Friday, June 15, 2012

The Utah FamilySearch Wiki project, adopted by UGA

Utah has only 29 counties, which allows for experimentation and for easy changes as improvements are suggested. We take the most important county topics, determine what users need to know (content) and how to display that information (pattern).

Once the content and pattern is decided for a topic, we create a “task description” that allows volunteers to adapt it to each Utah county. The goal is, of course, to make the FamilySearch Wiki oh, so useful to everyone who uses the Utah pages. So far, we have only 4 task descriptions completed, and each one has had to be refined.

Changing these tasks would not be fun, if our main goal was to finish the Utah pages. The much higher goal is to make these task descriptions clear enough that people can adapt them for their states and counties. That way, new contributors have some idea of what to add and how to add it—and improve upon it!

One example of a major improvement that came from experimentation in the Utah project was the “table at the top” of each county. It gives a colorful and informative first screen for each county. (See Experimental County for an example of the original “table at the top” and Baker County, Oregon - a county without that table ) 

As the “table at the top’ began showing up in other states, people pointed out that the table was so large that it hid the [table of] Contents. A smaller table was created for Beaver County, Utah, along with a change to the [table of] Contents, bringing parent counties and neighboring counties to the top of the [table of] contents, which shows on that all-important first view of the county.

What do YOU think? Which style do you think will appeal to users of the Wiki? Your input can make a difference.

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