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Ancestry Android App ScreenshotFor those that haven’t heard yet, Ancestry has released an Android app into the Beta-sphere. I’ve played around with it for a few days now, and it is absolutely a nice handy app to have.

It is still in testing mode and their posting on the Android Market clearly says:

This is a pre-release product intended for testing only. The ability to add and edit people, search for people in your tree, and more will be available in the final release.

But, even with some quirks and functionality I think should be added, I am fairly sure that I will be using this app regularly in the future. For posterity, I am recording my first comments back to the Ancestry Beta contact, edited slightly for clarity and to use the screen captures:


I’ve been trying out the Ancestry Android app – very nice overall! I just wanted to send in a few comments/suggestions:

(1.) Sometimes when looking at a the “Family” tab on a person, the images mistakenly show the photos of other people in the tree. (It seems to be siblings only, but don’t quote me on that.) I have noticed that if you surf around the tree a bit, the images eventually catch up to the correct one, but it can be disconcerting.

(2.A) It is nice end easy to surf up one line of a tree – but sometimes I’ll head up a tree and when I get to a certain spot I may not want to go down to the same descendant that I came “up” with. For example, in a family with Son, Daughter, Father, (Paternal) Grandfather.
Ancestry Android App Screenshot
I may start with the Son in the leftmost “Home” position and surf to the right (UP) through:

Son -> Father -> Grandfather


If I surf back down, I may want to go back to look at the Daughter’s info, as in:
Grandfather -> Father -> Daughter
But as I go back to the left (DOWN) my only option is the same path back to Son.

So, I have to: Stop at Father, Select him to view his info, Select the “Family” tab, Scroll down to children, Choose Daughter and then Click “View In Tree” button.

That’s a lot of movement to go back to a sibling – Perhaps a good idea might be to add some sort of tap-and-hold to pop up siblings while in tree view, who are then selectable?

I can see how more types of selections in tree view might lead to a complicated interface for movement, but personally I find the current method convoluted.

(2.B) One caveat to what I describe in (2.A): If you are viewing a tree and don’t slide to the right (UP) but instead select someone up the tree in your view (such as tapping Michael McDonald in the example screen capture above), when you slide back to the left (DOWN) the tree you often descend to a different child of a person than was the home person at the start.

Here is how I replicated it: Looking at the same tree in the above example: Son, Daughter, Father, (Paternal) Grandfather

If Son is the leftmost (Home) person, I also see his parents and grandparents on the screen. If I select the Grandfather (as opposed to sliding to the right (UP the tree) – the Grandfather becomes the “Home” person. If I then slide to the left (DOWN) the tree, I will not return to the Son as the home person, but the Daughter – it seems to go back to whomever is first in the Father’s Children list.

If there isn’t going to be a way to select siblings to descend to as I suggest in (2.A) , I would expect to return to the same home person as my initial view.

(3.) There needs to be a name Search functionality – If I’m in a completely different part of the tree from where I want to be I don’t want to have to scroll back and forth to get to the other section. Also, in a perfect world: If there are several people of similar names or I can’t recall exactly where they might be in a large tree I’d like to be able to enter the beginning of a name and have a results pop-up to select from. (Similar to the one on the Ancestry web interface.)

(4.) I’d love to see the Source citations listed on a person’s life events – there is plenty of white space on the interface to put that if you select a particular life event.

(5.) A Nice to Have, not a Must Have: A way to view the images in the online tree’s media gallery?

(6.) A Descendants Tree view option would be nice as well.

(7.) The ability to delete a tree in the tree list should be added – I clicked on the sample tree and don’t really want it on my phone anymore. (I’m going to guess that is in the works, but not there yet, right?)

Thanks for the opportunity to test out the app – I will definitely be using it.

1 Comment

  • avatar

    Comment by John — January 20, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

    I am closing comments on this post – it is an old one and the app has gone through several updates since then, but more importantly, for some reason this post has become a magnet for comment spam posters.

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