Posted by Web Operations on January 29, 2013 in Content, Site Features


Last year, we launched the Interactive Image Viewer as an interactive tool to help you view and interpret information from many of the Census records available online. We’re excited to announce that the Interactive Image Viewer will now be available for several more collections in the coming weeks. Finding and understanding historical records is one of the most exciting and important parts of family history, so we’ve been working hard to make an intuitive and enjoyable experience that will work for different Web browsers and devices. Although we still have work to do, here are a few changes you’ll find:

A more consistent viewing experience

Over the years, the website has had several different ways to view images. Now we’d like to make your experience as consistent as possible. For example, our current image viewer requires Flash. Unfortunately, some members use devices that can’t use Flash so we’ve made the new Interactive Image Viewer so it works without Flash.

Faster image viewing

We want to make sure that images you’re interested in appear as quickly as possible so you can spend more time exploring them and less time waiting them to load. The new Interactive Image Viewer is more than twice as fast as our current Flash-powered viewer.

More viewing space and easy access to tools

The Interactive Image Viewer has been designed to give you the best view of the content while providing easy access to image tools and features. Want to see a transcription of the record? Simply click on the Index tab at the bottom of the page. (You can make the index bigger or smaller by clicking and dragging the tab)

Help finding your family

If you’ve used the Interactive Image Viewer with the 1911 England and Wales Census, 1930 U.S Census or 1940 U.S. Census, you’ll recognize the highlights, which identify the person and family you’re looking for. We’ll be adding highlights to more censuses and additional collections as soon as they’re available.

More understanding of what you’re seeing

Have you been trying to memorize what each field on censuses means to avoid looking back and forth between the information and the column headings? With the Interactive Image Viewer, you don’t have to! Labels will display on the top and left side of the viewer so you’ll know exactly what information you’re looking at—no matter which part of the record you’re viewing. And to see what a field says, just hover your mouse over it.

Tips and Tricks

Keyboard controls: Use the arrow keys to pan and + and – to zoom. Press the Home or End keys to move to the far left or right of the image, and Page Up and Page Down keys to move to the top and bottom.

Do you like printing the transcription of a record? The new viewer allows you to easily print all or part of an image along with the index and source information. If you’d like to print the whole index for an image, you can now select and copy the text right out of the index panel.

We really appreciate the feedback we’re received (more than 20,000 of you have responded to date!) so please keep sending us your thoughts.

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