Talk:Main PageEdit This Page

From FamilySearch Wiki

Revision as of 18:22, 29 March 2010 by JensenFA (Talk | contribs)


Could the title of the Topics box

Could the title of the Topics box be changed to read Countries instead? Ritcheymt 09:51, 20 February 2008 (MST)

Great suggestion, but we'll wait to make any changes. Jimgreene 21:25, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Suggestion: Please add Canada to the main page. Adkinswh 3:12, 9 May 2009

News for one country

It seems to me that news items related to just one country should be added to the country page. There has been discussion about changing the individual country pages to portal pages but news items could be added there now and moved to the portal page layout when that change is finalized.

Darris 11:40, 26 December 2007 (MST)

Quick guides

This recommendation involves all geographic locations, which is why I'm discussing it here.

Is it possible to add "quick guides" that place resources in order of priority/preference that reflect methodologies pertinent to that particular location? These would supplement, rather than replace, existing Record Selection Tables.

Front page needs fixing?

It looks as if the front page needs fixing , in the top box I see "== ==" at the top of the box. And I can not edit the page?

Also in the "Featured Article" box the first sentence in bold "From the Artricle: Family Group Record: Roadmap for Researchers." has the word "Article" mispelled.

davide 22:54, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it needs fixing.

Dave, you're absolutely right! I hope someone can fix that for me.

Also, what do you think of the new home page layout and graphic? An associate and I have been assigned by the WIKI team to design a new home page.

A problem we are having is that a lot of people coming to the Wiki for the first time don't understand its purpose. They think that they should be able to type in a person's name and find his or her records. Of course they are disappointed. The team wants the new page to make it clear that the WIKI is a place for instructions, not records. This is challenging given that most people only spend 3 to 5 seconds when browsing new sites before they move on. So, what do you think? Does the new layout quickly convey the Wiki's purpose?

Also, can you check out the instructions for authoring and article and editing an article? I've been working on them too.

I look forward to your response with great interest.

- Fred

Fred, Sorry I can not edit the front page! It will have to be someone with permission to edit it. The front page is fine and I would not spend to much time on it, as the content of the wiki is more important. If these people are searching for records, then modify the search results box to always show a place to go (say: the front page of or even ) to search for names and and the same for records. Mostly because those people are at the stage where they just want results and later on may realize that they need to do some reading in order to find the information they need. So work at their level and remember what it was like to start searching. In short the wiki should be directed at those people who have moved on to a more researched method of searching for their ancestors.

davide 22:51, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Spelling error - countires

Could someone correct a typo on the Main Page? Under Countries: Learn how to research in different countires. Thanks.

Fixed davide 07:41, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Guided Practice

The news of 24 June 2008 announces that training modules called "Guided Practice" are available but it doesn't link to these training modules. When "Guided Practice" is entered as a search term, the only close match is to the User Group Meeting of 18 June 2008--which requires even more clicks to be able to find because it's archived.

In order for this to be more useful for new contributors to the wiki, I suggest: 1) that a link be created from the new announcement or within the Getting Started page, 2) That it is mentioned that "Guided Practice" is currently available for X topics, and 3) That it be linked to a category or something that will allow it to be found with a general search.

Genguide 13:53, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Looks Great

Looks clean and professional. Only Issues I can see is that the navigation is on the left hand side. Please provide an option to have it on the right. Also the portal pages really look squeezed, maybe the template needs to be tweaked to make them fluid (eg: use a hundred percent of the browser area.) davide 04:20, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Barn raising schedule?

Is there a schedule for barn raising campaigns? Knowing the schedule it would be possible to recruit interested folks in some advance. I'm particularly interested in the countries of former Austria-Hungary. Thanks!

This is only our second barn raising event, and we're learning each time.  I'm sure this will be taken into consideration for future barn raisings.  I also note that Maryland is going to be for just over six weeks, and I assume that will be the case for England as well, although no firm date has been set for that to end.  And just because a barn raising period might end at a certain date does not mean one should not continue to contribute, this wiki is intended to be able to be udated at any time something comes along that is new, or as any item becomes outdated.   JamesAnderson 06:43, 4 February 2009 (UTC) 

Main Page Use

From the date of the last entry it does not look like people use this page very much. Any one have and answer to that question.

