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American Kennel Club Logo

About the American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. In addition to maintaining its pedigree registry, this kennel club also promotes and sanctions events for purebred dogs, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, an annual event which predates the official forming of the AKC, the National Dog Show, and the AKC National Championship sponsored by Royal Canin, formerly the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.

Alla Gringaus, Director of User Experience (UX) / Creative Director, has long been a champion for Performance Optimization. We sat down with her to learn about how Rigor is helping AKC become best in breed.

Why did you choose to start a campaign for good performance at American Kennel Club?

I have been a champion of performance optimization for years, from the times when Time Inc. and AOL were sister-companies under Time Warner. Back then, AOL’s Patrick Meenan spearheaded Website Optimization and just launched The idea for the fast web and the outcome of the improved page load was obvious; the passion around the speed – contagious.  I brought into the vision a number of performance giants such as Andy King, Steve Souders, Ilya Grigorik, and Patrick Meenan. Then, years later, I met the guys from a fantastic startup called Zoompf, which was later acquired by Rigor. I recommend this software wherever I go for the obvious reasons – it works!

When I joined the American Kennel Club (AKC) a year and a half ago, we used performance tools that helped us monitor our domains and websites, downtimes, provided reporting, and alerted us to any other problems via email. What we couldn’t get out of them was more in-depth insights with built-in analytics to tackle specific problems over time, as trends, to capture patterns.

As a Lead of User Experience at AKC, I believe that performance goes hand-in-hand with how users perceive our service. Poor UX can give a negative impression of a brand’s credibility and reputation.

Our success or failure hinges on how the user-facing product is consumed and perceived. Even above the aesthetics, an in-depth understanding of website or mobile performance knowledge is of paramount importance. This is exactly why I chose Rigor, a super intelligent software that helps us tackle many performance issues and make our digital products better, faster, and more efficient.

Ultimately, Rigor helps us make our products faster, more usable, and more accessible for all. This is why I think Rigor is the best tool in the market.

Alla Gringaus, Creative Director, UX and Visual Designer, The American Kennel Club

Alla GringausDirector of User Experience (UX) / Creative Director, The American Kennel Club

How does Rigor contribute to your work to make AKC best in breed?

Rigor helps us pinpoint what slowdowns are impacting our site. For instance, last week one of our most visited pages took 16 seconds to load. Our goal is to make sure that all pages load in under 6 seconds. I was able to generate a report that went to the Development team, the Content team, and the Design team. The cause of the problem was a third party script, which we were able to detect in no time. Rigor gave us all of these answers in one place.

How does Rigor help you create a culture of performance at the American Kennel Club?

People need to own performance. Just saying “Our performance isn’t great” doesn’t make anyone accountable. But, if we can identify which parts of our product need performance optimization work, we can assign ownership by breaking down the tasks by the job role without pointing fingers.

A good place to start changing the performance culture is to find a champion among top executives who can help you promote the culture of speed, fund the project, and allocate resources. In my organization, this is Aiden Colie, the Head of Technology. Aiden and I have worked together before at Time Inc. and our paths crossed again at AKC. Aiden is still a huge proponent of good performance and supports the project in every possible way!

Ultimately, Rigor helps us make our products faster, more usable, and more accessible for all. This is why I think Rigor is the best tool in the market.

About Alla Gringaus

Alla Gringaus is Director of User Experience (UX) / Creative Director at the American Kennel Club. A Certified User Experience (UX) professional, she has a passion for creating user experiences and user interfaces (UI) that enable people to perform their tasks with ease. Experienced in front-end development and search engine optimization (SEO), Alla is a long-time web performance veteran. Connect with Alla on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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