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Talk:Main Page/Archive 3 


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) I can't argue or disagree with the data. Fran 18:41, 29 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) Agree Fran 18:23, 29 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)

Personal Tools Addition: How about adding a link to Your Current Support Cases up at the top of the page or under Personal Tools. Each time, it takes me about ten minutes of hunting around to try to find where it is. Having to remember that I have to 1) click Help, 2) click Contact Family Search and then 3) View your existing cases to get there is NOT intuitive. It would be much better to have it under Personal Tools - two entries. One for "Submit a problem" and one for Your Current Support Cases. There is no reason to have to do so many clicks to find it. I actually had to call the library in SLC the first time to ask how I could submit a problem with the website. And I never can remember how to get here after that.

Alternative layout for the Main Page

free family history research guidance
for the community, by the community
featuring 82,918 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

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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

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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)
  • Honestly, I prefer the clean boxes compared to all the images. Some images on the main page are good, but too many images makes it busy and confusing. I'm not concerned about the colors because they can easily be changed. I'm also not worried about the content because that can be changed as well. I'm also not concerned that editing the boxes on the home page might be difficult for the majority of our current editors/authors. The home page typically ends up being protected so that only the few who need to make edits can do so. Fran 18:39, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Yeah, we have got both opposite responses about the images. Many have felt they are cleaner & more inviting, some thought they are busy & confusing. I realize that the main page does not get edited much nor by very many people. However, I believe in a greater amount of consistency throughout the entire Wiki. Both mock-ups do have some problem with this, but it seems one has more issues than the other. Thomas_Lerman 20:36, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

April 2010 - Main Page proposed layout below the search box

Start with an overview of
the Wiki including Help!
You know something that
can help someone else.
Share with our community
that loves family history.
Featured Articles

View Popular Articles > View Random Articles > See More Featured Articles >

Links to  view  talk  edit  this proposed layout


Based on the information shared at the April 6 Wiki Techinical meeting, the The Research Wiki is . . . thread and discussion with Kara I have put together another proposed layout for the main page. --Steve 14:43, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

I like some of the things on the Main Page. I see some of the changes I suggested have been corrected. To me, the "Browse by Country" text is redundant and not needed when it is followed by the "List All Countries" link. Actually, this link is really redundant & inconsistent with the "Browse by country" link in the Navigation box. I would rather see this consistent. Could we also list the "Browse by topic" as well? The "Featured Articles" layout seem to be our attempt to copy what other Wikis are doing. Are all of the good ideas already taken? Do we not have any other creativity? To me, just listing the article title is not as inviting to read the article. It would seem that a teaser may be more inviting. To me, the page is in general not terribly inviting. Yes, I realize that it may be all temporary though. Thomas_Lerman 17:50, 16 April 2010 (UTC)