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Popular Design News of the Week: May 3 2021 – May 9, 2021

Every day design fans submit incredible industry stories to our sister-site, Webdesigner News. Our colleagues sift through it, selecting the very best stories from the design, UX, tech, and development worlds and posting them live on the site.

The best way to keep up with the most important stories for web professionals is to subscribe to Webdesigner News or check out the site regularly. However, in case you missed a day this week, here’s a handy compilation of the top curated stories from the last seven days. Enjoy!

White House Launches AI Website

Become A Better Frontend Developer

Hello Weather

Sprint UI Design System Generator

How Pixar Uses Hyper-Colors to Hack Your Brain

Bootstrap 5

Microsoft’s New Font: Your Work Will Soon Take On A New Character

HTML Tips

Everything You Need to Know About UX Writing In Web Design

3 Essential Design Trends, May 2021

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Create Beautiful WordPress Pages with Optimized Images Using Elementor and ImageEngine

WordPress powers nearly 40% of all websites, thanks to its commitment to making publication possible for everyone, for free. Combined with premium plugins and themes, it’s possibly the ultimate tool for building attractive, unique, and feature-rich websites without any coding or design experience.

However, you do pay the price for this experience, with WordPress and its third-party products not always being built for performance – whether it’s page loading times or SEO.

Image optimization is a particularly big concern. Images are one, if not the largest, contributors to page weight, and it’s growing significantly by the year. So, while images are crucial for beautifying your website pages, they are also one of the biggest factors slowing it down.

In terms of image optimization, WordPress+Elementor brings very little to the table. WordPress core now comes with both responsive syntax and lazy-loading. Elementor itself also only comes with responsive syntax out-of-the-box. However, these are baseline techniques for image optimization that will deliver the bare minimum of improvements.

This means that, while Elementor makes it easy to design sweet-looking WordPress pages (with tonnes of creatively utilized images), you will probably pay the price when it comes to performance. But don’t worry. We will show you how to dramatically improve web performance by over 30 points on scoring tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insight

Why Optimize Your Elementor Images with ImageEngine?

In general, image CDNs use various techniques to get image payloads as small as possible and deliver image content faster, all while minimizing the visual impact. ImageEngine is no different in that regard.

Firstly, ImageEngine, when used in auto mode, will apply all of the following optimizations that web performance tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insight recommend. For example:

  • Properly size images – ImageEngine automatically resizes images for optimal size-to-quality ratios depending on the screen size of the user device. ImageEngine supports Retina devices.
  • Efficiently encode images – Applies different rates of compression depending on the PPI of the user devices. For example, ImageEngine adapts and more aggressively compresses on higher PPI devices without losing visual quality.
  • Next-gen format conversion – Automatically converts images to the optimal next-gen format according to the browser, device, or OS. ImageEngine can convert images to WebP or JPEG-2000 as well as GIFs to MP4 or WebP.  AVIF is also available in a manual directive mode.
  • Strip unnecessary metadata

While these features are standard for most image CDNs, ImageEngine is unique for its use of WURFL device detection. This gives ImageEngine much deeper insight into the user device accessing a website page and, by extension, its images. Using the screen size, resolution, PPI, etc., ImageEngine can make more intelligent decisions regarding how to reduce image payloads while maintaining visual quality.

This is why ImageEngine brands itself as an “intelligent, device-aware” image CDN and why it can reduce image payloads by as much as 80% (if not more).

ImageEngine also provides a proprietary CDN service to accelerate image delivery. The CDN consists of 20 globally positioned PoPs with the device-aware logic built-in. This allows you to deliver image content faster in different regions while also serving images straight from the cache with a ~98% hit ratio.

ImageEngine also supports Chrome’s save data setting. If someone has a slow connection or has activated this setting, ImageEngine will automatically compress image payloads even more, to provide a better user experience on slower connections.

How to Use ImageEngine with WordPress and Elementor

If you’re using WordPress and Elementor, then chances are you want to spend as little time on development and other technicalities as possible. Luckily, ImageEngine is a highly streamlined tool that requires little to no effort to integrate or maintain with a WordPress site.

