A new year, a new sustainable web design blog

First real posting this year! Resolutions include:

Getting “Green Boilerplate” done. I have done lots of work on the project at http://www.greenboilerplate.com, but still a few iterations away from alpha. In particular, creating a build system that could be handled by non-hardcore programmers is taking some effort. For now, the site is a placeholder, but mayhaps there will be something by the end of the first quarter.

Getting a Sustainable Virtual Design Meetup started in Los Angeles. I created a Meetup group at http://www.meetup.com/sustainablewebdesign/, but haven’t had the time to get a meeting running. Another project for this year!

Nice to see in the new year that other sites are taking up the cause for “Sustainable Virtual Design”. Here’s a recent one:

Sustainable Web Design: A Blog Series | Mightybytes

Mightybytes announces a new blog series about sustainable web design, which will help you create a greener, cleaner web. www.mightybytes.com/blog/entry/sustainable-web-design/

I’m really looking forward to this, since my discussions on this blog are mostly theoretical, created in academic musings (I’m an interactive/web design, programming and UX instructor). The last time I was making the majority of my $$ from gigs was the early 2000s, before web sustainability was really an issue.

And from Performance Calendar, we have a discussion of “progressive” JPEGs which goes beyond Web Performance and adds in User experience – exactly demonstrating when efficiency becomes sustainability:


There’s a very nice discussion about the merits of progressively compressived JPEGs, which then considers their rendering in different browsers, and the resulting change in user experience. Then, a discussion of page efficiency. This article would be a good one for citing progressive JPEGs in a larger “Sustainability Deliverable”.

In other searching over the break, I found that the domain sustainablewebdesign.com finally has a site! Fortunately for the Sustainable Virtual Design community, it devoted to standards-based website creation, pitched to the mass of web designers and developers (read bloggers) who don’t work where they have a WPO specialist or Site Engineer.

An introduction to standards-based Web design, this book treats creating a website from the point of view of the writer, focusing on writing concerns and how they fit with the technological challenges of the Web. Readers will learn about the reasons for writing on the Web; the challenges of writing there; and, the solid, but flexible construction of individual pages. The focus is on building websites that can grow, including sites built around the popular, open-source WordPress blogging system.



This is the companion site for the actual book site, from Greenwood press, at:


Here’s I’ve listed a few of my favorite sites from last year. The list is not comprehensive, so if you’re not there, drop me a line. Remember we’re not talking about sites that use the web to promote green messages. Instead, we are talking about sites which were designed and programming following green principles. There’s a real difference. It goes beyond Responsive Design, Progressive Enhancement, and folds in Inclusive Design to create a meta-strategy for building on the web.

Yoke’s discussion of sustainable web design




Avtec Media’s sustainability statement




Zoo Media’s discussion of Sustainable Web Design


This one is new in my list, and their definition is soooo cool that I quote it below:

Sustainable website design follows the same principles as any sustainably designed structure. It considers the design’s ultimate impact in order to create websites that are functional and accessible, yet also easy to maintain and manage in the long run. It focuses on keeping websites open to everyone, so no matter what type of browser or device you’re using, you can still enjoy complete functionality.

Iowa State – nice to see it in academics!


Graham Jones Commentary




And here’s a recap of my articles from last year. A few more should be out quite early in 2013:

Inspired Magazine


.Net Magazine


What’s neat to see here is that Google searches are starting to treat “sustainable web design” as a category – all the major links are coming up in a group now. This can only be good for spreading the word. Even Inhabitat, the monster carbon footprint winner from last year, is there(!)

2013 may be the year when Sustainable Virtual Design is recognized as a significant component of web design and development. I’ll be shamelessly plugging the idea – feel free to comment and contribute here!

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