WeRelate talk:Pedigree page format

This page is for comments about the new ability to create Person and Family pages and the automatic tree generation.



Firstly, my thoughts. The setup is nice and I like the logical idea of having the title of pages as FN SN (ID), which handles duplicates but removes the need for sometimes confusing 7/8 digit ID numbers. Just wondered whether/when GEDCOM import would be availible - this would make it much easier for large family trees. Another thing, is that I think the tree generation at the moment is no way near the quality of Rodovid. Dallan, will you be interested in resuming talks with Baya about using some of his code?--Bjwebb 12:21, 12 November 2006 (MST)

We're working on Gedcom upload now. The first thing we thought to do is create the person and family page functionality so that people could see what the pages look like and provide feedback. Gedcom upload should be available early next year
I looked at the rodovid site (see an example) and personally I didn't like the format. You have to hover over each individual to see their information instead of being able to see everything at once, having siblings shown above each person in the pedigree makes it difficult to read, and the format is non-standard - right-to-left instead of left-to-right. What did you like about the format? Is it the coloring by surname? I thought the coloring was distracting, but I could add it if others like it. Is it the fact that descendents can be displayed as well as ancestors in an hourglass format (see an example)? I've thought about adding a descendents view but I could also add an hourglass view if people like that idea. Or is it the fact that it's possible to view more generations? If more generations, what do you think of the pedigree viewer at FamilySearch labs?
When I last talked with Baya he didn't want others to use his code without merging with him, and he was in the process of merging with WikiTree. Once that merger is complete I think it would be good to resume conversations.

Dallan 11:31, 13 November 2006 (MST)

Firstly, to do with a Wikitree merger, the site is down at the moment, so I don't think any merge will be happening very fast at the moment. I must say I have become accustomed to the way Rodovid handles the trees - it does have some better features - but they could probably be added to yours. The best thing to do would be probably to have the user state in prefrences how they want trees to be displayed. Things that would improve you trees are:
  • Showing descendents ie hourglass view (I prefer the "reverse" way that Baya uses with ancestors to the left and descendents to right, as it is like a time line from earlier generations on the left to more recent generations on the right.)
The reverse approach is standard for an hourglass. I plan to do an hourglass view sometime soon; it will be done in Flash (see below). But the standard for pedigrees is left-to-right.--Dallan 10:14, 18 November 2006 (MST)
Yes, keep your pedigrees as they are, and I really do look forwards to the flash version.--Bjwebb 15:07, 18 November 2006 (MST)
  • Brothers and sisters - I like being able to see these but there definately should be some button to turn it on/off
You can see brothers and sisters by hovering over the "F" link.--Dallan 10:14, 18 November 2006 (MST)
I hadn't noticed this. I must admit, I do prefer your way to Rodovid, it keeps the rest of the tree much less cluttered.--Bjwebb 15:07, 18 November 2006 (MST)
I need to change the "F" to an icon to make it more obvious.--Dallan 22:43, 18 November 2006 (MST)
  • Roll over - another feature that some people will want and others not and could be stored in prefrences. I like it becuase it means the overall tree takes up less space.
I personally don't think rollover is necessary when you're displaying five generations and it makes viewing the pedigree not as nice, but I'm willing to add it if a few more people say they want it.--Dallan 10:14, 18 November 2006 (MST)
Yes, reconsidering, especially as I have found your method of displaying brothers and sisters, it would be better to leave it as it is. Part of the problem at the moment is that some people have Person: before their names (whilst on others it has been removed, as I think it should be).--Bjwebb 15:07, 18 November 2006 (MST)
The Person: is displayed only when the page doesn't exist or when the name pieces are all empty. In those cases I could display the page title without the Person: namespace. That seems like a good idea Thanks for the suggestion.--Dallan 22:43, 18 November 2006 (MST)
  • Colouring - I don't find this paticularly useful on Rodovid, but others might. If you just had bloodline descendants/ancestors and one colours and siblings of these people in another, I think that would be useful
I'll add this early next week, along with pedigree maps.--Dallan 10:14, 18 November 2006 (MST)
To be honest, I'd caution you against colouring, seeing as you have an alternate method of displaying siblings. Without colour would make printing much more ink-efficient. If you do add it, it should be optional.--Bjwebb 15:07, 18 November 2006 (MST)
Please let me know what you think again next week after you've seen the maps :-).--Dallan 22:43, 18 November 2006 (MST)
  • More Generations - possibly - I don't know the maximum that WeRelate can handle. The pedigree viewer you suggested did look interesting, but it seemed to handle some relations strangely. --Bjwebb 14:46, 13 November 2006 (MST)
I plan to add the option to view more generations at some point in the Flash app I mention above. Showing 5 generations can be done and still have the website be pretty scalable. I worry that showing a lot more (e.g., 7 generations on each side) would put a lot of load on the server, which is fine when you don't have a lot of visitors but doesn't allow the website to scale well. Displaying additional generations in a Flash app, where the pedigree pages can be cached locally on your hard-drive, will allow people to view and navigate large pedigrees without undue server load.--Dallan 10:14, 18 November 2006 (MST)
Yes, yes, yes. More generation both ways in a flash app - it sounds wonderful. As soon you have finished that and the GEDCOM editor this site will perfectly meet my online genealogical needs :) :D :).--Bjwebb 15:07, 18 November 2006 (MST)
The Pedigree looks good to me, a bit stretched but definitly a possibility to read all the information you want -- Powerzite 08:48, 17 November 2006 (MST)
Yes, it is stretched, which is why I think roll-over expansion, as with Rodovid, would be a good idea.--Bjwebb 08:58, 17 November 2006 (MST)
Currently there is a blank area on the left-hand side of every page (under the navigation and toolbox sections). I'm going to redesign the site over the next few weeks to remove those sections from the left-hand side of the page and put them in a drop-down menu near the top of the page. This will make more room for the pedigree.--Dallan 10:14, 18 November 2006 (MST)
That sounds a great idea, I retract my suggestion of roll-over expansion.--Bjwebb 15:07, 18 November 2006 (MST)


A couple of comments about the map. The idea is great, I like being able to see the progression of the family geographically. The current view is very confusing though, and I think I know of some ways to improve it.