Assuming you already have a WordPress website with Elementor, here are the step-by-step instructions to use ImageEngine:

  1. Go to ImageEngine.io and sign up for a 30-day free trial.
  2. Provide ImageEngine with the URL of the website you want to optimize.
  3. Create an account (or sign up with your existing Google, GitHub, or ScientiaMobile account).
  4. Provide ImageEngine with the current origin where your images are served from. If you upload images to your WordPress website as usual, then that means providing your WordPress website address again.
  5. Finally, ImageEngine will generate an ImageEngine delivery address for you from where your optimized images will be served. This typically takes the form of: {randomstring}.cdn.imgeng.in. You can change the delivery address to something more meaningful from the dashboard, such as myimages.cdn.imgeng.in.

Now, to set up ImageEngine on your WordPress website:

  1. Go to the WordPress dashboard and head to Plugins -> Add New.
  2. Search for the “Image CDN” plugin by ImageEngine. When you find it, install and activate the plugin.

  1. Go to Settings -> Image CDN. OK, so this is the ImageEngine plugin dashboard. To configure it, all you need to do is:

a. Copy the delivery address you got from ImageEngine above and paste it in the “Delivery Address” field.

b. Tick the “Enable ImageEngine” box.

That’s literally it. All images that you use on your WordPress/Elementor pages should now be served via the ImageEngine CDN already optimized. 

ImageEngine is largely a “set-it-and-forget-it” tool. It will provide the best results in auto mode with no user input. However, you can override some of ImageEngine’s settings from the dashboard or by using URL directives to manipulate images.

For example, you can resize an image to 300 px width and convert it to WebP by changing the src attribute like this:

<img src="https://myimages.cdn.imgeng.in/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/banner-logo.png?imgeng=/w_300/f_webp">

However, use this only when necessary, as doing so will limit ImageEngine’s adaptability under different conditions.

What Improvement Can You Expect?

Let’s see what results you can expect from using an image CDN to improve your page loading times.

For this, I created two identical WordPress pages using the Elementor theme. The one page purely relied on WordPress and Elementor, while I installed and set up ImageEngine for the other. The page had some galleries as well as full-size images:

The pages used many high-quality images, as you might expect to find on a professional photography gallery, photography blog, stock photo website, large e-commerce site, etc. I then ran page performance tests using Chrome’s built-in Lighthouse audit tool, choosing scores representing the average results I got for each page.

For thoroughness, I tested both the mobile and desktop performance. However, I focused on the mobile results as these showcase more of the image CDN’s responsive capabilities. Mobile traffic also accounts for the majority share of internet traffic and seems to be the focus for search engines going forward.

So, first of all, let’s see the mobile score for the page without ImageEngine:

As you can see, there was definitely a struggle to deliver the huge amount of image content. Google has shown that 53% of mobile users abandon a page that takes more than 3s to load. So, clearly, this page has major concerns when it comes to user experience and retaining traffic.

The desktop version fared much better, although it still left much to be desired:

When digging into the reasons behind the slowdown, we can identify the following problems:

Most of the issues related somehow to the size and weight of the images. As you can see, Lighthouse identified a 3.8 MB payload while the total image payload of the entire page was close to 40 MB.

Now, let’s see what kind of improvement ImageEngine can make to these issues by looking at the mobile score first:

So, as you can see, a major improvement of 30 points over the standard WordPress/Elementor page. The time to load images was cut down by roughly 80% across the key core web vital metrics, such as FCP, LCP, and the overall Speed Index.

In fact, we just reached that critical 3s milestone for the FCP (the largest element on the visible area of the page when it initially loads), which creates the impression that the page has finished loading and will help you retain a lot of mobile traffic.

The desktop score was also much higher, and there was further improvement across the key performance metrics.

If we look at the performance problems still present, we see that images are almost completely removed as a concern. We also managed to bring down the initial 3.8 MB payload to around 1.46 MB, which is a ~62% reduction:

An unfortunate side effect of using WordPress and WordPress plugins is that you will almost inevitably face a performance hit due to all the additional JavaScript and CSS. This is part of the reason why we didn’t see even larger improvements. That’s the price you pay for the convenience of using these tools.

That being said, the more images you have on your pages, and the larger their sizes, the more significant the improvement will be.

It’s also worth noting that lazy-loaded images were loaded markedly faster with ImageEngine if you quickly scroll down the page, again making for an improved user experience.

