Lara Callender Hogan

I'm a Senior Engineering Manager at Etsy and the author of Designing for Performance and Building a device lab. Follow me on Twitter, read my blog.

I champion performance as a part of the overall user experience, striking a balance between aesthetics and speed, and building performance into company culture. I also believe it's important to celebrate career achievements with donuts.

Designing for Performance

©2014, published by O'Reilly

Designing for PerformanceDesigning for Performance is a practical introduction to performance from a designer and front-end developer perspective. It covers performance as part of the overall user experience, how to measure the speed of your site, how to weigh aesthetics versus speed as you build or iterate on designs, and how to change the culture of your organization to care about performance.

The book is available to read for free at, but I'm also donating all of the proceeds from book purchases to various charities focused on supporting women and people of color in tech, including Girl Develop It, Women Who Code, Black Girls Code, #YesWeCode, Latinas in STEM, Hack the Hood, and DonorsChoose projects like Growing "Girls with Gadgets"! and Girls Can Code, Too!.

Building a device lab

©2015, published by Five Simple Steps

Building a device labBuilding a device lab covers how to build a device lab as a product for your coworkers to test their work on a spectrum of operating systems and versions. We also cover how to choose devices, organization and cabling, power supply troubleshooting, and tips for getting your users to use the lab considerately.

At Etsy, Destiny Montague and I built a device lab with 30+ devices and iterated upon the lab as we learned more about how developers and designers use it. Building upon our workshop, Destiny and I wrote this book to help others build out their labs as a product for their coworkers. It's available for purchase here.

Recent Work

ShopTalkShow podcast

I had a blast talking with Monika Piotrowicz, Chris Coyier, and Dave Rupert about career paths - where we started from doesn’t always equal where we’ve landed. Freelancer? Go to university or college? Find a mentor? It’s a common ShopTalk Show question and we did our best to answer from our experiences.

Helping VIPs Care About Performance (24 Ways)

“What metric(s) do your VIPs care about?” This question is often met with blank stares and raised eyebrows. But it’s also our biggest clue to what we need to do to help empower others to care about performance and work on it. Every organization and executive is different. This means that three major things vary: the primary metrics VIPs care about; the language they use about measuring success; and how change is enacted. By clueing in to these nuances within your organization, you can get a huge leg up on crafting a successful pitch about performance work.

An Event Apart Interview

An Event Apart’s Eric Meyer caught up with me to talk about some of my favorite tips, tools, and techniques, and to find out what attendees at An Event Apart Seattle and An Event Apart Boston can look forward to.

Performance: Showing Versus Telling (A List Apart)

Take your message to the next level. Help those around you feel the impact that performance has on your overall user experience. Showing is so much more compelling than telling; showcasing the real user experience is much more powerful than staring at numbers or bar charts. So how can we show performance? Use videos of your site loading, and wall monitors! This article shows you how.

The Pastry Box Project

I contributed a monthly article to The Pastry Box Project. My posts:

Image Formats - The Nerdy Parts

I presented my favorite parts about image formats (what may be called “the nerdy parts”, as if all of performance isn’t incredibly nerdy) at Etsy to the front end development team. Slides

Page Speed

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. I have given iterations of this talk at the various meetups, conferences, and companies.

Interviewed on The Path to Performance

The Path to Performance is a podcast dedicated to fostering a culture around web performance in organizations. Katie and Tim talk to guests who have successfully integrated performance as part of their culture and the benefits they have seen. I talk about how our team at Etsy works to help performance stay top of mind throughout the product development process, and how we celebrate performance wins. Audio and Transcript

Interviewed for Netmag Exchange

Net Magazine’s “Exchange” section includes practical advice from industry experts. I was invited to answer questions about performance in their April 2015 edition (pdf).

Designing for Performance: Can We Have it All?

Everyone wants sites that are responsive, beautiful, and fast. Do we need to make tradeoffs? And whose job is performance, anyway? In this event from February 26, 2015, A List Apart asked a panel of designers and developers from both in-house and agency teams to share their stories, strategies, and case studies. Watch the video or read the transcript here.

Product + Performance

Etsy’s Performance team gave this internal presentation to all the Product Managers at Etsy about how to incorporate performance into their product development cycles. Slides

Mobile Web

Building a Device Lab, the book

At Etsy, Destiny Montague and I built a device lab with 30+ devices and iterated upon the lab as we learned more about how developers and designers use it. Building upon our workshop, Destiny Montague and I wrote this book to help others build out their labs as a product for their coworkers. The ebook is available for purchase, with print available soon.

Building a Device Lab, a tutorial with Destiny Montague

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. We have presented this tutorial at Velocity Santa Clara, Velocity NY, and Velocity Barcelona. The book Building a device lab is forthcoming from Five Simple Steps, co-authored by Destiny and me.

Mobile Web at Etsy

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. I’ve given versions of this talk at at 200OK, IndustryConf, and Breaking Development.

Mobile web is not (just) a technical challenge

In this 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

Etsy's Device Lab (Code as Craft)

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!

« Older talks, articles and interviews