Smashing Conf' San Francisco

April - Workshop month

During weeks, I went to workshops about user experience or front-end development… and I learned a lot !

Patty Toland

Smashing Conference - San Francisco 2016


As the numbers of people who access the internet continually grow, and the devices they use diversify, one thing is clear: speed and performance are a top priority. Despite this, the average web page size has more than tripled in the past 5 years, and many web techniques, platforms, tools and practices don’t seem to champion performance, or consider its implications. One of the biggest challenges, especially in the early days of mobile and responsive, was simply the absence of good information to build awareness about performance impacts. Luckily, our conversations about performance-related choices are getting better-informed: in the past few years especially, compelling tools and data are being shared that help us measure, track and understand the real state of performance and how it affects our audiences; and techniques are emerging to help make insightful and responsible design and coding choices.

Smashing Conference - San Francisco 2016


Patty Toland is the founder and a partner at Filament Group in Boston.

You can follow her on Twitter or see her at conferences all around the world.

Patty Toland

Patty Toland's conference


The conference talks about :

Make the web work for everyone

Web performance

Slide preview

I won’t speak about the conference content (you can watch it here)

My opinion

I really enjoyed this talk because Patty is a good speaker, who know perfectly her subject. I usually don’t like conference which topic is about my job especially when the conference is in a generic event about the web.

But I had already been seduced by Patty conference at the FrontendConf Zurich in 2015. Her approach and her ability are outstanding.

Although the examples given to illustrate her regularly from those data site or American studies, they are suitable and easily transferable in an European context, for example.

The example of the slide I’ve extracted is typically a case that a speaker could present in France with the difficulty of access to the web during business travel. Because yes, the Web performance is not just about developing countries but especially accentuated in affluent countries. The contrast is strong between technological advances and the lack of web performance mastery in any position.

Indeed, the SNCF in France, has always faced these user requests for access to a phone or wireless network especially for long trips. Network quality is also poor in stations and lead us to the question: why are we so behind this ?

The web performance suffers from the same problem as accessibility. Stereotypes come, all make the link between accessibility and handicapped people, poor neighborhoods and access performance.

Going further

I would add a review to conclude this article.

Indeed, during months and months in San Francisco, I’ve practised many formats of workshops and conferences, more or less adapted to my profile and my expectation. This review is a satire of those who are web professionals but whom fully discover whole sections of our job during these events. I would just like to express a request to them, can you learn to learn, by yourself and for yourself ?