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Sustainability and Web Design

When it comes to Web Design, sustainability isn’t a factor many consider but the truth is, the way your website looks and functions impacts our environment. Whether its hi-res images slowing load speeds, fancy fonts people struggle to read or an overload of unnecessary content, all it takes is some TLC to make your website eco & user friendly. 

Data centres consume the same amount of global energy (1.4%) as countries like Spain and Australia. Global computing is responsible for 3.9% of annual global emissions. In comparison, aviation contributes 2.1% and the UK 1%. 

As well as these figures sounding alarming for our environment, they can also affect your user’s experience when browsing your website. Sites that use a lot of data can be slow and inefficient. Optimising your website can improve performance, UX and accessibility, in addition to reducing carbon emissions, hosting costs and site maintenance. 

Removing unnecessary images from your website can shorten load times for your users and reduce how much data your website uses. With any images you’d like to keep, you can compress these to reduce their file size without affecting their quality. Even blurring the sides of the images or making them black and white can significantly reduce memory usage. 

Replacing images with icons is also beneficial to the environment and user, as they use much less data than images. Removing unnecessary layers on icons can reduce their memory usage even more. You can also easily edit icons into your brand colours, so they look just at home on your website. System fonts like Times New Roman, Arial and Tahoma are also zero waste. 

As well as annoying your users, autoplay videos are terrible for the environment. Videos use a lot more data than images and, as you can’t stop them from playing, every time a user visits the webpage, more unnecessary data is consumed. 

You can also help your users and the environment by getting rid of any tracking you aren’t using. Not only does this use less data, but it also improves privacy for your users. 

Carrying out a content audit for your website can give you an understanding of what blogs your website already has. So rather than creating new content, you can reuse and recycle existing pieces. You can also combine blog posts that are too similar. Fewer web pages = less data and quicker loading speeds. A streamlined content structure for your website can also improve traffic, as it helps search engines and new users to find your website. 

With the world becoming more digitised and data-driven day by day, it's important we all do our bit for the environment and our users.