Thanks to its intelligent image compression, there was also no visible loss in image quality, as you can see from this comparison:

Conclusion

So, as you can see, we can achieve significant performance improvements on image-heavy websites by using the ImageEngine image CDN, despite inherent performance issues using a CMS. This will translate to happier users, better search engine rankings, and an overall more successful website.

The best part is that ImageEngine stays true to the key principles of WordPress. You don’t have to worry about any of the nuts and bolts on the inside. And, ImageEngine will automatically adjust automation strategies as needed, future-proofing you against having to occasionally rework images for optimization.

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The post Create Beautiful WordPress Pages with Optimized Images Using Elementor and ImageEngine first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.


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How To Power Through Designer Apathy

Sometimes you just don’t give a damn anymore. Possibly the only thing worse than designer’s block is designer’s apathy: that sinking feeling you get when you realize that you just don’t care about this particular piece of work anymore is disheartening.

The dread of going back to it is paralyzing.

There are many reasons you can stop caring about your work. Maybe you’ve just done the same thing too many times in a row. Maybe your client is insisting on asking for things you know won’t work for them. Maybe something much more important just happened in your life, and you’ve got bigger things to worry about. You could be discouraged by the apparent ‘sameness’ of bandwagon-hopping designs.

I’ve been not caring about my work ever since I was first asked to pick up my toys

Whatever the reason, we all experience times when we know exactly what we have to do… we just don’t care.

I’m something of an expert on this phenomenon. I’ve been not caring about my work ever since I was first asked to pick up my toys. Worse, I have the attention span of a goldfish, even now.

Web design is different. When I discovered it, it was new, exciting, and I could do it on the computer. I loved it, and I still do. Writing code that makes design happen in a browser window will never get old for me.

But even so, sometimes, a particular project will make me want to throw up my hands in exasperation and play video games ‘til Judgement Day. I’d welcome Skynet with tacos and RPGs.

So what do we do about it? First, answer this question: who is the project for?

For A Client

If the project is for a client, it’s just gotta get done. There’s no way around that. You made a commitment. You’re going to follow through and give it your best possible effort because you’re a professional. Anything less would be wrong.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to just power through with only coffee and misery for company. There are things you can do to make the work easier on yourself. The less miserable you are while you work, the better quality you can deliver.

For Yourself

There are a couple of schools of thought here. The first is that it’s perfectly fine to give up on personal projects when you stop caring. I mean, it’s your free time. Why spend it on something you don’t care about?

On the other hand, is a commitment made to yourself any less important than a commitment made to someone else? Many people seem to be perfectly fine with breaking promises to themselves when they’d never willingly do that to a client. Is that wrong?

I usually buy myself a drink and forgive myself, but it’s worth thinking about.

The deciding factor for me is whether my personal project will have any sort of lasting benefit. If whatever I’m designing, writing, or making counts as a long-term investment in my career or quality of life, then it absolutely has to get done, even when I’m not feeling it. Otherwise, I call it a learning experience and move on.

How To Power Through

So, for whatever reason — whether because you have to, or you want to — you’re gonna power through. Here are five ways to do it in style:

1. Start

The hardest part of doing work you don’t care about is starting. This is when you’ll be tempted to procrastinate until the last minute. Try not to.

2. Switch To A Different Part Of The Project

If you can safely (without causing problems) work on a different aspect of the project for a while, try that. The mere variety, the break from the work in front of you before, can boost your morale.

Indeed, working on a different part of the project can give you ideas of getting the most troubling bits done faster or more easily.

3. Do Something Old In A New Way

This one has its pros and cons.

Pro: You can look at this project as a chance to try out a new grid framework, script, code editor, or another tool of some kind. Injecting the process of discovery into an otherwise boring project can make it a lot more fun and even make you look forward to working on it.

Con: You’ll need to plan for extra hours and use some version control; because bringing a new tool or process into play is almost guaranteed to make something interesting go wrong — when this happens, you probably shouldn’t bill the client for the extra hours spent on StackOverflow.

4) Make Like Aziz Ansari And Treat Yo’self

Celebrate the milestones of your project. Don’t celebrate with video games if you need to get any more work done that day. That can go very wrong. But do celebrate. Reward yourself because you’re doing something difficult.

