eyes .... ). Time for a bout of housecleaning ...

Oh I nearly forgot - I gave a down-vote on this one because I do not like it.
I can hear my pupils squeak as they dialate/contract adjusting for the different fonts.  Splotchy!  ...also a down vote!
We could remove the bold from the parents' names.
I have been working on it this morning and my eyes seems to be getting used to it. The bold works well I just think that the size of the font should be the same for all names, or is it just my eyes deceiving me that the bold font is smaller? :)
Hi Esmé. The font is the same, though I can't say for certain that it's displaying at the same size on your system. It's one of the complexities of designing a website: the exact display depends on your computer, OS, installed fonts, browser, etc.
Hi Chris, I checked, it's just my eyes, my kids say its the same. Must be getting old.

The green bold I do not find so distracting, -  it is especially the black bold that jumps out and the fat black place names that are "splotchy" and irritating to my eyes ... Black bold must be reserved for the bio's. And the advertisement at the bottom above merge proposals etc. - this will be my incentive to get an ad-blocker ....

The changing the color to green helps a bit.  But I think having the bold fonts mixed into the data field with non-bold fonts is akin to when you look at a bright light and then turn away and you still have the bright light in your visual memory.  It's probably a question for a psychiatrist that is also an opthamologist or a hypnosis expert.
Just got on and whatever you tweeked, it seems much better. Thanks, Chris !
+10 votes
Very nice - easier to read, thanks so much!
by Deborah Collier G2G6 Mach 3 (37.9k points)
I agree. For me, it's all an improvement.
+5 votes

To illustrate my personal opinions, I'm using the profile of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620 - 1700)

---Comment: The addition of the dates is useful to collaborators and guest viewers, but is exceedingly distracting as implemented. I suggest right justifying the date data to separate it from the named individual.


Born April 17, 1620 in Troyes, Champagne, France

Daughter of Abraham Bourgeoys and Guillemette Garnier

Sister of Marguerite Grandjehan, Marguerite (Bourgeois) Le Preuvier and Marie Bourgeois

Died January 12, 1700 in Montréal

---Comment: I consider the utility of the former formatting used for the vital info section far superior to the new display. The introduction of bold text in these data fields is superfluous and exceedingly distracting. The data fields are in the same place on every profile, therefore viewers intuitively know where to look for the information, without the “nagging” of bold text.

Note: Paradoxically the vital info section, as it appears above, does look good. It is on the profile pages where the new formatting distracts from the overall appearance of the profile.

by George Blanchard G2G6 Mach 9 (91.1k points)
+5 votes

I have a concern about the newly added display of birth and death dates.

I like the idea of including qualifiers of "Before" and "After" and "About" on dates, since those details can be important in evaluating whether a search result is a match.

However, I don't like the fact that these qualifiers are consistently treated as applying to the year in the date field. Often the uncertainty is at the level of the day or month, but not the year, making this heading imprecise and potentially inaccurate and misleading.

For example, in many profiles I've worked on, the "before" qualifier is appropriately used in the birth date field because the recorded date is a baptism date for a child who was (based on the religious and cultural context) probably a few days or weeks old at the time of baptism. When the data field for a child baptized on 3 April 1667 correctly shows a birthdate of "before 3 April 1667," it is misleading for the bold headline to say she was born "bef. 1667" if she was almost certainly born in 1667. Similarly, in death dates "before" qualifiers are appropriate when the date reported is the date of burial; this is almost certainly just a few days before the death, and generally not an earlier year.  "Before" or "after" dates are also used in the death field when the date is based on the date of the person's will ("after" this date) or the probate for that will ("before" this date). Sometimes people die years after making their wills, and sometimes probate is delayed significantly after a death, but when a biography shows that the will was written on 4 July 1773 and proved on 5 September 1773, it is inaccurate and misleading for the headline to announce that the person died "bef. 1773" or "aft. 1773" (depending on which date was chosen for the date field) -- they died in 1773; we simply don't know exactly when.

This kind of sloppiness in shorthand representation of date estimates seems to be common in the genealogy "business," but I hope that WikiTree can find a way to avoid falling into the habit of advertising misleading dates for the sake of SEO.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I see the problem Ellen. That's a good point. What would you suggest as a solution?

If I thought I had a really clever solution, I would have suggested it in my posting.

The best thing I can come up with is to add month and day to the new display, if they are part of a specified date that includes a qualifier. Thus, for example:

  • (bef. 15 Apr 1696 - 1715)
  • (1702 - abt. Mar 1765)

Downsides I see in that approach are that (1) it adds visual clutter to the heading and (2) it makes it appear the other life date in the pair is less precisely known than the one that has the qualifier. To address the second issue (but not the first!), all life dates could be displayed at the maximum possible level of precision. For example:

  • (bef. 23 Oct 1650 - 30 Dec 1743)
  • (1 Dec 1702 - abt. Mar 1765)
  • (13 July 1740 - Aug 1802)
Another possibility: We could put ca., for circa, before the set of years if either one is about, before, or after.
"Circa" is not an improvement. It's just another way of saying "about."
The circa could be interpreted to mean the dates are inexact; the full explanation is elsewhere.

We can't put all the information in the headline. It's like with names. There are name fields that don't appear in the headline, and full explanations are in the text.
Another thing to keep in mind, the years in the headline are shown on the same page -- and in the same view, not "below the fold" -- as the complete dates, which are in bold.

Good point about the headline and the date fields in the data section being visible in the same screen view. (However, that's not true for all devices and screen resolutions. Using the default display settings on my laptop, I generally don't see the death date on the first screen view. And on my phone, even the birthdate doesn't appear until the second screen.) 

Although they are usually visible on the same screen, the dates in the headline are far more visible than the date information in the data fields. The font in the headlines is essentially twice the size of the font in the data fields, and in the data fields the words "about", "before," and "after" are in a non-bold font. I'd be less concerned about misleading dates in the headline if those dates were a bit less prominent. Could they be rendered in a somewhat smaller font than the name?

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