Using the Summary box

When changes are made to this page, or any page in the wiki, the use of the Summary box to briefly explain what changes were made are very helpful. Otherwise, readers are searching for the new content, wondering what was changed. There is a Help article in the wiki that explains the use of the Edit Summary box available on all pages when viewing them in edit mode. --Fran 20:09, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Home page mock-up

New Wiki Users
New Wiki Users

New to Genealogy
New to Genealogy

Welcoming Committee

Professional Genealogists

Live Community Meetings
Live Meetings

A Community that Loves Family History

Everyone Knows Something of Value - Share it!

How to Genealogy How to Wiki Community Center Community News
Featured Articles Hidden Treasures
As a result of wars and political realignments, the internal and external boundaries of Germany have changed . . .
New York Census
New York Census
Census takers enumerated Manhattan (New York County) twice in 1870 . . .
Pacific Island Guide to Family History Research
Pacific Island Guide to Family History Research
Because Pacific Island family history is based largely on an oral tradition . . .
To learn how to begin doing Chinese research . . .
FamilySearch Wiki Policies & Guiding Principles

Info on home page mock-up

This mock-up does not include background images, header (logo & sign in/out), or footer (about us, contact us, licenses, AddThis widget), or side-bar (another section).

I have created this mock-up based upon Kara's mock-up based upon the study group she had. More tweaking is needed . . . this is really more about layout. I know some adjustments are needed with images and some links. It also does not have the suggested changes to the side-bar which includes the navigation.

Thomas_Lerman 23:10, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

How about the "buttons" being the color of the footer (where "About Us", "Contact Us", etc. are) and the "Featured Articles" & "Toolbox" being the color of the header (where the FamilySearch logo and Sign In/Out is). This would allow the "buttons" to still have normal link colors and add some other color to the other boxes? The thing I do not like about the "buttons" is that they do not necessarily look like links. Thomas_Lerman 00:43, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
I have tweaked all of the images. The only thing left here are the "buttons". The number of images on the top has increased from 3 to 5. Thomas_Lerman 23:00, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Color Options

Below are some options that include other possibilities for the "buttons" and the column headings:

Color option 1

How to Genealogy How to Wiki Community Center Community News
Featured Articles Hidden Treasures

Color option 2

How to Genealogy How to Wiki Community Center Community News
Featured Articles Hidden Treasures

Color option 3

How to Genealogy How to Wiki Community Center Community News
Featured Articles Hidden Treasures

Color option 4

How to Genealogy How to Wiki Community Center Community News
Featured Articles Hidden Treasures

Color option 5

How to Genealogy How to Wiki Community Center Community News
Featured Articles Hidden Treasures

Color option 6

How to Genealogy How to Wiki Community Center Community News
Featured Articles Hidden Treasures

Comments on color options

  • Buttons: I personally prefer the ones in Option #1 and #2 as they still look and act like links.
  • Headings: I suppose it is six of one and a half dozen of the other (between #1 & #2). Maybe #2 just slightly more as it stands out.

Comments on home page

What do you think? Thomas_Lerman 23:54, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

There are several images at the top of the page that at first I thought were just images. Then I moved the mouse over an image and discovered they were actually links that would take me somewhere else in the Wiki. After hovering over each image to read the labels, I couldn't remember what each image was linked to, so I had to hover over the images again to figure out where they would take me. The images in-an-of-themselves don't communicate a specific feature or page in the Wiki. Overall, the whole page design is busy. Lots to look at. Too many choices. --Fran 18:49, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Great comments. Those 5 images do not really need to go anywhere if we do not want to. Just thought I would try that out for fun and get a reaction. I imagine we will get all sorts of responses . . . this makes both ends of the spectrum represented (very clean & easy to follow -to- busy & too many choices). All responses are appreciated. Thomas_Lerman 02:50, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

From Jimmy on 08Mar:

Hey, pretty cool! I sure like it better than the "bland" one we have there now. I like the visuals for the featured articles. And I like the boxes with topics at the right for hidden treasures, etc. It's inviting to read more.