Have a snack. Give yourself a round of applause. Whatever it takes, make yourself look forward.

5) Outsource It

As a last resort, you can always outsource the project to someone else. Just make sure it’s someone you can trust to deliver the same quality of work you would normally provide yourself. Make sure to check it over before handing it off to a client.

Alternatively, you could just outsource the bits of the work that you don’t like. Either way, this is a risky strategy because whoever you outsource to might experience delays or, ironically, not care about the project.

Conclusion

You can do it! I believe in you. The really, really boring projects can seem like huge sinkholes of sadness, but they don’t last forever.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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3 Essential Design Trends, May 2021

Spring and fresh designs are in the air. This month, it’s obvious that designers are feeling creative with new and interesting concepts that range from a new style for cards, homepage experimentation with multiple entry points or calls to action, and risky typography options.

Here’s what’s trending in design this month.

1. “Flat” Cards

Card-style design elements that allow users to click through to other content aren’t new, but the design of these cards is fresh and interesting.

Rather than more heavily designed cards with shadows and layers of content, flat styles are trending. Expect this trend to explode thanks to usage by Google for a shopping experience page.

The Google example below is interesting because Google’s Material Design guidelines are what helped card-style elements grow in popularity previously. However, those cards did include more layers, color options, buttons inside the cards, and shadows.

Today’s trending cards are completely flat. And beautiful.

Each of these websites does it in a slightly different way.

Heartcore, a consumer technology VC company, uses a series of flat cards as a navigation element to help users find their way through the website. Each features a bright color background with an illustration and a simple text block.

Each card has a nice hover state where only the illustration zooms inside the card frame. This is an interesting effect because it is exactly the opposite of the previous iteration of cards, which zoomed the entire card as a hover state.

Google Shopping uses that whole card bounce hover state (plus a not-so-flat shadow) for each card. The initial design is sleek with the pairing of white and image cards with simple text in each. You are enticed to click around to see what happens.

Click on Greece is a travel website design that uses simple cards with a minimal color and text overlay. The consistency of these cards makes the design pop and the beauty of the images draw you in. Each card also has a hover state with a darker color mask to guide navigation and make text elements easier to read.

2. Multiple Homepage Entry Points

For a long time, designers have been working off the philosophy that the homepage should have one direct entry point, creating a direct funnel for the user experience.

These designs throw that idea out the window, with multiple entry points and click elements.

You can think of it as the “create your own adventure” option for these designs.

It can be a risky concept if you are diving into analytics to pay attention to user paths. You want to make sure you know what choices users are making so that you can help them on the journey to the content and information that you want them to get from the visit.

But this type of design scheme does feel somewhat personalized, putting the user in more control.

Parcouse Epicuriens uses three flat card-style elements to help users pick what they want to see from the home page. There’s no other button or direct call to action, which is somewhat uncommon in today’s website design landscape. Users have to pick from one of the cards, scroll, or enter using the hamburger menu icon.

Tasty Find uses search options to help users start their journey. What’s interesting here are the choices – search for the food you want, pick something random, or (in the small print) find even more options. Users get three choices to begin their journey with the website.

What’s interesting is how simple this complex user journey looks. The design is easy to digest, but so many options could overwhelm users. This is one of those situations where you have to watch return search data and information and weigh the risk versus the reward of so much choice. It’ll be interesting to watch this design over time and see if the options decrease in number.

Accord also has several levels of user engagement opportunity. Option 1: Every block contains a click element. Option 2: Use the search at the top to narrow choices. This is an interesting configuration as the homepage for an e-commerce website because they get right to product selection and shopping without a softer sell or introduction.

3. Risky Typography

Typographic risk has been an ongoing theme for a little while. Designers are embracing experimental and novelty typefaces to stand out in the cluttered website space. Sometimes it works beautifully, and other times, it can fall short.

Here, each of these trending website designs uses a risky typography treatment. The risks are a little different for each design, from readability to comprehension to font delivery.

How Many Plants has duel typography risks: A funky typeface paired with odd word breaks. Interestingly enough, readability isn’t as big of a concern as you might think. This is likely because there aren’t many words, and they are short. Plus, the imagery ties in nicely.

Do you notice a similarity between How Many Plants and The Great Lake? The typography has the same style with a blocky, slab, sans serif with alternating thick and thin strokes. (It’s the same font.)

