Sustainable Web Design

Resources for building a cleaner, greener internet

6th

If the internet was a 
country, it would rank
 sixth for electricity usage Source

13%

13% of energy in the US comes from renewable sources Source

830M

830 M tons is the current size of the internet's annual carbon footprint Source

Designing for Sustainability Book Cover

Building a web or mobile app? Read Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services now available from O’Reilly Media.

The Building Blocks of Sustainable Web Design

According to the March 1, 2015 run of the HTTP Archive, the average web page is now over 2 megabytes (2008 kb, to be precise). Bloated websites lead to slow load times, frustrated users and wasted energy. Mightybytes has identified four key areas where sustainability principles can be applied to the process of creating websites that are speedy, user-friendly and energy-efficient.

1 Findability

The easier content is to find, the fewer pages a user has to load to locate information. This means fewer server requests are made and that unnecessary page elements — like photos and videos, which take up a lot of bandwidth — don’t load, either. These small energy savings accumulate over time.

2 Performance Optimization

Sustainability and page speed go hand-in-hand. When your website runs more efficiently, you use less processing power, which means that your site uses less energy and will have a lower carbon footprint. Your customers expect to get the content they want instantaneously, and efficient pages load more quickly, reducing your site's bounce rate and keeping customers engaged and satisfied.

3 Design & User Experience

Sustainable design is design that is efficient and accessible. Creating good experiences for both mobile and desktop users improves accessibility because it makes it easy for people to access your site no matter what hardware they have. Mobile-first web design also helps you avoid loading large assets designed for desktop machines, which improves your site's speed and energy efficiency.

4 Green Hosting

The servers that store the files that make up web pages require power 24 hours a day, so the single most impactful thing you can do to move toward a more sustainable website is use a hosting provider that runs on 100% renewable energy.

Find out how green your site is with Ecograder

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