For design and user-interface, what other websites do you like or dislike?

+13 votes


Hi WikiTreers,
We're starting work on a long-overdue design upgrade for WikiTree. Not a huge overhaul, just some improvements.
Here's a question: What other websites, genealogy sites or otherwise, do you like or dislike, and why?
I'm not talking about the content. I just mean the design and user interface.
What are examples of sites that do you find inviting and easy to use? What sites do you find less user-friendly?
I'm looking for opinions on anything, e.g. colors, spacing, fonts, graphics, navigation menus, link structures, etc. Could be big sites like Google, Facebook, and Ancestry, or little sites that you know.
I'm not so much looking for specific recommendations on what WikiTree should change. In separate G2G questions I plan to ask for input on additions to our navigation menus, how our search options appear, etc.
in Genealogy Help by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
I use for a family web page. You can invite people to view your tree (see mine <a><,a> with a common password (Arkansas). Yet for people that do not like to sign up they can see the family. No one can edit information on the tree without being invited.
Also I LOVED the very easy import feature that you can use with Picasa <a></a> a free photo program. You can import <a.</a> pictures from Picasa to TribalPages to folders.
My #1 request: Person search that includes dates and relationships, and soundex searches. Sorting results by birth date. Paging for > 100 results returned. See for example the rootsweb search screen:

It would be nice to always go to the 'Edit' page rather than the profile page if you have edit capabilities on a profile, it's too many clicks to go back and forth right now.

Also a gedcom export with notes that are usable by other genealogy programs (not 1 _BIO).

From a UI perspective, I find WikiTree as easy to use as any other program I've tried (Heritage, FamilySearch, RootsMagic, Gramps, etc). I like being easily able to navigate between profile, tree, family group, and descendant view for a profile. One nice improvement - show birth/death dates and locations on all links in descendant view such as spouses. Larger icons next to the names.

For another online program with some very nice features, see Webtrees: That is software only rather than a hosted site.   It is very easy to use, has the flashing leavs to indicate you have a link, is easy to find most ancestors, and good search engine.  

 I use it for my family tree online, so if the computer crashes, it is always there.  In fact I am coping info to ut onto entries on this program.  Also has member connect fo

18 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
Works well for me however if you want some ideas. Catagories section is a little squeezed in, may need space before and after especially if catagories takes off.

The [edit] along the Biography section, not really used.

Otherwise I kind of like what we have.
by Living Lechner G2G6 Mach 6 (62.1k points)
selected by Keith Baker
In general most other sites are too restrictive. Fill in the blanks thats all you can do.

The "Edit Text" section ( Biography area ) has many wonderful features. This can be intimidating for some. Would perhaps 3 buttons that would add 3 different style templates for this section help some of the folks. I am willing to assist in setting up these templates.

or perhaps some sort of  "Biography assistant/builder"
I LOVE THIS! Template bio's... and of course you can use no template but templates could be AWESOME!

When you have nothing in the bio it kind of seems like there is something of a template there-- add occupation, etc... but then its just a blank box.
Back to your real main question. See "Windows 8" interface preview.
Yuk, Yuk, yuk.
Are you looking for an interface design that is more accommodating to Ipad/Ipod etc. (I am of the very old old school.) I find changes difficult. I guess bigger buttons/icons for those who have difficulty on these tiny machines is the way of the future. Will have to learn new language (Buttons).
+5 votes
I agree with Michael... I kind of like WikiTree the way it is... its not too flashy but its cute, sorry guys :p


I COMPLETLY agree on categories being more obvious

and maybe a save button at the TOP of the edit screen? maybe most people dont care but if  go lock an id or just change name info save is a pain, lol... (Is this really lazy?)
by Lindsay Tyrie G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
OH, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE add in changes section what id is removed-- spouse, parent, etc.

OH AND ANOTHER-- could you multiple remove spouses/children? probably not something most users have a problem with, though

Ok, I keep looking around-- on g2g there is a recieved up/down votes... im annoying and wanna know what was downvoted on me! Cant see though!