The risk in the typography design for The Great Lake isn’t in the homepage display, although you might wonder what the design is about. It is carrying this font throughout the design. While it looks great large and with only a few words, it gets a little more difficult the more you see it. This type of mental reading weight can be difficult for visitors over time, creating an element of risk.

Zmaslo uses an interesting typeface with a liquid effect on top of an unusual word. That combination of text elements makes you think hard to read the homepage, despite its neat looks. The risk here is weighing visual interest against comprehension. Depending on the audience, this risk can be worth the chance.

Conclusion

Spring always seems to be that time of year where designers start thinking about new, fresh design elements. That might explain some of the “riskier” design choices and experimentation here.

Regardless of the motivation, it is always fun to see the creative stretch happen. It can be even more interesting to see what elements from these trends continue to grow in the coming months.

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Popular Design News of the Week: April 26, 2021 – May 2, 2021

Every day design fans submit incredible industry stories to our sister-site, Webdesigner News. Our colleagues sift through it, selecting the very best stories from the design, UX, tech, and development worlds and posting them live on the site.

The best way to keep up with the most important stories for web professionals is to subscribe to Webdesigner News or check out the site regularly. However, in case you missed a day this week, here’s a handy compilation of the top curated stories from the last seven days. Enjoy!

Curated List Of Awesome Lists

20 Best New Websites, April 2021

I Studied The Fonts Of The Top 1000 Websites; Here’s What I Learned

Markdown To Slideshow

WordPress Checklist: 17 Steps to Launching Your Site

Understanding Easing Functions For CSS Animations And Transitions

This is Tech! Illustrations About Technical Processes

This Amazing AI Tool Lets You Create Human Faces From Scratch

When You Shouldn’t Display Radio Buttons in a List Format

Lightweight, Privacy-First, Open-Source Comment System

8 Stunning Examples of CSS Glassmorphism Effects

CSS Tips

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Poll: Is Basecamp Right To Shutdown Politics At Work?

This week, in a move like something from a particularly eventful episode of The Office, popular project management app company Basecamp banned political and societal discussion in the company’s internal communications.

In a post that has been revised for “clarification,” the company’s co-founder Jason Fried listed six rules for employees: No societal or political discussions at work; No more ‘paternalistic’ benefits; No more committees; No more lingering on past decisions; No more 360 reviews; No forgetting what we do here.

A follow-up post from Heinemeier Hansson notes that Basecamp will still permit discussion of issues deemed central to its business like anti-trust and privacy; certain civil liberties are to be championed, while others, like racism and climate change, are not.

On the surface, it seems reasonable, Fried and co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson would like you to believe that it is. After all, people are paid to work, not soapbox, right?

So why, if they’re the ones being protected, are Basecamp’s employees angry about the move?

It turns out, multiple sources from inside Basecamp are reporting that the ‘political’ and ‘societal’ issues referred to in Fried’s public memo were, in fact, frank and open conversations about Basecamp itself.

As reported by The Verge, way back in 2009, a list of ‘funny’ customer names began circulating at the company — hardly respectful, potentially racist, and certainly inappropriate. The misalignment between co-founders and staff occurred when staff members attempted to hold discrete conversations about this and numerous other diversity and inclusivity failings at the company. Fried’s move appears to be a direct attempt to halt criticism of the status quo at Basecamp.

Basecamp itself is a highly political organization: The co-founders have written several books advocating certain societal change; they even provided a campaign headquarters and substantial donation for a candidate for Chicago mayor. Both co-founders are highly active on social media, using their business positions to elevate their personal views.

The truth is that the solo entrepreneur is an almost mythical beast. Successful startups require contributions from a range of skills and experience beyond any one individual. Jason Fried may be the frontman, strutting up and down the stage in spandex pants, with David Heinemeier Hansson playing lead guitar with his teeth, but behind them, there’s a drummer keeping time, and behind them all, there’s a crew of roadies without whom none of the equipment will arrive, let alone sound good.

Basecamp’s founders argue that the company has a mission, and that mission is to create apps that streamline the workplace. But how can you develop a product that is inclusive if staff cannot discuss what inclusive means? The answer is, you can’t.