And Kara from yesterday:

oh I forgot to give you feedback from the professional (writing for the church for 8 years and big into advertising etc) - he said to:
  1. label the pictures with the name of the link they are going to - like New Wiki Users so you have it in writing and can refer to it
  2. make the buttons (the four boxes that are links: How to Genealogy, How to Wiki, Community Center, & Community News) - or where you want people to go the darker color. He would reverse the color schemes
  3. make the labels of the featured articles and hidden treasure in smaller font and lighter color
  4. He liked the community center page better :) . . . had almost no changes for it
  5. he said you want the darker color to be on where you want people to go - their eyes will go to the darker colors first

Thomas_Lerman 17:21, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Concerning Kara's comments on
  1. I can make them images go nowhere or put text below. I mostly did the links for the fun of it.
  2. The problem with changing the colors on the "buttons" is that the link color may not be so obvious. I am hoping to be able to do something slightly different soon.
  3. Could do.
Thomas_Lerman 18:49, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Replace top five photos with photos that serve a function

The top five photos in the mockup take up a lot of real estate, make the home page too busy, and don't serve any function. Some are old and some are modern, which also leaves me puzzled. I think we should learn from the current home page of WikiHow. We should get images that depict the top three things people should do on our site and feature these three things like WikiHow features their big Learn, Write, and Wiki buttons.  RitcheyMT 03:50, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

They do serve a function. While they are missing the captions, each of the five phots is a link (thanks to Thomas Lerman's expert wikitext coding). There are two reasons people visit the wik (in my mind): to find out things (read) and to contribute (write). Reading takes in both Beginning Research (I wonder if anyone who is beginning their research will ever visit the wiki before they start?) and searching for pages dealing with their research areas. The "Wiki" button isn't about wiki's but how to contribute, including editing. All lot of this is semantics, but for newbies, we have to speak their language. Tom Huber 04:51, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Oh, okay, I now see (as I mouse over the photos) that each one leads to a certain wiki page. But as Tom Huber mentions, these images don't have captions saying where they lead. If I had to have the function of these photo/links explained to me, what does that say about their intuitiveness?
When one creates a link in a Website, is a photo and some mouseover text enough to create an intuitive user navigation experience? Or should the image/link include a visible text caption so users can tell where it points?
Vincent Flanders, an author of Website design books, coined a term to describe any link in a Website that requires the user to mouse over the link before he can decipher where it will lead. Flanders calls this "mystery meat navigation." The term refers us back to our childhood days in the school cafeteria when they'd serve us some kind of processed meat but nobody could tell what kind it was by looking at it. Flanders recommends that every image-based link should have visible text (not just mouseover text) that says where the link will lead. I seem to recall that many other Web designers agree with Flanders.
I believe that in this case, adding text to these photographic links may be necessary for another reason. I, for one, just am not smart enough to tell by looking at these pictures where they are going to lead. The photos just don't speak to me as if they were intuitive icons in a piece of software. When I'm in MS Word and I see an icon that looks like a printer, I know that button means "print." But looking at the FSWiki mockup, when I see the picture of the grinning lady with the basket on her head, I can't predict that it'll link to a page for new wiki users. So it seems to me at this moment that the need to add captions to these link/images may be twofold: First, some users like me aren't smart enough to guess where the current photos might lead. Second, Web design gurus say that image links should have captions so that folks like me who aren't smart enough to guess where the images will lead won't have to mouse over each one to find out. RitcheyMT 21:15, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Side bar mock-up

On right or on left?

FamilySearch Wiki Home
 Wiki tour
 Community & Forums
Talk:Main Page

 Edit this page
 Printable version
 History of edits

 Report search problems
 Browse by: Country, Category

 Edit & Contribute
 Create a new page
 Upload a file
 What links here
 Related changes
 Special pages
 Permanent link
Personal tools
 My user page
 My talk
 My sandbox
 My watchlist
 My contributions
 My preferences

Info on side bar mock-up

The following were moved to the bottom of the main page

  • Guiding principles
  • Policies

Should every word be initial cap, the first word, or what?

Other items may appear depending on whether signed in and rights.

Box 1

This is first navigation box that they see.

