Sustainable web design, the key to better-optimised websites and the future of the online world.

Sustainability is a phenomenon concerned with protecting the planet and our futures, it is spreading into all business sectors including the website industry. The internet and cloud may seem like abstract notions where data can be sent around the world with a single click of a button. Just because our interactions online seem effortless does not mean they do not expend a big amount of energy and resources. The internet is estimated to use up between 84-143 gigawatts of electricity every year amounting to an excessive 6.2% of all electricity consumption which is further discussed here.
Therefore, it is important to be mindful and employ specific techniques to create eco-friendly websites that are optimised for efficient performance and to expend less resources.

Why is sustainability important?

A good definition for sustainability is “practice of using natural resources responsibly today, so they are available for future generations tomorrow”.
An increasing number of consumers make sustainability one of their key priorities when buying online. Making purchases from an eco-friendly website will give your business an extra edge over competition. Find out more on sustainability here.

Furthermore, sustainable web design is highly beneficial not only fir the planet but for website usability and SEO. A eco optimised website will perform better and faster giving a high quality user experience.

A sustainable website should be:

  • Efficient – use resources and energy responsibly
  • Effective – allow intended result to be reached without unneeded resource consumption
  • Clean – powered by renewable and clean energy
  • Accessible – easy to access by a wide audience
  • Usable – good and satisfying user experience

The principles of sustainable website design

There are a number of techniques which can be employed to build a sustainable, energy efficient website of the future.

Optimise website images

Images of high resolution look amazing on a website but they also take up a big portion of energy and lead to much slower load times. Inexperienced web masters may be tempted to use large images sometimes as large as 10MB, this is an easy trap to fall into as large images have better resolution. Though this will take up a large portion of server space, take longer to load and have a negative impact on SEO. Furthermore it will take up A LOT more energy which is bad sustainable design.
Ideally images should not exceed 250 kB and be less wherever possible. Optimised images will still look just as good if optimised correctly with the added benefits of good site performance.
Another important question to ask is: Does your site even need those images?
Images are crucial for communicating concepts and brand identity and are key to how professional a site looks. Though you may not need as many as you think, you could use illustrations or even shapes and design elements to retain your brand look and convey information more clearly. These will use up marginally smaller amounts of resources and still be effective.

Limited video usage

Videos take up large amounts of resources, much much more than images do; slowing down the performance of a website massively. Though videos are highly valuable when used in websites, they can be very informative and engaging for site users. Therefore you should definitely aim to include videos in your site but these should be limited in use. Strategically created and placed videos will be most effective and won’t slow site too much if implemented correctly. At Skype Designs we implement videos for companies seamlessly and without slowing their site down, to get further advice contact us now.

Clean your code up

As each website is built up of thousands of lines of code, inefficient and bulky code is inevitable. CSS for example can see much unneeded reloading where css styling for each page is loaded. This takes up more resources and is not good practise. You can go through code manually or use plugins software to speed up the process for you, online minified plugins are particularly helpful.

If you would like to build a sustainable website, we offer website design development and consultation services to help you go green and achieve your goals as soon as possible.
Contact us now to find out more.