Discussing racial bias in advertising or the impact of company wastage, climate change, or gender pay gaps in HR meetings are all political and societal and lead to a healthier, more united company.

As designers, we often say that you cannot not communicate; every decision is a design decision; there is no such thing as “adesign.” Likewise, choosing to be apolitical is itself a political choice. The only way it is feasible to run a company like this is to treat employees like robots (in the word’s original sense).

If employees feel the need to discuss exclusionary policies in the workplace, do the company founders, who benefit from those policies (or they would not be in place), have a moral or legal right to restrict those discussions?

Although it is the first point in Fried’s list that has drawn most ire, it is the fourth item on the list that is most telling: “No more lingering or dwelling on past decisions.” Like a parent answering, “Because I said so,” Fried’s attitude to his staff is laid bare in one statement.

It turns out two wealthy white men would rather their employees not try to change the world or even their workplace.

When Coinbase announced a similar move last year, it lost 5% of its staff. If Basecamp suffered the same loss, it would amount to three people. Hardly a disaster. The question for the founders — who, judging by the number of follow-ups and clarifications they’ve published, are aware the ice they’re on is perilously thin — is whether this kind of controversy creates irreparable reputational damage.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Popular Design News Of The Week: April 19, 2021 – April 25, 2021

Every day design fans submit incredible industry stories to our sister-site, Webdesigner News. Our colleagues sift through it, selecting the very best stories from the design, UX, tech, and development worlds and posting them live on the site.

The best way to keep up with the most important stories for web professionals is to subscribe to Webdesigner News or check out the site regularly. However, in case you missed a day this week, here’s a handy compilation of the top curated stories from the last seven days. Enjoy!

Coca-Cola Presents New Packaging Design

Seven Mistakes To Avoid In Your Technical Interviews

10 Interesting Ways to Plan Web Design Projects

Web Developer’s Guide To AVIF Images

 

3 Effective Ways To Improve Your Site’s Carbon Footprint

Pure CSS Before & After Image Slider

Blank

25 Exciting New Tools For Designers, April 2021

Text In A Circle Using CSS & JavaScript

A to Z of Adobe XD: Tips & Tricks!

Content-Aware Image Resizing In JavaScript

Remove Distractions and Waste from Your Website

Top 18 Best Practices for Writing Super Readable Code

Atriom

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Beginner’s Guide To Developing a Scalable Web Business


Introduction

In today’s world of fast-developing technology, people want access to data instantly. Waiting for a web page to load or an image to upload is no more an option. An application not designed aptly and flexible to handle increased workload and users—everything will be simply left in the dust.

Scalability is all about handling growth. A scalable web business should be able to efficiently and seamlessly adapt to the growth, handle an increase in load and users, without disturbing the end-users. A web application and website that is designed for scale will grow with the growing needs of the company. That’s why it is important to design a web business by keeping scalability in mind.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

3 Effective Ways To Improve Your Site’s Carbon Footprint

At the dawn of the web-era, there was much focus on how environmentally friendly websites were: we’d chop down fewer trees, ship fewer products, and travel less for business.

And because the web was small, any negative impact it had was relatively small. But the Internet’s no longer small, and neither is the impact it has on the environment. The average website uses 211,000g of CO2 per year, watching a video online outputs an estimated 0.2g of CO2 per second, and a single email can cost 50g of CO2.

In the next four years, the tech industry as a whole may use up to 20% of the world’s electricity and be responsible for 5.5% of global CO2 emissions.

The good news is that because websites are viewed many times, even small improvements can multiply into real change.

1. Reduce Energy Consumption

Through electricity use, the Internet generates around the same CO2 as most major countries. That carbon comes from two sources: the devices we use to access the Internet and the servers that host our data.

Computers heat up, and when they heat up, they slow down. Servers are especially vulnerable and use extraordinary amounts of energy to keep cool and functional, which is why Microsoft keeps throwing servers into the sea.

Make It Faster

The faster your site, the less data is used to serve it, and the less carbon it’s outputting; it’s that simple.

Reduce the Number of Resources Used

Everything you load on your site has an impact. You might think that a tiny PNG is too small to really impact your carbon footprint, but over thousands of page loads, its impact is multiplied. Anything you can do to reduce the number of actual files requested will reduce your carbon output. You can use sites like Ecograder to estimate your own site’s CO2 output.

