Lara Callender Swanson

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

I co-founded So You're EnGAYged, a wedding resource for same-sex and allied couples. I champion page load time, experiment-driven design, and delivering a consistent experience to screens of all sizes. I curate (and contribute to) CSS3 Geometry.

In 2014, I'm speaking at Fluent, Velocity Santa Clara, Velocity NY, the NY Web Performance Meetup, IndustryConf and Breaking Development.

Designing for Performance Early ReleaseI'm also 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.

Page Speed

Design 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 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.

Case studies at WebPerfDays

I shared my case study on how cleaning HTML, CSS and images improved page load time on I discussed code reviews, how we benchmark and front-end techniques to improve page speed.

Front End Performance at Capital Camp

Learn how to improve your site's page load time (and UX!) by designing for performance, optimizing your markup and images, and convincing your clients or organization that improving page load time is important. Slides and more

Mobile Web

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 more

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.


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.