Low-impact websites are designed to keep their data size as low as possible to minimise the impact on the environment. The goal is to use as lees as possible energy on the requested servers, the data transfer and the receiving device.
Why is it important?
Every action we take on the internet, such as accessing a website on our smartphones, requires energy not only on our devices but also on servers located around the world. The internet as a whole currently consumes 10% of global electricity and data traffic is doubling approximately every two years. This growth is due to the increasing speed of the internet and the advancements in technology that make devices more powerful. In the past 10 years, the size of websites has tripled. A significant portion of this increase is due to streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify and social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Not to mention the rise of video conferencing, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Cloud computing is also becoming increasingly prominent, with more people using remote collaborative tools like Google Docs, Figma, and Notion. The pandemic has certainly accelerated this trend.
How to achieve that?
- Host your website on servers, powered by renewable energy
- Large files such as videos are not automatically played or images are only loaded when they are requested
- Using new compression formats for videos or images like WebP or WebM
- Use variable fonts instead of static fonts. Variable fonts have a much smaller file size.
Here is a short example on the Font I use on this site
I use the font Uncut Sans by UNCUT.wtf. The Static Font with all Font Styles in Web Open Font Format and Web Open Font Format 2.0 have a consumption file size of 939 KB. The Variable Font in TrueType Format has a file size of 169 KB.
With 10,000 views a day, the static font would result in a daily usage of 9.39 GB, while the variable font would result a daily usage of 1.69 GB. This means that by using a variable font, you can save up to 7.70 GB a day. When you scale this up to a year, you can save up to 2810.5 GB of data usage just by choosing a variable font. Image how much energy you could save.
- Write clean code
- Use emojis instead of icons. Emojis are already on your device and do not need to be downloaded from a server.
- Dark mode reduces battery consumption if your device has an OLED display
- More will follow…
Do you have anything to add? Let me know