Optimize Images

If there’s one thing you can do to reduce the size of your site, the amount of data that needs to be sent over the Internet to serve your site, and the resulting speed, it’s optimizing your images.

Nothing reduces a site’s footprint like optimizing images. It’s easy and free to reduce the size of JPGs and PNGs with a service like TinyPNG. Offer WebP to any browser that will accept them; it will boost your Lighthouse score and improve your CO2 usage.

Lazy Load Images

Lazy loading images means images are loaded as they are required; images at the top of a page always load, images further down only load when the user scrolls to them; if the user doesn’t scroll to the bottom of the page, they don’t load, saving you CO2.

Reduce The Amount Of JavaScript You Use

Yes, JavaScript is awesome. Yes, it can be hugely beneficial to UX. And yes, it munches on energy like it’s candy.

When a web page loads, it’s done, the total cost is in. If JavaScript keeps running in the background, redrawing the screen based on user interaction — as is the case with a parallax site — the web page keeps using up energy on the device.

Choose a Sustainable Hosting Company

You can reduce the power needs of a site, but you can’t eliminate them. One simple step is to opt for a hosting company that gets its electricity from sustainable sources such as wind power or solar.

Low←Tech Magazine is powered by a server that runs on solar energy and carries a warning that it may go offline. But it’s possible to host both reliably and sustainably. Many web hosts outsource their actual server management, so they have no control over how those servers are powered, but there are plenty of exceptions that guarantee green web hosting. Google Cloud aims to be the cleanest in the cloud industry. For green web hosting, I always recommend the all-round superb Kualo.

2. Be Inclusive

One of the biggest issues with the EV (Electric Vehicle) movement is that we’re replacing cars earlier than we normally would in a rush to move to “clean” driving.

A new EV certainly outputs less than a gas-powered vehicle when driven the same distance. Combine increased use — because owners think they are driving cleanly — with the fact that a new EV has to be manufactured, the minerals for batteries have to be mined (in horrific conditions), and it then needs to be shipped to you, and EVs are not as friendly as they appear — so go ahead, buy that vintage Porsche it’s probably better for the environment than a Tesla.

Support Legacy Devices

The same issue that applies to cars applies to devices. Every time we rush ahead to support the latest iPhone, we leave older generations behind. A device can and should last longer than two years.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t embrace modern web standards. Technologies like CSS Grid are excellent at reducing markup size and speeding up sites. CSS Grid has been well supported for over four years, and even “legacy” devices can handle it. If you can keep a phone for an extra six months, the environmental cost of that phone is reduced by 20%.

3. Help Users Make Good Choices

More and more people are trying to make good choices. We’re eating a healthier, balanced diet. We’re recycling clothes. We’re traveling by bike, and on foot, instead of by car. People want to do the right thing, and they seek out companies that aid them.

Improve Navigation

Anything that you can do to make your content more findable will mean fewer page loads and therefore consume fewer resources.

By improving your information architecture, improving your search accuracy, and improving on-page signposts like bread crumbs and link text, you help users find content faster.

Feelgood Feedback

When the environmental impact of a user’s actions are quantifiable, let them know. Users who care will appreciate it, and users who don’t will ignore it.

Raileurope.com adds a note to any quotation letting you know how much carbon you’ve saved by traveling by train instead of flying.

Don’t Remove the Shipping Rate

Many ecommerce sites offer free shipping, especially above a certain order value; it’s a good way to encourage higher sales. But absorbing the shipping cost implies that there is no shipping. By highlighting the shipping costs, even if they’re not passed on to the customer, you remind them that there is an environmental cost and a financial cost.

You can absorb the shipping rate without implying there is no cost by adding the shipping and then explicitly deducting it as a discount.

Sustainable Web Design Is Good For Business

The fundamentals of good web design are the fundamentals of sustainable web design.

Make it fast and usable, and you’ll also be making it energy efficient. Make it inclusive, and you’ll help the industry slow the ever-growing tendency to consume. Make it transparent, and you’ll help your users make good choices of their own. All of these things are not only good for the environment, but they also result in improved UX and SEO.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

Source

The post 3 Effective Ways To Improve Your Site’s Carbon Footprint first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.


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