02 May 2012

Kinfolio | A Beginner Experience in Alpha (pre-Beta)

 Disclaimer: This post contains my speculation and/or opinion. The rest of what I am sharing is project content available to the public at labs.familysearch.org, or accessible by Googling Kinfolio FamilySearch. 

 FamilySearch is always working hard to improve the user experience. Many FamilySearch users are familiar with new.familysearch.org, FamilySearch Alpha, the Family Tree (beta), and other such projects; although, few have heard of Kinfolio.

Here is a current (2 May 2012) screenshot from labs.FamilySearch.org/Fresh:

Read my earlier post: Kinfolio | A Mysterious FamilySearch Project
There have been several blog posts or tweets about this service starting in February:
History in the Making on ThisMike.com - 24 Feb 2012
Sarah Howard on AnnieValentine.com - 25 Feb 2012
New and upcoming around the Bloggernacle on Deseret News - 28 Feb 2012
Helping to Make History on Mormon Mommy Blogs - 1 Mar 2012
Kinfolio.com, Family History Through Story Telling on JosephScott.org - 9 Mar 2012
Tweet by Michelle Barber - 1 Apr 2012

Since my post there have been a few more:
Best of the Genea-Blogs - 29 April to 4 May 2012 on Genea-Musings - 6 May 2012 (thanks for the mention Randy)
Poindexter at FamilySearch on Family History with the LineageKeeper - 7 May 2012
FamilySearch Poindexter on Genealogy's Star - 7 May 2012
More on Poindexter on Genealogy's Star - 7 May 2012 (thanks for the mention James)

All about user experience
The idea behind Kinfolio is to focus completely on user experience. Your family tree on FamilySearch will be shown in a non-traditional fashion with an emphasis on photographs and stories. You will be able to view your family tree like a book, turning from one page to the next with the click of your mouse. While the FamilySearch Family Tree experience is user friendly, the current experience does very little to bring your family to life. That would improve with the planned feature to upload photographs to your FamilySearch Family Tree. The average user will admit that the experience is far from perfect, or as an early mock-up stated: "Genealogy or family history are admittedly a bit difficult to jump into. We're working to change that."

Share with your friends and family
The Kinfolio experience will be marketed (Kinfolio is free of course) to new users through social media avenues, especially Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (as shown in the screenshot). You will be able to share content from your Kinfolio (online family book) to your followers on any of those social media platforms, and then those followers will be able to click through to your content. This will likely result in bringing many thousands of new users into the genealogy and/or FamilySearch Family Tree realm. This is good for both seasoned genealogists who want to communicate with all their less seasoned relatives as well as beginners who simply wish genealogy was a little more fun.

How does it compare?
The data used in Kinfolio will most likely (eventually) be drawn from and sync with the Family Tree data contributed by FamilySearch users. I wonder if this will become the primary sharing platform for interested individuals of all experience levels. Sometimes I have tried sharing my Ancestry.com Member Trees with relatives and they are discouraged by an ad asking them to sign up for Ancestry.com which they know as a paid subscription site. Sharing through a site that everyone knows is free will help, I think. I wonder if Kinfolio will morph into a combination of a Family Tree and a MyCanvas like experience. I think it would be fun to be able to order a printable professional level book based on your online Kinfolio book. There are a lot of things about Kinfolio that are only speculation and I would not expect it to be public for another year at minimum.

Here is a teaser for the Kinfolio experience:

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