  • Wiki Tour is a new page?
  • Community & Forums would go to an article discussing
    • Community Center
    • Community Meetings
    • Forums

Box 2

Article editing, etc.

  • I would LOVE to see a "page" be called an "article". I believe page sounds like a web page and article sounds more user friendly, like a newspaper article. This may something to be done with the main namespace? We do want to be consistent though to avoid confusion. Some indicate that some pages are not portal pages, tools, charts. I would like to see examples of those besides portals as they are going away. At this point, I personally say that a newspaper may have an "article" of a chart, picture, tools, etc. so why can we not? Not that we have to function just like Wikipedia, but they also call them articles.
  • Discussion or Talk? This seems to be an inconsistency! Also, same for "My Talk".

Box 3

Searching & browsing

  • How about changing button to "Keyword search"???
  • Browsing is a form of searching. Put Country & Category on same line. Used "Category" instead of "Topic" to be consistent.

Box 4


Box 5

Personal Tools

  • Instead of having name, how about "My User Page".
  • Add easy access to "My Sandbox"???
  • Sign out only in one spot . . . the header.

Comments on side bar

Please add your comments. Thomas_Lerman 20:03, 11 March 2010 (UTC)


I like what you've done. I've tossed in my comments in various spots below. In regards to the top box: I would rename Help to "Getting Started", since it navigates to the Help Options page. I would not have been as lost if Help had been called Getting Started, when I wanted to create my first page or was looking for all the help categories. Tom Huber 04:32, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Personal Tools

Box 5 Personal Tools - Instead of having name, how about "My User Page" ... If every user's page was labeled "My User Page" then I wouldn't know whose page I was viewing. I'm sure that I would recognize my own user page, but determining who was who on other user pages might be difficult. --Fran 18:23, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

I am not sure that I understand . . . the items in that box are YOUR personal tools. It ALWAYS goes to YOUR User Page (this text never changes for any given logged on user) and never goes to someone else's user page. You can always tell whose page you are by the title of the page. In other words, the suggestion was made to only change the user name in Personal Tools to "My User Page", not anywhere else. Am I confused (I know I need more sleep)? Thomas_Lerman 02:43, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not even sure we have the option to change this feature from using the User Name to "My User Page" I think that is part of Mediawiki or the skin. Tom Huber 04:37, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Don't move nav bar before NGS

Moving the nav bar from the right to the left will ruin the layout of a lot of pages that have been adjusted since the last move. We do not have time before NGS to correct this. RitcheyMT 04:01, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

I agree that it shouldn't be moved immediately, but to follow Wikipedia's lead, it works better on the left. (The new skin may negate that entirely') Tom Huber 04:32, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Search button on left, Exact Match on right

Since Search is the proper search by default, its button should be on the left. RitcheyMT 04:04, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Not all pages are articles

While the word article is friendlier than page, many, many wiki pages are not articles. RitcheyMT 04:17, 18 March 2010 (UTC) 

Agreed. Using page in place of article, particular on help pages, is more descriptive of what the user is working on (not to mention section editing or writing). Tom Huber 04:32, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Preserve the link to the 3rd most popular wiki page

The Browse by Country page, at 4,800 visits per month, is the third most popular page on the wiki, and it has a tiny bounce rate (11%) and a miniscule exit rate (4%?). Removing its link from the nav bar probably isn't a good idea. RitcheyMT 04:17, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Preserve the Forums link

It would frustrate me if the Forums link were replaced by a Community & Forums link that pointed to an article. When I need to go to forums, it's usually to report a bug. Take me straight there, not to an article where I have to hunt again for a link to the forums. RitcheyMT 04:25, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't use the wiki forums link, but have added a favorite to my browser. If I'm on a computer I haven't used before, I'll access the forums from Tom Huber 04:32, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I agree with Michael. The Forums link needs to remain a link that takes the user directly to the Forums. Fran 18:22, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Browsing isn't searching

Browsing isn't searching, which is why I missed the Browse By Country link earlier. Please don't hide it under the Search box. RitcheyMT 04:29, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Leave username; not "My User Page"

Project leaders help users all the time. When doing this, it is useful for the nav bar link that points to the userpage to be a username like RitcheyMT rather than the words My User Page because helpers and the folks they help keep switching who is logged in during the help session. It'd be a pain to have to scroll up to the top of the page to see who is logged in and then to scroll back down to the bottom to click the link to the userpage.

