One problem with Sustainable Web Design is that we don’t have numbers for the green-ness of particular libraries or strategies. We do have Web Performance (WPO) scores, which indicate that sites could be made more efficient. Based on what I’ve read in the WPO literature, a typical website might reduce its footprint by 2/3.
So, what would give us similar numbers for the web? We need a “green ingredients” or “sustainable virtual building materials” database for the web. This database could be checked against your web project, and the various libraries, tools, techniques, would be tested and give you a “sustainability score”. You might even get estimated “carbon footprint” for your current site. This could be a plug-in for web IDEs like Eclipse or Coda.
- Find similar libraries, e.g. JQuery versus Zepto, and try them in a project. Probably a “headless” browser plus code could create a testing platform. It would be very similar to performance-tester tools used to scale large websites. One might use YSlow, since its codebase is open-source to develop a tool like this.
- Make a website with JQuery, and then Zepto. This implies that both can be used in a similar way.
- Compute download size, change in page speed loading for JQuery vs Zepto.
- Do it for lots of web pages of varying complexity.
- Store “before” and “after” scores in subscription database.
- Database could be accessed by a “plug-in” in an IDE like Coda by people with a subscription to the database. A panel would provide a real-time estimate of the current carbon footprint as a designer works.
- Design a website with bitmaps
- Test page speed
- Replace bitmaps with font dingbats using CSS. Use @font-face for foreground, SVG “vector sprites” for background CSS.
- Test Page speed and download size again
- Also test overall site performance in something like Google Webmaster Tools
- Calculate the increase in performance
- Do this for several sites to get an average
- Store in subscription database