Stop using anchors as buttons!

Posted by Jason Boyer on September 2, 2014 in Accessibility, CSS/HTML/JavaScript, UX, Web

Semantic buttons and links are important for usability as well as accessibility. Hyperlinks indicate a URL change, whereas buttons are used to perform an action. I thought this post up in response to a question asked on Stack Overflow over 5 years ago. Which one should you use? <a href=”#” onclick=”doSomething()”>Do Something</a> <a href=”javascript:void(0);” onclick=”doSomething()”>Do… Read more

Website Performance 101

Posted by Jeremy Johnson on June 17, 2014 in Performance, Web

Here at Ancestry.com, we have a team dedicated to monitoring, measuring, and helping the company improve the performance of the website. Trying to do this is a very fun and interesting challenge. With a website that has many billions of records and other content (10 petabytes), making it fast is no small task! To illustrate… Read more

Find A Grave Engineering

Posted by Robert Schultz on May 21, 2014 in Development, Mobile, Web

Last October Ancestry.com acquired a very exciting property called Find A Grave which focused on collecting content around the graves of family, loved ones and famous people. With the acquisition we wanted to take Find A Grave to the next level and provide the current users new and better experiences around consuming and contributing content.… Read more

Creating a Completely Accessible Navigation Bar in HTML, CSS, and JS

Posted by Jason Boyer on January 27, 2014 in Accessibility, CSS/HTML/JavaScript, UX, Web

Recently, I volunteered to prototype a new global navigation bar for the core Ancestry.com website. This was a huge opportunity for some drastically needed improvements, not only for the code behind the header, but more importantly, the accessibility of the navigational items. Even though we’re early on in this process of creating an accessible navigation… Read more

Why Have a Browser Support Policy?

Posted by Jeff Lord on January 6, 2014 in Analytics, Development, Mobile, Testing, Web

With the growing number of web browsers and mobile devices being used to access content on the internet, it has become increasingly important for organizations to solidify a browser/device support policy. Internally, this type of policy can help with the development and testing of new features and pages by focusing time, effort, and resources on… Read more

Untangling Authentication and Authorization

Posted by Seng Lin Shee on September 27, 2013 in Development, Mobile, Technical Management, Web

When designing web service APIs, a decision has to be made to protect the usage of such APIs. If you are working within a protected firewall, and you trust every single user or machine on the network, this article does not apply to you – you are in API heaven. For the rest of us,… Read more

Make your next UI library with an HTML API

Posted by Mitchell Harris on June 19, 2013 in CSS/HTML/JavaScript, Web

Things are changing in the front end web world. Among those changes are HTML APIs.  Here’s the problem. You’ve made a webby-UI widget that is really cool. It’s so cool, that other people want to re-use it. How do you expose your widget so that other people can use it? In the old world, you… Read more

DevOps: Finding the right place for a new idea

Posted by Daniel Sands on May 2, 2013 in Agile, Continuous Delivery, Inside our Offices, Technical Management, Web

For the last year and a half, we’ve been breaking in a new concept at Ancestry.com called a DevOps engineer. There is a ton of material on the internet about what DevOps means to various groups, and how they’ve implemented it. A lot of it revolves around SCRUM, Agile processes, and other approaches to increase… Read more