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Sustainability and Web Design

As agencies look to reduce their carbon impact following the AA's Ad Net Zero initiative, Callum McPhillips at the7stars looks at some of the best steps to take when designing your website and how to affect change in digital advertising more broadly

Sustainability and Web Design

When it comes to Web Design, sustainability isn’t a factor many consider. But the truth is, the way your website looks and functions impacts our environment. Whether it is hi-res images slowing load speeds, fancy fonts people struggle to read, or an overload of unnecessary content, all it takes is some TLC to make your website eco and user friendly.

Before I go any further - full disclosure, the7stars website isn’t there yet, but we are getting our house in order and our eco version will be up and running soon, so watch this space!

Why should agencies and advertisers care?

The Advertising Association (AA), in partnership with the IPA and ISBA, has launched Ad Net Zero, an industry-wide initiative to help UK advertising to reduce the carbon impact of developing, producing and running advertising to real net zero by end 2030. It’s fair to say that most agencies are looking at how to affect change in this area. 

Digital advertising is fuelled by results. Often, successful campaigns have negative impacts on our environment. By driving interest and traffic to client websites we are also increasing global data consumption.

And beyond our industry, the internet is becoming more and more prominent in our everyday life. With websites getting bigger and the metaverse just around the corner, data consumption and digital ad spend is set to keep rising.

This is why it’s important to set the standard now, by optimising our own websites and offering this to clients too.

Impact on the environment and user

Data centres consume the same amount of global energy (1.4%) as countries like Spain and Australia. Global computing is responsible for 3.9% of annual global emissions. In comparison, aviation contributes 2.1%, and the UK 1%.

As well as these figures sounding alarming for our environment, they can also affect SEO. Optimising and streamlining your website can improve performance, UX, CTR, accessibility and even conversion rates. These are ‘core web vitals’ which users and search engines will appreciate. These changes can also reduce carbon emissions, hosting costs and site maintenance.

How to make your website more eco and user-friendly

Remove unnecessary images from your website to shorten loads times and reduce how much data your website uses. With any images you’d like to keep, you can compress these to reduce their file size without effecting their quality. Even blurring the sides of the images or making them black and white can significantly reduce memory usage.

Replace images with icons because they use much less data. Removing unnecessary layers on icons can further reduce their memory usage. You can also easily edit icons into your brand colours, so they look at home on your website. System fonts like Times New Roman, Arial and Tahoma, are also zero waste.

Remove auto play from videos because as well as being terrible for the environment, they also annoy your users. Videos use lots more data than images, and as you can’t stop them from playing, every time a user visits the webpage, more unnecessary data is consumed.

Getting rid of any tracking you aren’t using not only does this reduce the data, but it also improves privacy for your users.

Carry out a content audit of your website to give you an understanding of what blogs your website already has. So rather than creating new content, you can reuse and recycle existing pieces. You can also combine blog posts that are too similar. Fewer web pages = less data and quicker loading speeds. A streamlined content structure for your website can also improve traffic, as it helps search engines and new users to find your website.

With the world becoming more digitised and data-driven day-by-day, it's important we all do our bit for the environment and our users.


view more - The Sustainability Channel
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the7stars, Thu, 19 May 2022 09:22:04 GMT