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Find My Past New Website

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Find My Past New Website

Postby DCA » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:45 am

In the April edition of your magazine you have included an article on the new FMP website. Understandably you will have used the FMP press release material to create the article which is very favourable.

If you haven't done so already, may I suggest that you now read the forums on the FMP website and the FMP facebook page, where you will find that hundreds of subscribers are posting messages complaining that the new site is poorly designed, lacking many of the previous useful search facilities, and generally not fit for purpose. There are lots of frustrated and angry genealogists out there.

FMP previously replied to some comments on their website with corporate platitudes, but have now stopped answering completely. They have however rejected all calls for them to bring back the old site whilst they fix the new site. There are lots of frustrated and angry genealogists out there.

Here is a chance for you to carry out a bit of good investigative journalism as to what went wrong, and more importantly how, and when, are FMP going to put it right.

FMP are not responding to their customers, so perhaps your magazine will have more success.
DCA
 
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby KayFarndon » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:44 am

This item prompts me to ask why, when an Internet site has worked perfectly in the past, does some power that be decide to implement changes, which result in the users finding less information that they did before?

Do they undertake surveys of the users before they make changes and perhaps ask for opinions, which would enhance a site? Obviously not.

I have not used FMP recently, so perhaps I won't bother now. In the past I have found sites which have undergone revamps when I have not used them for a while and it is so frustrating to have to work your way through a minefield of convoluted actions, to find an item you did before quite easily and discover you now can't do this, or the information is simply not there.

My advice is, if it ain't broke, then don't try to fix it!
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby ColinB » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:56 am

Find My Past is in a shocking mess at the moment. It is now very difficult to perform searches which could be accomplished with ease before. I spent ages yesterday trying to access the Canterbury Cathedral Archive records - I gave up in the end. It is doubly unfortunate that ancestry have also made a lot of changes which I am not too keen on and at the moment I find I am unable to view any images on that site at all. I have been researching for a number of years with great enjoyment but for the first time I find myself thinking that I will have a break and hope that things improve in a few months. I certainly don't intend to continue with subscriptions under these circumstances !

Colin
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby frostyjohn » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:47 pm

A truly disastrous corporate decision. Would not like to be the person responsible for fouling up a very good research site. Now cumbersome, non-intuitive, very slow and downright confusing to use requiring umpteen page changes and scrolling to collate viable research results.
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:55 pm

Rule 1 - don't complain here - use the feedback site.

Rule 2 - don't say "Bring back the old site" - it's never going to happen. Instead be specific with issues.

Ancestry was broken - they were maintaining two sets of software on a platform that didn't expand well. Looking at the FMP site, I suspect they had similar issues as the new platform looks like the international one.

I have followed my own advice and fed back on the FMP Feedback site.

Sent from my GT-I8190N
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Jon Bauckham » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:17 pm

Hello,

When the April issue went to press in February, the new platform had not yet been launched. As a result, there wasn't an opportunity to include user feedback in the story - I wrote it as more of a notification about the fact it was imminent, as well as offering details about their new price structure.

Anyway, I'll have a look at some of the users' comments now and contact FMP to see what they are doing to fix the problems. Sounds very frustrating!

However, I am inclined to agree with Adrian in his final comment about the 'broken' platform. The main reason FMP was redesigned was because the system they were using was about 10 years old and couldn't cope with the number of records and features they wanted to introduce.

Best,
Jon
I've now left Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. Please contact wdytyaeditorial@immediate.co.uk regarding any forum queries.
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:11 pm

jonbauckham wrote: ...The main reason FMP was redesigned was because the system ... couldn't cope with the number of records and features they wanted to introduce.


Jon - thank you for confirming my suspicions. For me, the major issue with the new site has been the fact that they simply didn't bring over all the abilities of the old - e.g. no census search by reference, no sorting of output.

However, this has been made worse by FMP's inability to convey any level of detail, such as why things were changing. I just checked their announcement on the front of the site. It's all relentlessly positive and simply doesn't convey the view that either they'd have to stop adding records or dramatically increase the subs to pay for new records and new software. In other words, it allows people to think that things could have carried on as before. Personally, I blame the PR people who won't let detail or realism appear in a press release in case it frightens the horses.
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby DCA » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:34 am

I would make the following comments in response to the last 3 posts.

Anyone how has posted on the FMP forum will be aware that FMP stopped responding to messages (be they general criticism or specific comments) at about message 80 and we are now well over 500 messages. Unsatisfied customers are being ignored. Posts on this, and other message boards, are being made out of sheer frustration. It may be AdrianB38's rule to do what he is told by FMP, but it is not mine.

I am told the new site is the same as the international site. No disrespect to FMP's international customers, but if they are prepared to pay a subscription for this cumbersome, slow, poorly designed search facility, more fool them. This is no reason to foist it upon the unsuspecting british customer. Whatever the problems with the old site (and there were some), it was technically possible to upgrade and amend it rather than wholesale transfer. FMP should have had the common sense to realise that removing existing useful facilities which customers had already paid for would cause problems. It is akin to buying a new car and then two months later the showroom come along and remove the sat nav, power steering and leather seats, and tell you "it will be alright, we are working hard to put them back for you at some indeterminate date in the future". Would you put up with this?

Also, on the "broken platform" issue, with respect, I guess Jon has simply repeated what you was told by FMP. This would have been fine if the new site worked properly, but it doesn't and some very difficult and embarrassing questions now need to asked of FMP. I am sorry but I just don't accept that the old site cannot be brought back. It is simply a case of "won't" not "can't" (Jon, have a word with the Society of Genealogists, apparently they are still using the old version?? )

Finally, AdrianD38 will be pleased to know that I wholeheartedly endorse his sentiments about FMP's handling of the PR issue. It has been appalling.

I look forward to reading the follow up article.
DCA
 
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Editor » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:24 am

Hello everyone, we are going to talk to findmypast and I will try and get a response from them and post it here.

Sarah
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Editor » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:04 pm

This is the statement I've been given from the CEO at findmypast Annelies van den Belt:

"The new findmypast site is designed to provide you with an improved service. We did a great deal of consultation and research and have now put the technology in place to be able to provide millions more records, a more powerful and accurate search, and a better user experience. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback, but we also acknowledge that there are some fixes still to be made. We recognise that some of the features you rely on most have not transferred smoothly, and we are working hard to resolve those issues as quickly as we can.

I want to thank you for all your valuable insights and your patience. Please do continue to send your feedback to us via our Feedback Forum or by clicking on the light bulb icon on the site. All comments will be recorded and dealt with as quickly as possible.

On behalf of everyone here at findmypast, thank you for your expert insights and your continued support."
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