Designing for Sustainability: Create More People- and Planet-Friendly Digital Products

Posted by in Business Strategy, Design, Sustainability, UX Design

In Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services from O’Reilly Media, Tim Frick shows you how to apply sustainable design practices to the creation and optimization of digital products and services that are both people- and planet-friendly.

People-friendly digital products and services are often more planet-friendly as well. That’s because the faster you get users to the content they need, the less energy is used. And our websites and mobile apps use a lot of energy. In fact, the internet is well on its way to being the largest source of carbon emissions in the world.

According to Greenpeace, if it were a country, the internet would be the sixth largest user of electricity behind China, the U.S., Japan, India, and Russia. And very little of that electricity comes from renewable sources. However, this is something we can fix.

By applying sustainable web design practices to the process of building digital products and services, we can significantly reduce the impact our websites, mobile apps, and digital media have on the planet while also making them more efficient, user-friendly, and engaging in the process. 

A Sustainable Digital Design Framework

Like our sustainable web design site, the book outlines a sustainability framework with four categories:

  1. Content findability: How quickly can users find relevant content?
  2. User experience: How efficiently can users accomplish tasks? How might a digital product help them make more sustainable choices?
  3. Performance: How quickly do assets download to an end user’s device?
  4. Hosting: Are the servers that host and distribute your data powered by renewable energy?

Throughout its eight chapters, Designing for Sustainability offers techniques for creating more user-friendly and efficient digital solutions that are powered by renewable energy. Each chapter outlines a set of practices to try on your own projects and ends with a specific list of action items you can take to bring sustainable design to your own work.

Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services is available through most major booksellers.

Don’t want to commit to a book but still interested in making your website faster and more sustainable? Check out the new version of Ecograder below.

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