I’m riding into SLC on the train early this morning to eat breakfast with some fellow RootsTech-ers before the conference starts. I’ll take this time to give a quick re-cap of the RootsTech Innovator Summit which was held yesterday.
Keynote – Chris Dancy
This was perhaps the most interesting keynote presentation I have ever witnessed. Chris is such a fascinating person. A few things that I especially loved about the presentation:
- It pushed me into a space of discomfort, thinking about death specifically. Death is an uncomfortable subject, so I tend to avoid it. I’m glad he took me there.
- Even though Chris is so wired to technology, he is very human. He uses technology to serve him, not the other way around.
- I’ve had a few friends who have died, and his comments on digital death were spot on. I’ve experienced seeing people post to the person’s wall well after they die, as if they are still alive and able to read their Facebook.
- He showcased some really interesting and funny death apps. I especially liked if i die. Go watch the video.
FamilySearch Photos and Stories (Memories) API
The most interesting thing to me was that the audience was about 80% genealogy enthusiast, 10% business opportunist, and 10% developer. I thought the presenters did a great job in staying focused on the developer side of the presentation, since that was the intended purpose of the day, but also were very respectful and helpful to the genealogist. Here are my takeaways from this presentation:
- Today, the Memories API requires lots of steps to wire everything together. An easier flow may be available later this year.
- There are 10 layers of image screening that every photo passes through. Probably the most strict image screening done today.
- PDFs are screened by breaking apart the images and text and screening each component separately.
- Audio is coming soon.
This was a great review of how to design a RESTful API that is nice to use. There were some great concepts shared. A lot of the concepts were based on Brian Mulloy’s API Design principles. There was good audience participation, which I think helped solidify the concepts really well.
FamilySearch App in 1 Hour
Customer and Mobile First Design
Andrew Fox gave a great presentation on how to build services that focus on customer needs. A few of my takeaways:
- You don’t know your customer. You are not your customer.
- Talk to the customer. Do usability tests with 5 customers. You will start to see patterns.
- Genealogy is like a game. A game requires some friction. People enjoy some of the difficult puzzle solving parts of genealogy. It would be a disservice to take that away.
- He gave a great comparison of starting your family history and starting a World of Warcraft game. You start out with specific quests, learn new skills and level up. He compared a WoW player riding a dragon to a genealogist with a giant tree. Loved it.
- We don’t need to turn genealogy into a game. Like I’ve said before, Genealogy is the Game.
Well, I’m at the end of my ride. I’m looking forward to a great day today. Come visit me at the FamilySearch booth at 1pm.