WebBiographies is a site for people who want to record their life stories and create their family trees. The tools of this site allow for creating a detailed online journal, filled with whatever details the user wants to keep.
There are many sites which offer tools to create a family tree, with details and photos. WebBiographies goes one step further, it allows the user to write down stories connected to different aspects of heir lives (growing up, travel, romance). Unlike other geneology sites, where the trees and all personal information are usually restricted to approved family members, here, people can visit each others profiles (unles the user prefers to have a secret profile), read the stories, and add each other to contact lists.
The first part of creating a user's profile is very similar to creating one's CV on a job oriented site. The user has to fill in his or her details, dates, school names, jobs etc. This is not a very exciting activity, and probably people who have completed dozens od CVs already, will not enjoy that much.
After finishing the form filling part, we can get to the more interesting things, such as writing the blog. There are different sections for entries, called 'Growing up, Romance, Work, Culinary, Advice' and a couple of others. Basically they are like bookmarks relating to different subjects, but their content is entirely up to the user. I'm not sure if this kind of division is the most effective one. What if someone decides to describe a trip to Greece (which would go to the 'Travel' section) but decides to add a couple of descriptions of lovely Greek food ('Culinary')? I think that adding tags to the entries, and a tag based search would be better here, and would give the users more freedom in creating their stories.
Then we have the Scrapbooking section, which is basically about uploading photos. After the possibilities of online scrapbooking i saw on other sites, for example www.Scrapblog.com, i would expect something exciting. Unfortunately, there are not photo manipulation options (other than automatic resizing), or decoration tools. All we can do is a rather dull photo album with a rather ugly cover.
The family tree is ok and functional, but absolutely unoriginal. There are just boxes, to fill with the relatives' names, and usual connections. The tree system allows us to create a very straight family tree, which I believe is not enough nowadays. How do i add my step sisters, or the children of my mother's third husband? It seems like the system doesn't realise that some family connections may not be simple and linear.
Another thing is, that the site seems to be working really slow, so if a user has to wait for a minute for each update to be accepted, he might become a bit impatient.
The site looks very traditional, even old-school. It might be the creators idea, perhaps, to have a layout that goes well with thinking about history and the past, maybe they wanted the site to look like an old photo album? Maybe they wanted to attract people who prefer traditional designs, and dislike all those new things? In that case, they got it right. I think that the layout and design of this site will be fine for people who like old albums, and who just want to create a diary online, but will not appeal to experienced internet users, who are used to fast, user-friendly sites, which adjust themselves to the users' needs. Those who have seen what online diary making can look like (for example on www.Arcalife.com), will just not want to get involved in this site.
The idea for this site is nice and brings back the family tradition of sharing stories and keeping photos and memories. Unfortunately, the design of this site seems to be really old fashioned. Not in a nice way of revoking old school images and esthetics, but in the way the site works. The internet technologies have improved a lot the recent years, and you can create a site filled with dynamic, fast working and user friendly tools. Unfortunately, this site's creators didn't decide to follow that trend.