I guess I should just start over... another thing, on G2G if you could look at unanswered questiosns that are not "family" questions, like who is the father of xyz... I come in here sometimes and thats all the questions I see... and I can certainly go research for them but other quick/easy answer questions get lost in all that, I think.

OH AND the categories searched by watchlist :)-- both ways, either searching FROM veterans for just my watchlist or search my watchlist for categories in general-- i may not know what i am looking for... or the more developed the site gets, when people arent the ones to add profiles, they wont know what to look for, at all.
+5 votes
I especially like the look and feel of It's bright, modern and open.

I like it that it's tree looks like 'cards' because it makes them stand out.

The different sections on the profile, nav and start pages can also use some color to separate them and make the pages less cluthered. It now has a lot of text on them.

I would also like to see the little picto's of the Ahnentafel and Ancestors etc bigger. It's hard sometimes to select them.

Just of the top of my head, maybe more later.
by Martyn Grifhorst G2G6 Mach 2 (23.3k points)
COLOR IN THE TEXT <3-- then I could make User Group Notices Blue! That would be pretty... oh sorry!
3d look is possibly a way to go. Its just a shadow look, but nice/simple.
+4 votes
Also, allowing more levels of relationship search would be AMAZING!

Some way to make yourself Cousin Searchable, too-- without having to be on the trusted list, etc... I would love to search for cousins, etc but dont really know how to without checking each profile for trusted list, etc and thats just not feasible.
by Lindsay Tyrie G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
I'd hoped to keep this Q&A on other websites, and put specific discussions on changes to WikiTree in other Q&A's. I guess that didn't work. :-)
I can cut and paste all my ideas somewhere else...

But what do you mean other websites? There are websites other than WikiTree? *confused* :p
And I know you arent fond of this idea, Chris... but some way to have non-marital co-parents in the top info would be WONDERFUL!
Since we are completly off the website subject Ill continue!

Can you make rejected matches SEPARATE from Pending/Unmerged? I really hate seeing *Matches Exist* and them all being rejected matches!

And a way to see what pending/matched merges are out there for your profiles. I know people get emails but if they are busy and dont do it right then, it would be nice to have a place to see them when they login.
Lol, addict ;-)

(me 2)
Is it that obvious Im addicted to WikiTree? *Hi, My name is Lindsay and I am a WikiTree addict*
Haha, what can-o'-worms did you open here Chris :-)
b (<---this is a thumbs up)
'Liked' your comment
I will try to keep my comment to your question about websites we like/dislike.  I like because it is easy.

I DO NOT LIKE FOLD 3 BECAUSE IT IS NOT USER FRIENDLY.   Anything I find there I have to already know the answer to find it.  Please steer away from Fold 3.

I used LDS Family search 3 years go and felt it was OK.   However they did away with that search, and again a person has to know some of the answers to search there.  Also I have found errors there.

I tried My Heritage, It sometimes finds answers that are already on  So it is a NO for me.

I do like the friendly atmosphere of wikiTree.  Altho it is a steep learning curve.  Here if we work hard, we can make a profile look great.

Does that help?
+6 votes

it was much easier to get all my family involved in building the tree when we were using Geni. Is it the flash capability, I can't tell but since I moved the tree to Wikitree, nobody registered or collaborated.

I am thinking:

- better navigation/viewing of the tree (currently it is done by a succession of links and it's not very efficient)

- use of AJAX where possible for field updates, or modal panel for edit screens (much better than opening a new window, plus it's so trendy!). Switching tab (Profile, edit,photos) shouldn't trigger a full page refresh.

- larger buttons (especially the tiny pictograms next to the names

- simplified user registration (in Geni it is really oversimplifed but it works, people register and start using the application immediately

- maybe try to make the interface more "fun" to use (I think if you solve the navigation problem the user experience will become much smoother)


I hope this helps :)
by Allen Sooredoo G2G Crew (380 points)
"- use of AJAX where possible for field updates, or modal panel for edit screens (much better than opening a new window, plus it's so trendy!). Switching tab (Profile, edit,photos) shouldn't trigger a full page refresh."

