31Jan 2022

What is Sustainable Web Design? How to Design Sustainable Websites?

Sustainable Web design is a more sustainable alternative to traditional web design.

Instead of using images and video that take more bandwidth to download, sustainable website designs use CSS for styling and animation instead of more bandwidth-intensive alternatives such as Flash or Java applets.

Sustainable websites are designed by focusing on the user experience so the site loads faster with less traffic which saves more money for both the user and the owner since they have lower electric bills from hosting companies.

What are the benefits of sustainable web design?

benefits-of-sustainable-web-design

Sustainable Web Design is a movement that seeks to create websites in such a way that they consider their impact on both user experience and environmental health.

The argument for sustainable web design is that our current models for creating websites may not be sustainable, with significant negative effects on the environment and human health, as well as implications for social justice.

Central to sustainable web design is a focus on a circular economy where there is no waste.

A sustainable website serves its intended purpose while minimizing harmful side effects on the environment and society.

There are two main goals that sustainable website designers work towards:

  • To create a better global community by helping people do their small part in making a difference immediately while waiting for larger changes.
  • To reduce costs on electricity bills for owners and users of sustainable websites by decreasing the amount of data required to be downloaded from a web host. Since sustainable websites reduce website traffic, companies/individuals hosting sustainable sites save a lot on electricity costs because sustainable websites don’t use as much bandwidth.

How does sustainable web design affect performance and user experience?

A sustainable website has been considered from every angle including color scheme, fast page load speed, reduced file sizes, and simplicity of the content on the webpage which results in sustainable web design that has an improved user experience.

A sustainable website will obviously be more environmentally friendly but sustainable websites are also more beneficial to the owner because they don’t use as much bandwidth/energy, making them cheaper for owners to host.

sustainable-web-design-example-lipton-green-tea
Example of a sustainable web design (source: lipton.com)

Most sustainable designs focus on sustainable alternatives rather than cutting down on use.

Rather than eliminating any colors or elements completely, for example, sustainable designers reduce their use while keeping them aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing usability due to their reduction in size.

To get rid of speed issues, the sustainable design uses faster server technology, less data traffic usage between different components of a website (such as pictures or text), and more responsive layouts that allow the site to load more quickly while using less bandwidth.

eco-friendly-website-report
Image source: thegreenwebfoundation.org

Ways that sustainable web design affects performance and user experience

Websites that are sustainable allow people to access content faster with less work on their end.

For example, most sustainable sites have no animated elements in them which makes it easier for people with disabilities to access content without any impediments.

sustainable-web-design-bear-grylls
Sustainable web design (image source: beargrylls.com)

Animated objects take longer to load whereas plain text is quicker when loading pages.

This is an advantage when taking our environment into consideration because less heat will be generated from hosting sustainable websites.

Sustainable web design makes sites faster while saving users time, energy, and money.

This is because sustainable sites contain fewer elements which make the page load faster since simple pages take less time to download than complex pages do.

Quicker browsing saves people time because they don’t have to wait as long for their computer/device to load content onto their screens (if they are using sustainable websites).

This means that sustainable websites save energy by not having to use excess power just for loading purposes when it could be saved for other uses such as running your home appliances or watching television at night instead of browsing the web.

Also, transitioning to sustainable webpage design will be cheaper in the long run compared with maintaining current designs.

Sustainable web designs are much simpler and contain less clutter

As they focus on content rather than having to include a lot of things that make the site visually appealing.

In fact, sustainable websites may not even have any buttons or graphics at all which will save money on development costs while simultaneously saving users time because they don’t have to spend time looking for information and processing images.

A sustainable website serves its intended purpose while minimizing harmful side effects on the environment and society.

There are two main goals that sustainable website designers work towards:

  • To create a better global community by helping people do their small part in making a difference immediately while waiting for larger changes;
  • To reduce costs associated with hosting such as electricity bills for owners and users by decreasing the amount of time it takes to load pages.

Sustainable web design is beneficial to everyone, including the site owners and its visitors.

The benefits include:

  • Helping save money by reducing their electricity bills/energy usage;
  • Providing faster download speeds than traditional websites which saves both the user’s time and money by not having to pay for excess bandwidth or power usage;
  • Creating an aesthetically pleasing experience for users because sustainable sites are clean with fewer elements, which creates a more organized aesthetic.

Sustainable web design also helps people learn about other cultures while browsing websites around yours.

This is because many sustainable websites will have information on how you can get involved in making your community more environmentally friendly or other specific cultural information that can be found in your area.

sustainable-web-design-ecoki
Image source: ecoki.com

Sustainable web design will benefit the business world by making it easier for companies to find potential customers

While saving costs associated with all of their current advertising methods.

Sustainable sites provide a way for businesses to advertise without spending money on paper products or printing flyers but instead using more green methods such as creating sustainable websites to reach out to potential customers.

