DNA Matches

Company: Ancestry

Project Type: Mobile App Design

Role: Designer

The story so far…

DNA in the Family History was intially implemented as an embedded webview in the app. This was primarily due to the small team size. The DNA app team came later and had created a native DNA Matches feature, but it's functionality was minimal in comparison to the web. Now we needed to create a first class DNA Matches experience.

The goals…

  • Replace the embedded webview with a fully native experience
  • Greatly enhance the Matches experience form the DNA app to bring parity to the web's functionality
  • Extend the functionality to take better advantageof mobile paradigms and capabilities
  • Provide a base from which we can continue to push and evolve the DNA integration

The process…


I started by doing a comparison of the features of the web (top row) vs. the DNA app (bottom row), mapping out and prioritizing our feature set. The web version of matches showed customers more information and provided a lot more functionality. Family HIstory app customers would expect to see the same level of functionality as they were using this feature to do some pretty heavy research. We have years of user research on the web showing us the ways that users expect to be able to use this information. I leveraged that research to guide my designs and ensure that we were bringing over the most necessary information and functionality.

Because it would be a large effort, I set up a series of phases, each progressively adding more information/functionality. The early phases were only internal releases, but once we acheived a desired level of functionality we started releasing to customers. These samples represent the releases to customers.

At the same time we were in the middle of transitioning the design from the old design system to Ancestry's new system. So I had to plan for that transition as well.

The outcomes…

Things turned out pretty well. Our customers got a much better expereince with the functionality they expect. The best outcome is not necessarily what we released, but that we were able to establish a much better relationship with the web DNA team. We were able to coordinate with them on this work and we now have several future features planned where we will continue this collaboration. This is definitely the way that things should operate all of the time, but as is often the case at big companies, this type of coordination is often lacking and has been a particular struggle between the web teams and our app teams.

Selected Works

Ancestry App UpdateMobile Strategy

DNA MatchesMobile Design

View Match's TreeMobile Design

Person Page UpdateMobile Design