I totally agree. It would be such a difference if you could change little things directly in Tree-view. Either through Ajax or modal pop-up
I was thinking the same thing a while back regarding AJAX for fields, but it also generates a lot of queries to the back-end database.  Would this be a possibility capacity-wise, Chris?
Kind of related, I think.  On the page for photos, I've had this experience:  Add a comment to the photo.  Scroll down and add place, date, etc.  Click save changes.  You just lost your comment!  Every piece has to be saved separately, using a different button.  Same with make background, make primary photo - all separate operations.
I've noticed that as well, but had forgotten about it.  What I have found is that the save button at the top only saves the contents of the comment field, and the save button at the bottom saves the contents of the linked profile, location and date fields.  If you have both comments and people to add, dates and/or locations, it takes two saves entering the data separately for each save.  Good catch.  Oh, Chris!
I use<a></a> for a family web page. You can invite people to view your tree (see mine <a><,a> with a common password (Arkansas). Yet for people that do not like to sign up they can see the family. No one can edit information on the tree without being invited.
Also I LOVED the very easy import feature that you can use with Picasa <a></a> a free photo program. You can import <a.</a> pictures from Picasa to TribalPages to folders.
I'll add my comment here too... I'd love to see a view that looks like Geni, where you can see the entire tree in a flash type view.  And scroll around.
+3 votes
This may be a way out suggestion - I would love an automatic "save as draft" happen when I have to leave the screen. It could either be an automatic save, or a pop-up box giving the option to either save or cancel, with the default of save.
by Becky Syphers G2G6 Mach 3 (36.4k points)
+7 votes
A really nice upgrade.

A finished book page look, of an individual profile. No buttons for adding or changing information. Perhaps buttons to jump to page of father, mother, spouse, child or next page. Maybe a button to see the tree.

A view of what it might look like in a published book, a couple of pictures and wrap arround text, a small area with Basic info.
by Living Lechner G2G6 Mach 6 (62.1k points)
I don't know whether it's better to create my own post or just reply - but my thoughts pretty much echo this one.  I would love to see better use of white space to give a clean published profile look.  I know there can be a lot of info, but if there's a way to dynamically set what your preference is (like Google's Display Density - Comfortable/Cozy/Compact) that would be great!

Since there's a lot of data floating around, it would feel better if it wasn't all crammed tightly together! :)
I love this too... a better "Printed Profile" would be AWESOME! I dont need the facebook junk, the little anentafel/tree/descendant pictures, etc

I would LOVE THIS...

And a way to print X number of generations!
+4 votes
I like the layout of the face book family tree builder.  i wish it were available off line.  it shows all spouses on the same screen with the lines connecting the spouses and children.  it isn't perfect but it is relatively easy to use as far as the tree builder style goes.  i do like the wiki tree setup as far as basic ease of entry of information and simple format that even the most computer challenged can negotiate (like me).  i do find that looking up known profiles by id number from navigation page is not an option.
by Living Christensen G2G Crew (780 points)
+4 votes
I would LOVE to add some quick-links to my nav page... what subpages are important to me... right now I go to my profile to click on EuroAristo user group and its an extra step we could easily avoid... maybe just add a little notes section thats wikieditable -- like the scratch pad, with Link option... maybe we can put link-link's (usable ones) in there but I dont know how.

Top 10 basic Help Pages could be useful, or top 10 VISITED help pages (visited by user or by members as a whole), etc... Help pages seem so hard to find!
by Lindsay Tyrie G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
+4 votes

I particularly like the formatting on pages like this:

Easy to read, easy to click on links to family members - ancestors and descendants; sources and the like.

by Chris Hoyt G2G6 Pilot (776k points)
This looks user friendly.
+4 votes
Two pretty simple things.

It would be nice to be able to easily change the order of pictures attached to a profile.

