Considering a Greener Outlook on Design

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I have recently read an article on sustainable web design, and I didnt realize just how much of a carbon footprint websites leave on the earth. In relation to the article, I also realize that as graphic designers we have a responsibility to be aware of how much energy were using in our designs. The problem in today’s webdesigning is that clients demand many features and large images for their websites, which adds up to huge amounts of data for a single webpage. Graphic designers need to set a page size budget, and stick to it, if they want to keep their webpage’s carbon footprint at a minimum.

Simple little changes to how we design and produce a webpage can really add up. You can still serve your client’s business purposes by using lighter weight features, such as still images instead of video, and text instead of images. We also need to make sure our images are properly optimized; incorrect formatting and improper sizes are costly in data. Compressing downloads and combining files can reduce data, and increase the page speed of your site.

So why should designers care about any of this? Because we are responsible, as webdesigners, for how much energy our website uses. The internet produces 830 million tons of CO2, and is set to double in the near future. Rotating carousels and high-res images take up unecessary energy costs that can easily be fixed with smaller, simpler design approaches. Bringing down the internets carbon emissions will have a positive effect on Earth’s climate as well. The internet itself already has a positive effect; online communication reduces business travel and homesharing is more efficient then staying at a hotel.

However, we need to be careful about how much we use the interent. Applying these simple changes in our design work can easily decrease the internet’s carbon footprint, and it has benefits. Smaller website have faster page speeds, convert easier, and have better SEO. When it comes down to it, designers have the power to create and change the world, and that is a responsibility we have to be aware of and take seriously in our work.

Here is link to the article that inspired me: http://alistapart.com/article/sustainable-web-design

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