By Marie Coles
In this day and age, you’ve probably come across the term ‘sustainable design’. But what does it actually mean in terms of web design….
Sustainable design is a concept whereby something is built or created accordingly to sustainability principles that include economic, social and ecological sustainability. The ideal at the very heart of sustainability is building something that can be managed and continued in the long term.
Sustainable web design follows the same principles as any sustainable designed structure. It considers its impact economically, socially and ecologically in order to create websites that are functional but also are sustainable in the long run. It also aims to keep websites open to everyone, so no matter what age your computer is you can still access it.
The web is full of active and inactive website all taking up space on this large network. Inactive websites are actually a massive waste of space, which could be used for other long-lasting websites. It is neither the most efficient use of space nor the most sustainable, so it is recommended that once you give up on your web space that you render it completely inactive or sell the domain name on.
Sustainable web design looks at the impact of usage of space, which is key to not only sustainability, but to website traffic. Keeping a minimalist design for the page can be if done correctly aesthetically pleasing, thus enticing custom. Yet, a minimalist page can also be sustainable, simply because it is not bogged down by heavy picture files. This also makes it much faster for your users to navigate through the pages – which should be a top consideration for web designers. Another consideration for usage of space is file formats. Having a website with large uncompressed formats will make your website much slower to load, taking more energy and time, and also rendering it not as user friendly.
Another consideration sustainable web designers have incorporated in their design is the ability for other non-designers to change the design as they please. With multiple tools, add-ons and programs that now allow the non-designer to edit their website easily, it has become easier for businesses to manage their own websites and rid them of unnecessary files that clutter websites.
Sustainable web design negotiates any impact your website may have, making it more environmentally friendly as well as usable to those all over the world. Sustainable web design not only serves functionality but aesthetics too, as it incorporates a minimalist design approach which looks at the aesthetics of the greater whole, not just the components. This ‘green’ approach to design hopes to help to maintain websites in the long run by making them easier to use by businesses and the users.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+