And here's the one where I make myself look dumb; people keep talking about "categories."  I have no idea what that means.
by Fred Remus G2G6 Mach 4 (41.0k points)
You may have already figured categories out by now, since you've been commenting about them on other questions, but I'll explain anyway for anyone who doesn't know. :)

Categories are just a way of group profiles. For example, I've been working lately on the regional categories: If you click on a continent, then a country, etc., until you get down to a city, you'll see the profiles of people who lived in that city. To add your own profiles to categories, just put [[Category:CategoryName]] in the biography section of a profile, where CategoryName is the name of the specific category you want to use, eg. [[Category:Chicago, Illinois]], or [[Category:Huddersfield, West Yorkshire]].

I hope that clears things up a bit!
I just experimented with it and see how it works.  The "[[Category:Chicago, Illinois]]" does not print at all in the bio section but it links to the category.  And you can put it about anywhere.  Next question:  Can I add categories?  I'd like to do Prussia and it's various provinces.
Hmmm... I guess this topic really belongs in Projects/Categorization.
:) Yeah, we've gotten a little off topic on this thread. You could always start a new G2G question asking how to create new categories! Then I'll answer there, and more people will actually see the answer.
+5 votes
A lot of really good ideas here.  Just wanted to comment on the fact that whatever is done, try to maintain a decent level of contrast.  One of the things that I love about the site currently is that it is easy (at least for me) to read.  I have low vision and the current design may not be the flashiest around (no pun intended), but it is very easy to read.  Whatever you decide on, if it could either be done in colors that are a decent level of contrast, or alternatively, offer themes (skinning) that would be great.
by Allen Minix G2G6 Mach 1 (17.7k points)
+4 votes
I like how I can drag the tree around on and expand a selected ancestor allowing me to see many more generations.
by Roland Arsenault G2G6 Mach 5 (54.9k points)
+4 votes
I'm new here, been using for about three years. I'm pretty happy with it and hoping to find confirmation and new information here.

Myheritage has a decent free starter level, and a few levels of paid membership with more capacity and features.

I've always been tempted to try, but it seems more expensive to me. Can anyone comment on whether it's features are worth the cost?
by Marty Quebral G2G Crew (380 points)
You should check with your library to see if they have Ancestry Library Edition. Mine does, which means I can go to the library and access all their records! It's great. You don't get the community features like seeing people's trees, but you get the records, which I think is the important part.
Hi mary i have been on ancestry but not any more and yes it is expensive, a lot of the trees have wrong info ,people dont check they just go on what other people have on their trees i dont think its worth the expense, wikeetree is so much better you might not be able to search records but you have lots of people that want to help you in any way they can Terry
+4 votes
You know, every now and then when Googling certain things, I come across a site that has a window where the family tree is accessable in an expandable format. You can keep going back further and further, or closer and closer. When I land there, I have so much fun just looking around. (

But, I think it could be even better! If the tree had a timeline with significant historical events marked at the bottom of the window it'd be so cool to look at the family in relation to history. If the length of the entry corresponded to birth and death dates (known or approximate if need be) then it'd be readily apparent which family members were alive at the same time.


Here's a page, click on the little word that says "Family Tree"
by Rob Hoyt G2G3 (3.3k points)
+3 votes
Untill now I nowhere saw a better treeview as on

Each profile has standard 2 generations of ancestors and 2 generations of descendants displayed. Anyone can adjust the number of displayed generations.

The horizontal and vertical treeviews of are much fast than the treeviews on MyHeritage (both have the same owners), above that the treeviews are also usable for profile addings and deletions, what isn't possible on

The way that person profiles are displayed I like most on Geneanet and Rodovid
by Fred Bergman G2G6 Mach 1 (14.9k points)
edited by Fred Bergman
+4 votes
I would have to say personally my favorite two on interface would be ancestry and find a grave. They are pretty straight forward
by Matt Pryber G2G6 Mach 4 (48.7k points)
+3 votes
I dislike "justified view" web pages such has the new

I like most of WikiTree (especially small ancestral tree and descendant chart and relationship) icons.
by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (622k points)

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