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How to create a Sustainable Web Design?

Internet and environmental harm are the two terms that do not seem to go along. You may have never heard them in the same sentence ever, but the reality is quite different. The Internet is one of the leading causes of CO2 emission. Not many people think that the global use of the Internet could bring such drastic consequences to our mother nature. Every click, every server, and every site on the Internet emits CO2. If the Internet were a country, it would have been the 7th largest polluter. 

It is rightfully very worrying, considering that our country has been facing major repercussions because of global warming. So many people have lost their lives, millions of worth of property damage, shortages of food crops, and so much more; therefore, we should take every step possible to minimize the CO2 emission. 

Since more and more people are joining the Internet per annum, heavy resources are incorporated, which means more carbon is burning. Hence we need to take some immediate steps. In this article, we will focus on how to create a sustainable web design.

 

What do we mean by Sustainable Web Design?

A sustainable web design means an environment-friendly design that ensures as little CO2 emission as possible. Following are the areas which make up a sustainable web design:

 

Design

The design and the content of your website is the most significant element because all the developers struggle hard to create new designs by using different features, tools, images, videos, audio, etc. But these varieties of features take a toll on carbon efficiency because they need a lot of energy to load. Therefore, we should be wise when choosing imagery for our website. Do not put unnecessary imagery, as it will not only be efficient for the environment but will be more accessible as well. 

What else can you do? You should also set a limit on page weight to minimize the use of energy required to load them. Use energy-efficient colors for your website. As blue pixels require 25% more energy than red and green pixels; therefore go for darker colors. They will illuminate your page more. Reduce the time a user spends online searching for the needed information by reducing the number of pages and providing brief and precise information. Avoid custom fonts because they increase the site’s weight and hence require more energy and more time to load.

Marketing

You might wonder what the relation is between marketing and carbon emission, but there is. Marketing and the content used to do it requires a lot of energy, thus emitting a lot of Carbon dioxide. Henceforth, it would be best if you opted for a more innovative approach to marketing to reduce the overall load on the Internet. Prioritizing quality over quantity, SEO practices, smart 404 pages, redirects, and intuitive information architecture can really pave the way toward efficiency. It will also help the audience in fetching more information in less time, making a good impression in their minds, hence improving your relationship with your client. Moreover, delete unnecessary and irrelevant data to reduce the waste over the web and make room for new content, also saving the clients’ time from navigating through un-useful information.

Development

The development of your website is as essential as the design. You should put equal, if not more, into your site’s sustainable development. For instance, avoid reinventing codes and creating bespoke processes for existing things. This will help in reducing unnecessary carbon emissions. So, try to create codes that can be used over and over again to make an efficient and commercially viable website. Open source groups let a large group of patrons work on a project which certainly ensures a streamlined performance.

Moreover, launching a small project and then upscaling it with time can reduce waste. And these open-source tools are as useful as bespoke equivalents. Developers can also use a modular code framework to reduce the carbon output because it will keep the size of the file minimum.

Hosting

 

The next and fairly important step is choosing your hosting partner. If your hosting partner does not believe in the same ideology as yours, then this is all futile. To find an eco-friendly hosting partner, you should get satisfying answers from them. 

  • The first very important question you should ask them is: What is their PUE rating? PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) is the amount of energy used on servers compared to other systems like cooling and lighting. The ideal score is 1. The lower the rating, the better it is. So, you should find a hosting partner with a lower PUE rating to maintain a sustainable website.
  • The next question is: Where is their data center located? It is common sense that the farther the data travels, the more energy it will use. For instance, if the larger part of your audience is from Lahore and the data center is based in Nevada, then it will utilize more energy as compared to the data center located in China. It will also help the site to load more quickly. 
  • Then ask: Is the server-side caching or static tech in place to minimize the server load? Cache memory keeps the CMS from having serve-ups every time the user visits the page, and this keeps the load minimum, which means less carbon emission. 
  • How are the data centers powered? Because the data centers require heavy resources to work, they emit a huge amount of CO2; therefore, you should look for a host which runs its data centers on renewable resources. 
  • Is the server stack based on open source? Using an open-source server can increase the speed and create an altogether positive impact on the server’s efficiency.
  • Do they take steps to stop unwanted bot traffic? When the server would not have to respond to the unwanted bot traffic, the energy consumption would be reduced; hence less carbon emission. 

Business Operations

Making the Internet an environment-friendly place involves all the processes taking place on it at all levels. It includes your business as well. From designing individual pages to senior-level executives’ behavior, start with the basic level. These steps will make it easier to control environmental hazards. 

Since the traffic on the Internet is growing day by day, everyone is a stakeholder; hence the responsibility lies on every individual’s shoulder to follow the steps to minimize CO2 emissions as much as possible. It does not mean stopping using the web, but using the ways which are efficient. Create sustainable web designs, reduce waste, and ask your hosting providers about their preventive methods to make the Internet greener, consequently making our Earth greener. 

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