I’d like to propose 2 longer-range feature additions for consideration:
- Fan Chart view.
- 3-dimensional tree view.
Fan Chart View
One of my favorite views to work with is the Fan Chart. It’s one of the few online service features of MyHeritage that I prefer, and it’s sorely missing from Ancestry and most desktop software.
Please note that I’m not referring to the Fan Chart report of RM, which is wonderful. Rather, I’m referring to an actual navigational view, where clicking on a person opens their record in the same way it does in the existing Person views.
For the screen real estate, the Fan Chart can’t be beat for representing more generations. It’s also much easier to see where ancestor gaps are. If this view were available in RM, I’d gleefully use it as my default view.
3-D Tree View(that's fun to say)
This one is MUCH more challenging but a potential revolutionary game changer.
We talk about family “trees”. But how many of you have seen, in nature, a flat 2-D tree with 1 leaf at the end of each branch? Trees are 3 dimensional and covered in leaves. So are families & communities.
What I’m proposing is to represent our trees in 3 dimensions, with all of our ancestors, extended family and associations as a constellation of connected nodes.
To get a sense of what I’m proposing, take a look at Vizster, created at Stanford University as a visualization tool for social networks. vizster | visualizing online social networks
Imagine each major node being a direct ancestor, and smaller nodes being extended family. Those smaller nodes would have connections to their spouses, in-law families, children, etc. And there could be special nodes to represent the Associates that exist in our RM database. (Perhaps family members are sphere nodes and Associates are diamonds, for example.) And you could implement color-coding of nodes to correspond to the color-coding features in RM.
For interface this might work: Single-clicking on a node would bring that one to the forefront. Double-clicking would open the person editor screen. Mouse wheel scrolling would zoom in to focus more closely on a node or zoom out to view a larger portion of the node constellation.
I this one is a real challenge to implement. But consider how such a visualization could lead to interactions & insights you never dreamed of before.
Side note: When visiting the Vizster site, be sure to click on the names of the two authors, particularly Jeffrey Heer, for more visualization goodies.