  • First, the colors don't really mean anything. They're just kind of random, and you need to look at the (hard-to-see) key to figure it out. I suggest something a bit more obvious, like decreasing the intensity of the color as you go back in the pedigree. For example, the current individual could have bright blue icons, then his/her parents could have medium blue, then his/her grandparents could have pale blue. Also, you could key the colors to gender (male blue, female red), or have the current person's ancestors be blue and his/her descendants be green, etc., with intensity decreasing with age. The current system is just hard to see at a glance which is the current person, and how things progress.
Actually, the colors do mean something, although perhaps it is not obvious. The individual's father and his ancestors are shades of red: the father is red, the father's father is red-blue (purple), and the father's mother is red-yellow (orange). The individual's mother and her ancestors are shades of green: the mother is green, the mother's father is green-yellow, and the mother's mother is green-blue (cyan). The individual is yellow, which is what you get when you mix green and red in an additive color model. The spouse is blue, and and the children are grey (when you mix blue and yellow in an additive color model you get white, but white didn't show up well). Having said this, I'm open to change if people don't like it.--Dallan 11:08, 21 December 2006 (MST)
Instead of mixing colors (which may not be obvious to many people without thinking about it), what about having multicolored icons? Red for the father, red with a thin blue border for the father's father, red with a thin yellow border for the father's mother, etc. --Joeljkp 17:15, 21 December 2006 (MST)
I agree with Joel about the colours. Robin Patterson 23:38, 20 December 2006 (MST)
This would be pretty easy to do; what do others think?--Dallan 12:12, 23 December 2006 (MST)
The maps are a cool feature, one that I think will draw people into using the site. I suppose, now that someone has mentioned it, that the colours aren't that intuitive, although I can see the reasoning behind the choices when it is mentioned above. I don't know if there is a way you can make the lines and icons immediately meaningful without the need for a key to be consulted. I like the idea of the colour saturation decreasing as a person moves back in generations, although I don't know how readable that would be in practice.--Tim 16:53, 23 December 2006 (MST)
I've played around with some colors. We show up to five generations, so we need five colors. I think we could have five shades of blue that would go from dark-blue to very-pale-blue that wouldn't be too hard to distinguish. Or we could use rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue) that would be easier to distinguish but perhaps the rainbow color progression isn't obvious enough. What do you think?--Dallan 02:04, 24 December 2006 (MST)


  • Second, I dislike the icons. I think they could be smaller and get the same information across, like little round pushpins for births, square pushpins for deaths, etc.--Joeljkp 14:48, 20 December 2006 (MST)
The icons could be replaced with circles, triangles and squares and be a little simpler and cleaner, but they don't really bother me as they are.--Tim 16:53, 23 December 2006 (MST)
I agree with Joel about the colours. Icons - Wikipedia has the dagger/cross meaning "died" on some of its "year" pages. Robin Patterson 23:38, 20 December 2006 (MST)
I'd rather not change the icons to circles, squares, etc. because that would result in another reason to have to read the key. But I could make them smaller if people would rather have them smaller. I made them the size as used in Google Maps.--Dallan 11:08, 21 December 2006 (MST)
What about making the icons look like pushpins: small circle on a stick to represent birth, a small heart on a stick to represent marriage, and a small tombstone (square with a rounded top) or dagger/cross on a stick to represent death? This would make them smaller and cleaner but would still be somewhat represenative of marriage and death. What do people think about this?--Dallan 02:04, 24 December 2006 (MST)

Reducing clutter

One thought I've had is to perhaps turn off most of the people by default, so that the only the individual and perhaps their spouse is shown. Leave the functionality, so that a viewer can see the migration of ancestors and descendants with the click of a button, but leave them off at first, so that there is initially less information that needs to be made sense of at first look.--Tim 16:53, 23 December 2006 (MST)

It's not currently easy to display the individual without also displaying his/her siblings, but we could start out displaying just the first two generations (individual and siblings and spouse, and their children). On the other hand, maybe displaying siblings is part of the problem. Maybe sibling events clutters things up enough that we shouldn't display them?--Dallan 02:04, 24 December 2006 (MST)

Next steps

I'm planning to replace the current icon colors with shades of blue, going from dark-blue for the children to lighter and lighter shades of blue for each generation going back. For people on the father's side the icons will have a red border. For people on the mother's side the icons will have a green border. Also, I'll replace the current icon shapes with circles, hearts, and tombstones on sticks, about half the size of the current icons. Finally, I'll add an option to include or exclude siblings of the people in the pedigree, which will be excluded by default. I'm planning to do this the week of the 15th, after we have the family tree explorer ready for alpha launch.--Dallan 12:42, 2 January 2007 (MST)

Great, I'm looking forward to the result. --Joeljkp 13:10, 2 January 2007 (MST)