Imagine you’re about to compete in a major competition. You’ve spent years training for this moment, and your fans are counting on you. You’re desperate to make them proud of you.
So how do you do it?
You’ve got two choices:
Most of us – hopefully – will pick option #2. The ethical option. We know that it’s not the gold medal that makes us successful; it’s trying hard, and behaving in a way that builds trust and respect.
Shouldn’t it be the same when it comes to sustainable web development?
Ethical website development means building a website that brings your users into the equation. It’s not just about you and your needs, but about making sure you’re meeting the needs of others, too.
Websites that are developed solely based on the needs of the organisation may well be winners from a technical perspective; they may get that gold medal. But if they’re not able to provide good experiences for users – if their fans start to lose interest – can they really be considered successful?
Ethical web development is about finding that balance between what you cando and what you should do. It’s about succeeding by doing what’s morally right for the wider population; not what’s right for you alone. And we can extend that even further to include what’s right for the planet, too.
When it comes to sustainability in web development, there’s a bit of a conflict of interest.
We all want websites that deliver the ‘wow’ factor. That come with all the bells and whistles. But the more ‘heavy’ and involved a website is, the more energy it requires. And, as we all know, growing energy consumption from the daily use of technology is having massive effects on the environment.
So what do you do?
Do you take option #1, and do whatever it takes to shine and stand out from the crowd? Regardless of what impact it has on the planet, or on the people that trust you to act responsibly? Or do you take option #2, and develop the best site you can while still behaving in an ethical and moral way?
Any good development partner today will understand that working in the digital sector means they have a responsibility to follow more sustainable practices. This responsibility extends to you, too.
Ethical and sustainable web development means considering how the digital assets we create can affect the world in which we live, and the people across our global communities. It means making choices that reduce energy consumption and limit CO2 emissions to protect our planet’s future.
At Freestyle Internet, we make the decision every day to use ethical approaches to web development. We believe that taking into account these ethical considerations is best for everyone, supporting our environment while helping our clients to build a strong reputation with users.
So just what are these ethical considerations we take into account? Let’s take a closer look…
What content management system (CMS) will be used for your website? Big, ‘bloated’ systems are more comprehensive. Yet if you’re not making use of all the features and functionality, energy is being wasted powering these unnecessary processes. Sometimes, it’s best to use lighter-weight, more streamlined systems which are more eco-friendly. Headless content management systems can also be useful, helping sites to load more quickly and efficiently, using less computing power.
How will code be written for your website? Will web standards be followed, using tried-and-tested principles and processes that are known for delivering high-performing yet efficient websites? Will an agile development process be used, enabling teams to work quickly and more efficiently, using fewer resources? Are there situations in which existing code could be reused, helping to reduce the emissions that come from the work of the dev team themselves? These are all things to think about.
The more plugins and tools that are on your website, the more energy it’s going to use to load. However, your website needs to have the functionality to deliver a good online experience for users, so it’s important to find the right balance. Try to only use tools that bring value to your website, and to the experience. If you’re not sure which tools are weighing your site down, you can perform a technical business benchmark which will give you an idea of what’s slowing down load times.
Which company is hosting your website? And more importantly, are they operating in an ethical and responsible way? Hosting providers typically use a huge amount of energy powering and cooling their data centres. However, more and more are switching to renewable energy, or offsetting their emissions by buying carbon credits. Choosing a green provider can help your website to reduce its impact on the planet, and help you connect with audiences committed to ethical operations.
More and more customers are actively choosing to partner with organisations that are able to demonstrate a commitment to ethical processes and environmental protection. This means that you can’t afford to ignore the importance of sustainable web development. Your website isn’t just a platform for communicating your products and/or services; it’s your platform for sharing your values, too.
When done right, sustainable web development is an opportunity to have your say. It’s a chance to say ‘we understand our responsibility, we’re taking it seriously, and this is how we’re doing our part’.
Want to do the right thing? Want to behave in an ethical and moral way? Want to protect the planet, while showing your users what you stand for? We’re here to help guide you on the right path. Book a call with us to find out more, or complete our contact form and we’ll be in touch.