Also, that link becomes an IP address for users who aren't logged in. So if I think I'm logged in and I want to go to my userpage, I glance at the link to click it. If it says my username, I click that knowing I'm logged in and I'll go to the right place. If I'm not logged in I'll see an IP address, which tells me to log in, which is helpful. If instead the link said "My User Page," I'd just click the link (thinking I'm still logged in) and end up on an IP userpage, which would just confuse me.

A third reason to preserve the link as a username instead of changing it to "My User Page" is the use case of library useage. If I'm contributing to the wiki from a public computer and I walk away, and someone else sits down, I want them to see that the link in question is going to take them to RitcheyMT's page rather than their user page.

I'm guessing there are other reasons why MediaWiki is designed that way, but these are the three use cases I could imagine. ;)  RitcheyMT 04:36, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

I think the use of My User Page is just a placeholder. The skins will either display the user's name with a user icon or if th person isn't signed in, they will only see "Sign in" under this heading — at least, that's my experience on these Mediawiki sites. Tom Huber 04:32, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Alternative layout for the Main Page

free family history research guidance
for the community, by the community
featuring 82,954 articles in English

Research Guidance

Numerous articles are available within FamilySearch Wiki to help you get started in family history. The following links are to articles about general research topics.

Principles of Family History Research

Research Process Steps.png
  1. Identify What You Know
  2. Decide What You Want to Learn
  3. Select Records to Search
  4. Obtain and Search the Records
  5. Use the Information

If you are wondering where to get started in your family history research, the following articles will help you with this decision.

How to Guess Where to Start

Research Analysis

There are several articles in FamilySearch Wiki that explain how to correlate, corroborate, interpret, and evaluate research, records, and information to determine their relevance, authenticity, reliability, and accuracy, and how to deal with contradictory evidence.

Organization and Documentation

Organizing and documenting your research is a key concept for both beginners and seasoned family history researchers. File organization is important in computers, but for genealogy and family history research work it is absolutely imperative. Creating links between files (such as source documents that have been scanned, research logs, analysis forms, and records managers) can help in keeping the sources available for quick view while studying and analyzing a research problem. Many types of organizing methods exist, so researchers can adopt and then adapt them to personal styles.

Finding relevant guidance

How can I find guidance that is relevant to my research?

You can start by searching for the information directly in this wiki, or you may find if useful to browse by country or by topic.

Contribute to and improve the guidance

How can I add guidance and information that I have found useful?

Helpful step-by-step articles and tutorials that will teach you how to be a FamilySearch Research Wiki Contributor are given in the article Help:Contributor Help.

Featured article

The National Archives, England.jpg
The National Archives of the United Kingdom - the official governmental archive of the United Kingdom, containing nine hundred years of history with records ranging from parchment and paper scrolls through to digital files and archive websites.

Featured How-to

Catalog FH.PNG
Using the Family History Library Catalog - learn how to use the Family History Library Catalog to it's full potential

Featured WikiProject

604px-Technicolor Trees.jpg
WikiProject Utah - working to improve the article about Utah
See more featured content >

Links to  view  talk  edit  this proposed layout


I would like to suggest that the Main Page be reformatted to include a Welcome header with some links to key categories, followed by two main columns divided between using the wiki on the left and contributing to the wiki on the right. I feel it is important to emphasise these two main reasons why a person may visit the wiki.

There is still space in the right hand column where more information could be added, plus more wikilinks could be added to the text already included or the text can be changed. Please feel free to look at or edit the code that produces this layout, using the links provided at the bottom of the proposal. Your comments would also be appreciated. --Steve 18:12, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I like some of this. My personal preference is that I do not like the color palettes in the templates. These templates also make it more difficult for the less technical people to edit. I realize this is all temporary anyway. To me, it is not much more inviting than the current one. Anyway, my opinions. Thomas_Lerman 20:56, 23 March 2010 (UTC)