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Footnote Cares about User Experience

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2008 | by Mark Tucker

Footnote logoIn a continuing effort to have the best user experience possible, Footnote is making visits to a few homes in Arizona cities this week.  I heard about this back in early February from Dick Eastman’s newsletter and decided to volunteer.  Today I received a visit from Dick and members of the Footnote team.  The group had representatives from software development, design, management, business, and marketing.  The visit lasted a little over an hour and I enjoyed the chance to participate and provide my feedback.  Everyone was very nice and interested in my opinions.  I had only used the Footnote site a few times before the visit, but I was able to navigate around and uncover most of its features.  The group asked me questions and let me think out loud as I used the site.

One point that I brought up in today’s visit that is an issue with not just Footnote, but also FamilySearch, Ancestry, World Vital Records, and other online database/document sites is that there is a lack of consistency with source citations.  For example, the same census document could have different citations on different sites and none of the citations follow the format in either of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ works: Evidence! or Evidence Explained.  When I download an image from one of these sites, I should get automatic source citation in my desktop genealogy application as well as additional details such as source provenance.  It should be very easy.  To modify a phrase from an action movie: “With great source repositories, comes great responsibility.”

 It is very encouraging to see companies like Footnote take an interest in what its members and potential members care about.  I was impressed by the Footnote team and site and get the feeling that the innovation hasn’t stopped yet.

As an added bonus, I got to meet Dick Eastman.  Overall, what a great experience!

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