* This presentation was written up in an article on UX Booth. Check it out here: http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/sustainable-design/. *
Folks like us who work in the digital realm don’t seem to have the same opportunities to fight climate change as our physically-oriented counterparts. Physical architects get to design LEED-certified green buildings. Industrial designers make appliances energy efficient, while car designers work with increasingly stringent emissions standards. What can your humble UX / IA / web designer do that can compare?
A motivated designer can make (mega)tons of difference. We touch the world both directly in our working practices and indirectly by how we shape behavior.
Firstly, a look at the sexy world of internet infrastructure – it’s a huge energy hog with a carbon footprint comparable to the aviation industry (think: 2.4bn users). How we host our sites has a direct impact on climate change. And switching from a coal-powered datacenter is easier than ever.
Secondly, design craft and kruft. Hefty data-rich sites use more energy, and somehow we’ve let the average web page size balloon to over 2.5MB. Leaner sites are greener sites. And design optimization has business and user experience benefits to boot.
Thirdly, design for intent. Can we help our users identify greener choices and help shift consumer behavior? (Yes, we can).
Lastly, tackling climate change begins in the home and office. Using a simple digital tool, attendees can quickly measure their professional carbon footprint and see opportunities to reduce.
This is a critical time for the climate. It’s more up to individuals than ever before. Come to this talk and get ready to roll up your sleeves.
James Christie has been designing for the web for 15 years. With careers in development, design, usability engineering and now user experience, James is well-qualified to talk about design and performance at the intersection of technology, design, and user empowerment. Currently a Senior Experience Designer for Mad*Pow, James has recently focused on helping companies manage the shift from desktop-centric to mobile and responsive cross-device design. A proponent of Lean practices like analytics-driven research, rapid iterative prototyping and guerrilla usability testing, James believes in a “just enough” approach to both process and design.