New Ecograder Update Released

Posted by in Software Development, Sustainability

Ecograder graphics with icons representing various forms of data

Mightybytes just released another update to our free web sustainability tool, Ecograder, our second this year. Here’s what you can find in the new version.

As collective awareness of digital emissions and digital sustainability broadens, we need educational resources, tools, and standards, plus an army of dedicated digital professionals committed to key principles as outlined in:

Digital can play an important role in designing a better, more sustainable and equitable future, but only if we use it the right way. Our tool Ecograder is designed to help with one common component of the resources listed above: reducing the internet’s significant environmental impact. 

Here’s how the new Ecograder update makes that easier.

Ecograder 2022: Easier to Use and More Actionable

The first version of Ecograder, launched in 2013, didn’t have any admin or data sorting capabilities. This made it difficult to collect or analyze data on internet sustainability trends. It also made the tool unwieldy to manage and challenging to update. Plus, reports were simple and barely actionable. Over time, they became dated as well.

With our Earth Day 2022 release, we changed all that. Improved admin and measurement tools make Ecograder a better website carbon emissions reduction tool. Editable metrics, submetrics, and action text, plus a fully customizable scoring system, allow us to make updates on the fly and reweight the algorithm as we learn new things. This makes it easier for users to improve the environmental impact of their digital products and services over time. 

With this release, we not only improved on the Earth Day ‘22 release, but also made significant improvements both under the hood and in the user interface. Let’s take a look.

New Ecograder interface with icons representing emissions equivalency examples
A portion of the updated Ecograder interface with new emissions equivalency examples

New Interface and Features

Ecograder’s interface now features a better visual hierarchy that is easier to understand. New icons help users better visualize metrics and navigate reports. Plus, we added more emissions equivalency examples to help you better understand the potential environmental impact of your digital product or service.

Ecograder loading page that states "Communication tech will emit more carbon by 2025 than any country except China, India, and the United States."
A new loader includes useful statistics to view while reports run

Other interface improvements include better sharing capabilities, revised action text, and more actionable metrics. Plus, this version’s dark interface reduces electricity consumption.

Updated Algorithm

We also updated the scoring algorithm to provide more actionable insights, including:

New Metrics

A handful of new metrics increases the number of opportunities to improve your page. 

We also merged page performance and user experience categories in Ecograder’s scoring. Everything now lives under User Experience.

Ecograder's User Experience Category
We merged page performance and user experience categories in Ecograder’s scoring

Reweighted Scoring

We reweighted some of the metrics, so that they more accurately reflect impact on a page’s emissions. 

Some users may see a drop in their Ecograder score due to this. However, with the addition of more actionable insights, we hope you can more easily find a clear path to improving your pages. 

Rebuilt Back-End

Next, we restructured Ecograder’s database and how it tallies and stores information. Here’s what this means for users.

Improved Efficiency

We rebuilt the back-end to store data and load reports more efficiently, using less energy (and offering less wait time). We also created a simple, lightweight CMS to manage content pages.

Efficient Scalability

The rebuilt back-end allows us to efficiently manage Ecograder reporting, part of a more sustainable data strategy. A new reporting dashboard enables us to sort aggregated Ecograder data in a variety of ways, including:

  • Lowest Ecograder scores
  • Highest Ecograder scores
  • By metric
  • By C02 estimates

Also, long-term data are now stored as flat files. This allows us to leverage the most efficient, sustainable storage methods. Analytical traffic data is handled locally on the web server, reducing overhead traffic from visits.

Over time, this will help us more efficiently collect, manage, and analyze Ecograder data, which can be used for aggregate reporting.

Crawl Multiple URLs

In addition, Ecograder admins can run a single, shareable report on multiple URLs to display collective stats and help quickly identify a site’s greatest improvement opportunities. 

This is a feature that we’re working to refine before making it publicly available in early 2023. We’ll be looking for beta testers, so stay tuned if that is something that interests you.

Next Steps for Ecograder

Our goal has always been to make Ecograder a critical website performance and emissions management tool for organizations of any size. Growing interest in digital sustainability inspired us to rethink the value a tool like Ecograder might provide to impact-focused organizations and digital professionals who want to make a difference in their work. 

Mightybytes has always been committed to sustainability and creating public benefit through our work. Ecograder is just one tool that helps us put our philosophy that supports people, planet, and shared prosperity into practice. 

We hope you’ll give the new version a try and take steps to reduce your site’s energy consumption, joining us in addressing our global climate crisis. If you’d like to learn more about how to reach your organization’s impact goals, contact us today.

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Tim Frick founded Mightybytes in 1998 to help mission-driven organizations solve problems, amplify their impact, and meet business and marketing goals. He is the author of four books, including Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services from O'Reilly Media. Follow Tim on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.