There have been a LOT of descriptions of “how to do sustainable web” over the years, mine included, some easier to read and use than others.
- Some are essays, like Tim Frick’s recent update of Sustainable Website Design on MightyBytes.
- Some are manifestos e.g. the Sustainable Web Manifesto.
- and some are HowTos and portals, like the Sustainable Web Design and the EU Guide to Sustainable Digital Services.
However, none of these websites follow a simple problem-solution description. While they discuss sustainability at a high level, or list the ideas and theories, they don’t simply organize their information so a practicing designer or UXer could quickly incorporate their ideas with a short read. This isn’t because designers suffer from the bogus reports of ever-shorter attention spans (though increasingly shallow thinking may be a reality for hyperconnected users). It’s because modern web, app, XR and IoT design have ever-greater volumes of information associated with them.
Enter a great new site from Gerrit Schuster which summarizes most of the common techniques needed to create and improve sustainable websites,
https://nachhaltiges-webdesign.jetzt/ (note: don’t use sustainable-webdesign.jetzt)
The beauty of this site is that it is organized along sustainable information architecture principles.
The home page organizes the main topics provides a summary of positive vs. negative – addressing the problem of sustainability.
The remaining part of the page organizes the solutions, and provides greaterdetail for each class of sustainability principles. Both upstream (“questioning the business model”) and downstream WPO (“use caching techniques”) are addressed.
Each of the iconic cards leads to greater detail. A second, longer summary of what you can do, with a further list of specific actions you can take.
This is really great Information Architecture. Information Architecture, in my opinion, is a cornerstone of sustainability. I
Aside from sustainability, this site is a showcase for what good Information Architecture can accomplish. You really don’t need a bunch of bells and whistles to get your information across, nor do you need to be “entertained” to keep reading.
Gerrit’s site is exceptional in that it actually “walks the walk” for web sustainability – it has a footprint smaller than 96% of existing websites, according to Lighthouse (Chrome Extension). That’s better than this site (WordPress), and the other sites I cited earlier. I tried Gerrit’s site in EcoGrader, and it complained about not using shared resources (e.g. cloud version of jQuery), but this doesn’t seem like a big hit, since the other scores are so high. It also is low in findability – but it’s a new site, so no surprise there.
One unfortunate issue – the site lists an english-isized version of the actual domain server, which must be typed in German. If you type “sustainable-webdesign.jetzt” in, you will fail. You need to use the German. The translate option should not affect the URL listing at the top of the home page.
The only other thing I wish for here is some discussion on how to integrate sustainability into the early-stage documents provided to clients – project proposals, UX strategy, and the like. Also, “setting consistent sustainability metrics” like the Web Index (discussed at https://wordpress.com/post/sustainablevirtualdesign.wordpress.com/2090) would be a plus.
Right now, 10 years after I started writing about web sustainability, it still comes in as an afterthought – the web dev or SEO/WPO people design for sustainability. It remains more designer politics and posturing than action. It’s not mentioned or included for the client in documents.
With the renewed interest in sustainability in 2021, that’s a mistake.
And, if you need to direct a client or stakeholder to a “sustainable web” page while pushing a sustainable strategy, this is the site for you. Thanks, Gerrit!