How to design sustainable websites

Now that you have learned about the benefits of sustainable web design, how does one go about designing a website with these criteria?

Sustainable sites are clean, simple, and contain fewer elements which allow for fast loading times. Users shouldn’t have to search for long periods of time to find what they are looking for.

  • Sustainable web design follows the KISS principle which means “Keep it simple, stupid.” While designing a website with this mindset, you must know your site’s goal and only include things needed to accomplish that mission.
  • Social media is often used to spread messages far and wide but sustainable sites typically don’t use social media buttons to share their message. Instead of using this type of integration, sustainable websites usually list the link(s) that can be shared on other pages or ask visitors to copy and paste the URL (website address).
  • When it comes to images and videos, make sure you think about whether or not one is necessary before adding them to your page. For example, a picture is unnecessary if you’re just listing an address and phone number unless there’s something specific about the business that needs to be included.
  • A bio is not necessary for every website but it is sometimes used by businesses to describe their products or services and why visitors should choose them over other options. Minimalist web design leaves room for these types of descriptions without cluttering up pages with unnecessary information.
  • It’s important to note that responsive sites are more sustainable than non-adaptive websites because they aim to help people use less energy by making sure they don’t have to zoom in and out on screens.
  • A minimalistic design also helps the environment by cutting down on paper usage and disposable products such as paper towels and tissues that companies use in office spaces daily.

Examples of successful sustainable web designs

With a better understanding of sustainable design, it’s time to look at some examples of how companies use it in the real world.

  • The Google homepage is an example of minimalistic sustainable design because its only purpose is to provide people with information and tools they need to help them find what they are looking for online. It doesn’t have a bio or social media section which means the site only contains content that helps achieve this goal.

    google-home-page-eco-friendly-page-example

  • The Amazon website is another example of successful sustainable web design because it has very few images and almost no visual distractions from searching for different products. This allows customers to easily search through items that interest them without having to read too much text or clicking on that may take them off-site.

    sustainable-web-design-amazon

  • Instagram is another example of a successful sustainable site because it runs on HTML 5 which means it uses fewer resources than other types of websites. It also includes very few images so people can see photos they are interested in without waiting long periods of time for a page to load or finding themselves distracted by unnecessary visuals.

    instagram-sustainable-web-design

Why you should consider a sustainable website in 2022

why-you-should-consider-sustainable-website

In the future, most communication will be done online; more people than ever will access their favorite websites via their smartphones and tablets.

If you don’t adapt to a sustainable design, your business will fall behind in this rapidly growing industry where more people are expected to go online every day.

Because Google rewards sites that work on new technologies with higher search engine rankings, you need to consider using sustainable website designs so your business has a better chance at making it on page one for any given search term.

Depending on what type of company you own or manage this means more people are likely to visit your business online and the high ranking may help you compete against larger companies in your industry.

Conclusions on sustainability in web design

As people gain more access to high-tech devices, the web will play an increasingly important role in their lives.

Sustainable website design is one way that businesses can prepare for the future because it uses cleaner technologies that are likely to increase your rankings on Google’s search engine results page (SERP).

Sustainable website design also improves performance by cutting down on Internet usage so websites load faster and last longer than sites designed with older technologies.

People who spend too much time waiting for pages to load or wasting precious bandwidth may grow tired of your site and go elsewhere.

If this happens enough times, you will lose customers or stop getting a potential new business which means falling short of your company goals.

If you’re not sure how to use sustainable web design just remember the five Rs:

  • Remove: Get rid of any unnecessary visual distractions and text. This includes ads and calls to action because these features can distract people from finding what they need by creating an eyesore or confusing them with information overload.
  • Reduce: Limit the number of images you use because too many visuals can slow down a website by making it load slower and use more bandwidth. Think about using CSS spriting for image optimization because this type of file organization gives you the freedom to include as many images as needed without sacrificing usability or performance.
  • Reflect: Design your website so people can easily find what they are looking for by giving them the tools they need to do so such as a search engine-friendly site map and website navigation menu.
  • Reuse: Use HTML5 coding to make your site run faster because it eliminates the need for plug-ins that can bog down performance. Rather than having photos downloaded one by one as people browse through them, use CSS sprites that combine many images into one file so they load simultaneously which makes sites seem more interactive and fun to look at.
  • Recycle: When you create an energy-efficient website, you can be proud of your willingness to help out the planet while also improving business efficiency and profitability.

Acodez is one of the best UX design agencies in India. The latest technology trends of website design are followed to provide the clients with the best web services to provide a better UX design experience to the users. This, in turn, has helped the organizations get better returns on their investment.

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Rajeesh PK

Rajeesh PK

Rajeesh P.K. is the Director and Creative Head at Acodez . With an experience of 10+ years in UX Design & User Interface Design, when coupled with his expert coding skills in HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript, makes him one of the top UX Architects in India, with more than 15 international awards to his credit.

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