Many business owners are acutely aware of their impact on the environment. Commercial and industrial pollution is the number one cause of carbon emissions worldwide, and business people around the globe have decided to buck the trend and seek green solutions. As a result, there has been some recent hubbubs in the media surrounding the idea of sustainable website design.
However, as internet use has become more prevalent, the disastrous impact that our use and manipulation of the World Wide Web is having on the climate has become apparent. Servers, for instance, use a huge quantity of energy. Harnessing the internet without harming the planet sounds like the right way to go, but can it be done? How? This article takes a look at the emerging world of sustainable web design.
Less Code, Less Concern
The basic idea behind sustainable website design stems from what makes conventional web design so environmentally unfriendly – storage. Websites are built of code. The more code a website is built out of, the more storage that website will require to hold. The same applies to media that a website hosts – like video and audio files. Sustainable website design involves the paring down of unnecessary code and media.
Even the tiniest saving in code can prevent the release of tons of greenhouse gasses if a website or plugin is popular. Dutch designer Danny Van Kooten managed to reduce carbon emissions by 59 thousand kilograms by shaving just 20kb worth of code from his web design. In Kooten’s recent profiling by WIRED magazine, he described his cutting of extra code as the biggest thing he has been able to do for the environment – and one of the simplest.
It is all well and good talking about cutting down on code and media, but can a business website actually do a good job while being friendly to the earth? The answer is a resounding yes.
A good website designer will be able to make sustainable coding work for you. The old design acronym K.I.S.S has a chance to come into play. K.I.S.S stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Good design is often the most simplistic. In web design, user experience is often influenced by how simple a website design appears to be.
Interaction design is crucial to creating a simplistic and accessible user experience. By placing an impetus on the removal of extraneous code and media, simple and accessible design can be achieved simultaneously with sustainable design. Less can and should be more.
The Future of Web Design?
Human beings are running out of time to curb the extinction of life as we know it on earth. So, whether we like it or not, we will have to change our website design practices reflecting our dedication to the environment. Sustainable website design is likely to become an industry-standard in years to come. Hopping on this trend early will show your customers, clients, and collaborators that you are doing your small bit to curb excessive greenhouse gas emissions.