What Is Sustainability In Web Design?

What is sustainability in web design?

What is sustainability in web design? - A Coconut Design article

Have you heard of sustainable web design? If you have, great! And if you haven’t, please don’t worry. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about making your website more eco-friendly!

So, What Is Sustainability?

According to UCLA, sustainability is defined as: “the integration of environmental health, social equity and economic vitality, in order to create thriving, healthy, diverse and resilient communities for this generation and generations to come.”

In other words, it fulfils the needs of current generations, without compromising the needs of future generations. It’s a beautiful concept, isn’t it?
Unlike a few years back, consumers & business owners are now finding more and more ways to be sustainable throughout all aspects of life. As well as using less plastic and reducing waste, brands can now do their bit for the planet by simply creating a “greener website”. Keep reading as we reveal all the ins & outs of sustainable web design.

What Is Web Design?

Our favourite way to describe web design is that “it creates the overall look and feel when you’re using a website.” This definition emphasises the value of the actual “feeling,” demonstrating that it is not just about the graphics. 

At Coconut Design, we believe that this “feeling” is something that the website owner or creator can influence. Without provoking some sort of emotion, a website would be just a bunch of information. Ultimately, this means It would be difficult to remember and wouldn’t really encourage any action (AKA, a bad bounce rate).

Now that we’ve addressed the basics, let’s get on with the fun stuff (at least we think it is anyways 🌱)

Why Is Sustainability Important When It Comes to Web Design?

According to Internet World Stats, there are approximately 1.8 billion websites running online, drawing in over 4 billion daily visitors. This is A LOT and definitely requires a huge amount of energy. 

The use of the internet alone causes emissions of approximately 2,330,041 tons of CO2 and consumes 2,339,400 MWh of electricity every day. In simpler terms, if the internet were a country, it would be the 7th largest CO2 emissions polluter in the world, making up 4% of all greenhouse gases. Scary, right?

The good news is that we can ALL do our bit to help. No matter how small your business is, always remember that you have the ability to make a difference.

So, How Can We Make a Website More Sustainable?

We must now address the question: “How can we lower a website’s energy consumption, in order to be more environmentally friendly?” Well, simply put, this is achieved by reducing the size of a website, and the loading times of individual pages.

Some may argue that by this point, all we need to do is create a smaller and faster website. However, let’s not forget about the previously mentioned “feeling”. Because at the end of the day, that is what converts.

Think about it – what is the point of having a website which simply doesn’t encourage action? I mean, wouldn’t that actually be a waste of energy? YES!

Subsequently, when creating a sustainable website, our task is to find a balance between our goals and the environmental impact/energy caused by the tools used.

And with that being said, we’ve just arrived at our next part: balance.

How Can We Find Balance Between a Sustainable Website & One Which Converts?

As with sustainability in all areas, it is not about being “perfect”. It is about making a difference and reducing the amount of energy that we would use without these methods. Some of our favourite ways to create a sustainable and effective website are:

  • Optimise Images
  • Reduce unnecessary tools such as maps (if you’re website genuinely doesn’t need them)
  • Remove flashy visuals such as gifs
  • Use eco-friendly fonts
  • Create a smooth & straight-forward user-journey
  • Use video sparingly
  • Use clear CTAs which encourage users to take action

Obviously, not every website visit results in a purchase, call, or other action, but it is crucial to test what is most effective for you and to make wise use of your online resources. The most important thing to remember, is that the smallest steps can make the biggest impact.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, why not visit our recent blog “Can Sustainable Websites Be Effective” ?
Alternatively, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about sustainable web design, or any other services.