Using UX Design to Build a Sustainable Future | UX Magazine

I think it is a safe bet to say that not many people consider the environmental impact of the Internet, and if they do, it is likely that they view digitising content and services as a more sustainable alternative to traditional products and services. However, a Harvard study suggests that content-heavy news sites can release more greenhouse gases than print if their pages are left open for extended periods of time. According to the report ‘Clicking Clean’ released in 2014 by Greenpeace, “If the internet were a country, it would be the 6th largest user of electricity behind China, the US, Japan, India and Russia.”

Every tweet sent, every image posted, and every Facebook status update uses energy. This data is stored in data banks, the majority of which are run by non-renewable energy sources. When you consider the enormous influence of the internet, and the billions of everyday users, the price suddenly becomes tangible. The Internet has a very real environmental impact.

Most of the Internet is unsustainable, so there is an opportunity to make a very real and lasting impact through our work. The following are some ideas for ways in which UX designers can play their part in managing this global crisis.

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