There’s a need to reconnect the digital to the physical, from minerals and energy to the physical infrastructure that powers the internet. We have to repurpose our digital design processes to consider and reflect these ecological needs, instead of optimising only for business and growth objectives, to achieve more transactions, interactions and attention.
One of the ways we can do this is by lowering the energy demand of the digital products and services we’re designing, making it more accessible to people with slower internet connections or on older devices. For Branch we wanted to design something that still looked designed, and worked at a low bandwidth environment, but didn’t end up looking too anodyne.
The web is currently unsustainable, but we have a lot of ways to improve the way we create digital services. All people working in tech can do something—and we have to. It might also challenge how we think about accessibility, personal data and business models.
A new software practice is emerging: sustainable engineering. It extends the responsibility of software engineering beyond a technical and operational scope and into an environmental one. However, it’s not always easy to draw a line between the code we write and sustainability goals like those announced by the Big 3 cloud providers—Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.Bill Johnson explores how software engineers can better ask what it take to maintain a system.
Organic Basics is a sustainable apparel company based in Copenhagen. Earlier this year, they launched a low-impact version of their website that reduces data transfer by up to 70% compared to their regular website. The team’s Head of Tech, Jesper Hyldahl Fogh, shares how the idea for this website came about and what they are learning.
In the mid-2000’s Vineeta and Tom Greenwood launched Wholegrain Digital, a design agency that aims to be a truly sustainable business. As part of their digital technology practice, they contributed to the Sustainable Web Manifesto. This is what they learned from running a business by the manifesto’s principles.