Mobile App Development Update

Development Update

Last week we passed the 1,000 download milestone! For the devoted readers of my blog I thought it would be nice to provide an “inside” look at the development status of The Family Nexus mobile app. Since RootsTech we have been focusing on some key enhancements to the free version as well as adding Premium Features. In addition, we have an exciting announcement at the end of the article. What follows is a detailed development update on our progress with The Family Nexus mobile app.

Premium Subscription

New Memories Feature

A note about our revenue model seems appropriate here. We wish we could provide all this functionality free of charge to all our users. However, software development is expensive and so we need a way to pay for the development. The Family Nexus will always offer its core functionality for free. Specifically, the ability to automatically map your FamilySearch Family Tree data and get alerts. We will also offer additional features exclusively to users who pay for a Premium Subscription.

Users will have the option of choosing a 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month Premium Subscription. Subscribers will have access to all existing and future Premium Subscription content. Features marked with a ($) in the article will be exclusively for our Premium Subscription members.

Completed Items

The following items have been completed since the release of Version 1.01, which is the currently available version in the App Store as of this writing.

New Filter Controls Options

  • Improvements to download manager to reduce download time and better manage system resources.
  • Implemented analytics for better crash reporting and event tracking
  • Improvements to Notifications (group notifications that took place in the same place, or multiples on same day)
  • Changes to “zoom” level (“remember” last zoom, always zoom close on a place search, remove slider in Settings)
  • Bug fixes, including disappearing map pins, incorrect Notification icons, preferred relationships
  • UI Improvements
  • Add Feedback link in menu
  • Improved Searching
  • Show event card when tap an event in a cluster
  • Filter Controls: Multiple options for filtering the event pins that appear on the map ($)
  • Quick Map Filters: From a Person Details View go to map and view only Ancestors of that person or only Immediate Family members of that person ($)

Under Development

  • New Map Layers Feature

    Redesign Menu screen

  • Premium Subscription purchase ($)
  • Map Layer Data (cemeteries, churches, etc.) ($)
  • Data Manager section of Settings screen – stats & download additional people ($)
  • Family Group Display ($)
  • Memories Display ($)

Time Estimates

All the features listed above should be made available to our beta testers in early May, and are expected to be in the App store by the end of May!

Kickstarter Project

We have been very grateful for the enthusiasm of our early users. Our team appreciates ALL feedback – both “good” and “bad” – that we receive. We have made note of feature requests, product enhancements, and other suggestions and added those to our development roadmap. We have a ton of great ideas and can’t wait to keep developing to bring your ideas to life! As we looked at the roadmap we faced a practical consideration regarding the timing of the development. Bluntly, it all came down to funding.

Because we are not interested in outside investors at this early stage we had 2 viable options: 1) Wait and see how the Premium Features were received and use those revenues to fund the additional development, or 2) Start a Kickstarter Project to accelerate the development. We are as eager as you are to see some of these cool ideas come to the marketplace so we have opted to launch a Kickstarter campaign!

The campaign will likely begin in mid-June and the intent is to fund development of the following features:

Social Networking Features (FREE!)

  • Check-in Feature: Record when you visit an ancestral location
  • News Feed: See when others check-in or share on social media about a common ancestor
  • AccuPin news item: When someone adds AccuPin data for a common ancestor have the option of adding that data to your own device
  • Friends: Add “Friends” for internal chat or News Feed
  • Internal Chat: Collaborate with friends and share your excitement about discoveries using the Internal Chat feature

GPS Data ($)

  • “AccuPin” feature: move the event pin to an actual address or geographic coordinates where an event took place (instead of just the city, town, county, etc.)
  • Geotag rich media: add geographic location information to photos and other memories

Trip Itinerary Planner ($)

  • Create and save travel itineraries
  • Add ancestral locations or other points of interest to an itinerary
  • Travel Mode: Show only places in an itinerary
  • Navigation directions
  • Google Street View:  360 degree immersive experience of ancestral villages (where available) – EVEN IF YOU CAN”T TRAVEL THERE IN REAL LIFE!

Android Version

Many fans are Android users and we want to facilitate their discovery moments as well. We will only be to develop the Android version with your support! As we get closer to the Kickstarter campaign please share with all your friends so we can make this dream a reality! The Android version will have “free” and “premium” features just like the Apple version.

Conclusion

Thanks for taking the time to read this development update. We love family history. We love the thrill of making connections with family members living and dead. This often happens when learning about the details of their lives: stories, photos, and places add to the rich tapestry that makes up your family heritage. The Family Nexus is on a mission to make family history more social and mobile. In the process we aim to facilitate Discovery in new and exciting ways.

We can’t do this without you. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We believe our app is like none other in the industry. We ask for your continued support as we introduce new features to our Premium Subscribers and as we launch the Kickstarter campaign. Spread the word with family and friends! Also, tell us what kind of features you would like to see. You can send an email to feedback@thefamilynexus.com OR simply comment below!

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2 Comments

  1. Wendy Broz

    Reply

    I love this app! It’s mind blowing and very much appreciated. I discovered it as I was searching for a way to map the journey of one ancestor. I’m new using this app so I may be asking a dumb question…. Is there a way to select one ancestor and see a US map with dates near places?

    Thanks for all you are doing.

    ~Wendy

    • Reply

      Glad you like it! We are working on premium content for subscribers that will get close to what you are asking for. You will be able to filter the map results including the ability to select one ancestor and just map events associated with his/her ancestors or immediate family, etc. Adding dates next to the pins is a great idea. I would like to animate the map in kind of “time lapse” view as well, but that is down the road a bit.

      Tell your friends and family!

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