Ancestry.com has been online for more than 20 years, serving billions of historical records to millions of customers worldwide. By 2015, its performance report card had lost its usefulness—“Time to first byte” and window.onload() don’t work for single-page apps—and more relevant metrics were needed. But with limited resources, how do you prioritize performance efforts?
Like most established web properties, Ancestry has a broad range of technologies across many teams and stacks. Jed Wood shares Ancestry’s successes and challenges as it shifted to user-centered performance metrics, along with two new tools for measuring and reporting, and moved from a system of "performance cops and janitors” to making performance a regular part of workflow across organizations. Jed also covers some practical tips and gotchas when deploying and managing these metrics and tools.
Jed Wood has spent his career with one foot in UX and the other in development. Jed carved a niche as a prototyper and is now obsessed with making the Web fast and improving perceived performance. Jed is currently on the UX team at Ancestry, where he prototypes new ideas and speeds up old ones. Prior to Ancestry, Jed was part of the first class of Presidential Innovation Fellows under the CTO of the White House.
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