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Ancestry Mobile Redesign


How could a mobile app
become an integral part of a brand?

The most common touchpoints for the Ancestry brand are its website and DNA test kits. I was assigned this brand for a project where we redesigned user flows within an experience, and I thought it would be interesting to look at the mobile app. My goal was to  figure out how to make it a more integral part of the overall brand experience.

Based on interviews with current users, I found that a common concern was quickly determining if a new find was relevant or not, which is usually done based on dates. For people without an automatic internal abacus, this was tricky. In response to that, I designed a new family tree view that would allow a chronological rather than relational organization. This allows users to quickly check where different family member lifetimes overlap, verifying the dates of various documents.


In order to focus on some uniquely mobile aspects, I added a feature that would allow users to connect significant locations to a phone GPS, so they could visit or view these sites easily. I also would like to add an Oral History feature, where stories about family members could be recorded and shared from a mobile device. By taking advantage of existing mobile phone abilities, such as GPS and microphones, users could interact with the brand, and their family history, in a unique way.

Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 12.04.11
Portrait Tree

For the overall interface design, not much changed aside from moving some things around, and updating the icons and colors. The old silhouettes with pink or blue backgrounds felt too "baby gender reveal"; the new colors align better with the brand.

Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 12.00.33

This is the family timeline, with a card pulled up from one of the dots representing life events. The timeline also allows viewers to put their family in historic context, with the dashed horizontal lines representing important historic events.

Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 12.07.22
Location Hints

This screen is where users can confirm potential hints, represented by the large green and white dot with leaf. Hints tied to locations are recorded, and have the ability to be linked to the user's map app of choice, to find or visit.


This was a very interesting project for several reasons. For one, it was challenging to tackle a visual brand redesign, as that is not something I've had a lot of experience with. However, it came pretty easily once I focused in on the mobile aspect of the brand. It was also my first ever foray into micro interactions. Thanks to Anima, this was actually the easiest part of the process. For the next step, I'll be making the interface for the oral history feature, which will hopefully be coming in the next few weeks. This was a five week project, completed individually.

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