Lara Callender Swanson

I'm the Engineering Manager of Performance at Etsy. Follow me on Twitter.

I champion page load time, experiment-driven design, and delivering a consistent experience to screens of all sizes. I believe it's important to celebrate career achievements with donuts.

I'll be speaking at the following:

Previously in 2014:

Recent Work

Interview on Hanselminutes

I sat down with Scott Hanselman to explain how to design for page load time, including optimizations to images, fonts, markup, and more. How important is having a culture of performance and executive buy-in? Is a two-second page load time reasonable? How important is A/B testing? Listen to the interview

Mobile web is not (just) a technical challenge, a keynote at Velocity

I spoke about how Etsy moved towards a culture of performance and mobile web by educating, incentivizing and empowering everyone who works at Etsy. Slides and video

Designing for Performance

Designing for Performance Early ReleaseI'm currently writing a book called Designing for Performance. This practical book helps you approach a new project with page speed in mind, and shows you know how to test and benchmark which design choices are most important. I cover:

If you have Adobe Photoshop experience and basic HTML and CSS skills, this book will help you learn how to design for performance. The first three chapters are available for early release here, as well as pre-order of the print book.

Building a Device Lab, a tutorial with Destiny Montague at Velocity

At Etsy, we've built a device lab with 30+ devices and iterated upon the lab as we learned more about how developers and designers use it. We approached building it like a product for internal users, and are eager to help others build out their labs so we can learn from each other. Slides, Video Part 1, Video Part 2

Page Speed

Performance Culture with Paul Lewis at Google I/O

With the rising tide of mobile traffic, we need to adapt our company cultures to prioritize the UX of the mobile user. What is the best way to excite your colleagues to meet your enthusiasm for delivering a quick and responsive experience on the mobile web? We explored how to curate a culture of performance internally. We can be deliberate about performance and mobile web, make smart use of performance monitoring tools, and cultivate a social atmosphere of collaboratively improving performance for our mobile users. Video

Designing for Performance

This talk focused on performance from a designer's and front end developer's perspective, including the basics of page speed, optimizing HTML, CSS and images, and implementing responsive design with an eye on performance. Iterations of this talk have been given at the Women Who Code NYC Meetup, NY Web Performance Meetup, Fluent Conference and the Fluent Online Conference.

Front End Performance series (O'Reilly Programming Blog)

In this series of posts, I focus on the basics for optimizing the number and size of requests it takes to load your site quickly. As you build out sites, sometimes you'll make choices that favor page load time, other times you'll make choices that favor aesthetics. The key is to always be thinking in terms of user experience–including performance–and what will have the biggest impact for your site. The first two articles were also cross-posted on Forbes Technology (1, 2).

Improving UX Through Front-End Performance (A List Apart)

In this front-end performance 101, I walk through designing and coding for performance, focusing on optimizing requests and how to measure the results.

Mobile Web

Mobile Performance: All Questions Answered at Velocity Santa Clara

I participated in a panel with Lyza Gardner, Tammy Everts, and Guy Podjarny on mobile performance. We covered emerging technology like SPDY, organizational change and the operational costs of mobile performance, page weight issues, and more. Video Part 1, Video Part 2

Mobile Web at 200OK and IndustryConf

I spoke about the growing importance of building for mobile web as users may be on any device, platform or connection. I shared Etsy's approach, lessons learned and tips for growing a mobile web focus at your organization. Slides and Video from 200OK

Etsy's Device Lab

I share how we built Etsy's mobile device testing lab, complete with communication techniques, challenges like power supply, what we learned about how to make it intuitive for developers and designers to use, and pictures!

ShopTalkShow Interview

I had a blast talking with Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert on their podcast about front end web design, development and UX. We chatted about performance, conferences and good skill sets front end devs should have to get hired.

Complex table responsive design

I used nth-of-type:before and colspan*=x in media queries to creatively display table headers and context on smaller screen sizes in this responsive web design technique.

Data Driven

A/B Testing at edUi

A/B testing is vital for website designers and developers to help them learn more about their user base. In this presentation, I discussed how to analyze user interactions with your website and how to design and give sample tests. I also shared valuable tips, including how to determine the differences in behavior between audience segments. View slides and resources or watch the presentation

A Primer on A/B Testing (A List Apart)

Data is an invaluable tool for web designers who are making decisions about the user experience. A/B tests, or split tests, are one of the easiest ways to measure the effect of different design, content, or functionality. A/B tests allow you to create high-performing user experience elements that you can implement across your site. This article details techniques and examples to help get you started.

Level Up Your Presentation

No matter what happens on your presentation day, you can be prepared, stress-free and engaging. Your talk may resonate with others not in attendance on gameday, enabling a broader resource with a long tail. Quantitatively measure which parts of your presentation resonated the most with your audience.

Improve UX By Tracking Errors (Smashing Magazine)

Tracking and optimizing error messages will help you measurably improve your website's UX. I detail implementation, data gathering and analysis to help you figure out how to improve your error message drop rates. This article was also included in the book UX Practical Techniques.