The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

Going to Velocity Santa Clara? Here are 11 talks you should check out

Velocity is my favorite tech event of the year. For me, it always feels a little bit like a conference and a lot like summer camp for performance geeks — meeting up with old friends, making new ones, learning a lot, and having fun. All that’s missing are the s’mores and open fires. (Maybe next year?)

This is my first time representing SOASTA at Velocity, and we’ve got a jam-packed schedule — too jam-packed for me to list everything here, so instead I’ll direct you to the awesome microsite we created to round up everything we’re doing. (And if you still haven’t registered for Velocity, it’s not too late. We’re offering the best discount in town: 30% off if you use the coupon code SOASTA30 at checkout.)

It’s going to be a full week. Between co-presenting a 90-minute tutorial — Metrics, metrics everywhere (but where the heck do you start?) — with Cliff Crocker on Wednesday, hosting the case studies track on Thursday, helping unveil our super-secret new offering, and ducking out a bit early on Friday (to head home to celebrate my wedding anniversary), I’m not going to be able to hit all the talks I’d love to see.

But my loss doesn’t have to be yours. Here are some of my top picks, including talks from Tim Kadlec, Ilya Grigorik, and Steve Souders:

The performance and usability of font loading

Zach Leatherman (Filament Group)

The default loading behavior for web fonts, making the text invisible until the font files have successfully loaded, is harmful to a performance-focused website. In this talk we’ll learn a variety of methods to progressively render web fonts and show a fallback while the fonts are loading. We’ll also show techniques to group repaint of web fonts from fallback text to improve usability. More…

Bootstrapping a world-class Ops team

Charity Majors (Parse/Facebook)

How to hire and grow an amazing Ops team and build a great DevOps culture from the ground up. Covers interviewing techniques, cultural fit, first hires for a new team, and how to build a culture people love. More…

Design + performance

Steve Souders (SpeedCurve)

Users want a fast website with a rich design, but sometimes the interplay between design and performance feels like a fixed sum game: One side’s gain is the other side’s loss. Design and performance are indeed connected, but it’s more like the yin and yang. They aren’t opposing forces, but instead complement each other. Bringing these processes together produces experiences that are rich and fast. More…

What are third-party components doing to your site?

Andy Davies and Simon Hearne (NCC Group)

We increasingly rely on third-party scripts to deliver business-critical features of our sites, but do we understand the impact they’re having on our site’s performance and our business? In this session we’ll share the insights we’ve gained from analysing the impact third-party scripts have on the performance of our customers’ sites, the value they deliver, and how our clients manage them. More…

Visualizing performance data in engaging ways

Mark Zeman (SpeedCurve)

The way we visualize performance data can have an impact on how we interpret and communicate performance issues. Learn how data visualization can engage the team around you in meaningful conversations about performance. More…

What Ops can learn from design

Robert Treat (OmniTI)

If you think there’s a gap between Dev and Ops, Design must seem like it comes from another planet. But many of the core ideas behind design work are directly applicable to the world of Ops, especially given that running successful websites is no longer (just) about keeping servers up, but about designing human and technical systems that help enable people to achieve continuous operations. More…

Reaching everyone

Tim Kadlec (Akamai)

Mobile use continues to increase at an incredible rate, with much of that growth coming from emerging economies dominated by slow, intermittent connectivity and low-end devices. Tim will talk about the lessons learned trying to build a high-performant responsive site for Radio Free Europe that can reach everyone. More…

How to win arguments with performance data

Buddy Brewer (SOASTA)

In order to get what we want as performance experts, sometimes we have to see things from someone else’s perspective. In this talk Buddy will explore ways to use performance data to motivate diverse teams to care about speed. More…

The path to performance

Katie Kovalcin (Sparkbox)

Performance is a rising requirement for building successful websites, but successful performance begins far earlier than development. So how do you get your entire team excited by it, specifically aesthetic-heavy designers? More…

Yesterday’s perf best practices are today’s HTTP/2 anti-patterns

Ilya Grigorik (Google)

The limitations of HTTP/1.X forced us to develop various application workarounds to optimize performance, but in the process we’ve also introduced numerous regressions: poor caching, unnecessary downloads, delayed execution, and more. Well, good news, because HTTP/2 eliminates this tradeoff: we can eliminate the hacks, simplify our applications, and deliver improved performance! More…

Closing reception (sponsored by SOASTA)

I’m going to miss the closing reception in order to hustle home. Sadness. (Because it’s my wedding anniversary. Gladness.) Who wants my drink ticket?

If you see me at Velocity, please say hi! If not, look for my post-event recap of the conference highlights.

Tammy Everts

About the Author

Tammy Everts

Tammy has spent the past two decades obsessed with the many factors that go into creating the best possible user experience. As senior researcher and evangelist at SOASTA, she explores the intersection between web performance, UX, and business metrics. Tammy is a frequent speaker at events including IRCE, Summit, Velocity, and Smashing Conference. She is the author of 'Time Is Money: The Business Value of Web Performance' (O'Reilly, 2016).

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