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3 Ways to Make Your UX/UI Company More Sustainable

January 22, 2020

Businesses have a lot of power to make their practices more environmentally conscious. Learn how corporations can commit to sustainability by reducing travel and investing in green digital options.

The world is already experiencing climate change, and it will get worse if we do not act quickly. If you think your UX design company can’t be made more sustainable, you are wrong. 

Everyone is responsible for maintaining our environment: governments, companies, and consumers. A recent survey featured in Forbes found that 96% of people feel their own actions, such as donating, recycling or buying ethically, can make a difference. 

And over half of the survey respondents believe that they personally can make a big difference. In addition, 88% of consumers would like companies to help them become more environmentally friendly and ethical in their daily lives. 

So, the desire for sustainability amongst consumers is already very big, and it will probably only grow. And why wouldn’t you want to fulfill your users' desires

Pollution crisis Nielsen

Source

As a company, you should get involved in sustainability, both for the cause of saving our planet and pleasing this same desire from your customers. But how can you do this? 

The logical thing to do to contribute as a company is cutting down your airplane flights, turn off your electronic devices more often and use digital documents instead of using paper. But what if you could make your company contribute even more through design?

Even Digital Companies Contribute to Climate Change

As a digital company, you might think that you are already very sustainable. But going digital does not automatically mean that you are going green. 

Most of us do not realize how much energy we consume online. In 2010, Twitter developer Raffi Krikorian estimated that every single tweet generates 0.02 grams of carbon dioxide, which becomes 7,000 grams in a single minute, 420,000 grams in an hour and 10,080,000 grams in a day. 

Crazy, right? The same calculations can be made for storing a file on Google Drive, saving a song on Spotify or liking a post on Facebook. 

You can imagine that running your online services also has a considerable impact on CO2 emissions. 

CO2 production from online activities

Source

With more than 4 billion users, the internet is the biggest machine ever created. The internet needs millions of computer servers to store all our data. That requires a lot of electricity, and today’s internet is primarily powered by fossil fuels. 

The CO2 emissions of the internet are comparable to those of the aviation industry, which is one of the highest polluting industries in the world. 

As a digital company, it’s your responsibility to find ways to make your business more environmentally sustainable. 

Here are three ways you can reduce your company’s CO2 emissions:

  1. Reduce company travel
  2. Invest in green hosts
  3. Reduce the amount of data you use

1. Reduce Company Travel

You carry a social responsibility to encourage sustainability as a UX designer or company owner. You can encourage sustainability by changing the way you work within your company.

Travelling is your company’s greatest source of carbon dioxide emissions. You might travel around the world to visit clients, pay for a job candidate to fly in for an interview, or even just travel to work in your car.

Some of these journeys are necessary, but you can still try to reduce your company’s carbon footprint by cutting down on unnecessary travel. 

Instead of traveling long distances to meet with clients in-person, invest in software and programs that make remote work easy and seamless. We, BeHappy, have always been a remote company. We have our team and clients all over the world but keep in touch through online communication and design tools.

There are plenty of remote design tools, for example, that make it possible to collaborate with long-distance clients from the comfort of your office. Digital product design can be done together in a tool like InVision and a tool like Github can be used for software development. 

Meetings can be held through video calls on apps such as Skype. Slack and Google Chats also provide opportunities for remote collaboration.

2. Invest in Green Hosts

As I mentioned before, the internet mostly uses fossil fuels for power. You can, however, also invest in green hosts for your company’s data. 

According to the Sustainable Business Toolkit, green hosts purchase renewable energy credits to make up for the energy your company uses. This makes your business carbon neutral.

Multiple green hosts now compete with regular web hosting companies in both quality and price.  It’s possible to find a green hosting company that works for your business’s needs and budget.

Some cloud services companies are also more environmentally friendly than others. Greenpeace measures how green your ‘clicks’ are. For example, in their latest report, Vimeo only scores a D on sustainability, whilst YouTube scores an A. 

If you want to invest in green hosting and cloud services, do some research and find a service that’s the right fit for you. You can always find a green solution.

3. Reduce Data Usage

Another way to cut your internet CO2 emissions is by reducing the amount of data you use and create. 

Keep this in mind when designing for your clients or for your own UX company. When you add a lot of features to a website or app, you quickly increase the number of bytes and the CO2 emissions of your project. 

There are tools and websites that can help you avoid increasing your data usage if you don’t know how to already. 

By reducing your data, you will not only reduce CO2 emissions, but you will also make your website or app run faster. This also creates a better user experience.

A high-quality user interface also means that your users use fewer data. If the user can perform their desired actions on your website quickly and easily, the user will need less time and fewer clicks, thereby using less data on your website.

Sustainability Is Everyone’s Responsibility

Finally, you can also make a difference by making your users more environmentally conscious. 

As the previously mentioned survey shows, consumers would like companies and businesses they support to help them make sustainable choices. 

Some big companies are already going green, and you should definitely follow their lead. You can do this by investing in green hosting, changing your business’s travel options, and designing for sustainability.

Do some research on design opportunities to make your interface help your users getting sustainable. With some small adjustments to your design, you could help your users make greener choices.