Today is Earth Day and a perfect time to publish this last in a series of posts about designing your next website with a focus on User Experience (UX 2022).
Environmental impact being a critical issue for everyone and every endeavor, it’s good to consider ways to mitigate any negative impact caused by our design choices.
Digital’s Huge Aggregate Impact
Computers don’t have exhaust pipes. So, sustainability isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when building a website. Yet, the collective impact of communication technology is substantial.
While the aggregate footprint of all computers is huge, an individual organization’s share is likely miniscule. So ignoring the problem may be tempting. Which would be a missed opportunity to be part of the solution and/or raise awareness and engagement on behalf of the environment.
Tiny and Incremental Steps
It’s true that your individual website generates a tiny negative footprint and any design choices you make will only help on the tiniest of margins. The reverse also is true. The impact of individual web design choices can add up to a substantially positive aggregated impact.
As a general design principle, eliminating “interaction friction” means fewer steps, smoother transitions and less computation, all leading to using less energy and generating less heat/friction.
The following are some choices you can make to reduce interaction friction:
- Think before you build. The best way to gain efficiency is to remove wasted steps in user interaction. Anticipate what a user wants from your website and then design those interactions to be as seamless and intuitive as possible.
- Use tight, clear copy to limit screen time
- Use images, video and animation to only when they add informational value and/or enhance User Experience
- Choose colors that use less electricity.
- Use a well-designed Content Management System. An easy and efficient process for content administrators reduces screen and processing time.
- Raise “carbon awareness” for your users.
- Search out and use “green” hosting platforms.
Be a Solution Minded Organization
From a cost perspective, building a new, greener website, or replacing the functionality in your current site just to make it more efficient will not save money. Typically, organizations rebuild a site every five years or so. If cost-saving is the objective, the next scheduled rebuild will be the best time to incorporate more Earth friendly design choices.
Beyond the material benefits, however, there is goodwill value in a greener website. Your Earth friendly design choices tell customers, employees and other stakeholders that your organization is both aware and part of the solution.
Just like tiny energy savings add up to a real impact, tiny individual efforts on behalf of the environment can add up to entire communities and societies that value the environment–when everyone does their part.
UX 2022 Series
In 2022, a good UX has become the standard for good website design. In this series, we’ve looked closely at important UX features, how they work, and how they can improve a website. All articles in this series can be accessed via the links below.
Core Web Vitals: Googles three essentials to user experience.
Thumbs Up! The ergonomics of great mobile UX.
Speed: Slow websites are quickly abandoned.More Ideas