Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Let’s create tools to make genealogy more like a game

Doing genealogy would be less expensive and more fun if more people got involved.

Recently an LDS Church leader encouraged more youth to work on genealogy, because they’re more familiar with technology that is now practically required to do genealogy. But we don’t need to encourage youth to get on Facebook or play FarmVille, and even many older non-tech play social games. Why? Because they’re fun.

A big problem with people starting to do genealogy is that they don’t know how to begin. In games this is called “onboarding” – what happens during the first few minutes of play. Games focus on onboarding and on directing the player to increasingly challenging experiences that make playing the game fun. The current flock of genealogy programs are largely dressed-up database managers. They don’t lead you to do what to do next, and don’t reward you in some way when you do it. We need to make doing genealogy more like playing a game. The process of look for a record, attach it to the tree, get rewarded, and get direction on the next record to look for needs to be a core part of the experience.