5 tips for a Sustainable Digital Design

By Jesse Viana | UX & Content Writer at Monday

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Our little blue planet is suffering. It’s an undeniable truth that we all know, and it’s up to us to make it a little easier on the planet that we live in — not only by taking action and leading a greener lifestyle but also by making the web a good place for both people and our planet.

Let’s review some uncomfortable facts:

— By 13/05/2021, our country (Portugal) has spent the entirety of natural resources available for this year. This was 21 days sooner than last year.

187 liters is the average amount of water a person uses in a day.

In 2040 it will be only 25L, so please handle water with the utmost care: one day, there won’t be enough.

— In a year, 132 KG of food is wasted. By the way, have you heard of amazing programs like Refood or the app Too good to go? Check them out! :)

It’s not a very fun read, is it? Yep, we think too. We care about our little planet a lot, and it’s time we take this mission seriously and start changing a few things when it comes to greener habits. But we can’t change the world, right? We hope, at least, to get your attention into changing yours: a little bit, day by day, we can all make a difference. And it’s not only offline.

What is Sustainable Digital Design?

Did you know that if the internet was a country, it would be the 7th largest polluter in the world? That’s right. Take it in. Read it again.

Sustainable design, in its essence, is an approach to designing web services that put people and the planet first by delivering digital products and services that are based on cleanness (renewable energy), efficiency (least amount of energy and material resources), openness (accessibility, exchanging of information and controlling data), honesty (not misleading users), regeneration and resilience (when people need it the most).

From websites to cryptocurrencies, the internet consumes large amounts of electricity in data centers, telecom networks, and end-user devices (computers, smartphones, tablets, you name it). To put it more accurately, the internet currently produces 3.8% of global carbon emissions — 416.2 Kwh a year.

~ all of this information is based on the sustainable manifesto.

What about Monday?

Currently, our website is 90% more polluting than most websites tested on websitecarbon.com. We know this isn’t ideal, and it’s our mission to drop this percentage when our brand new website is done.

In the meantime, we can give you some of the advice we’ve learned to make the web a little bit greener:

Darker colors require less energy to illuminate than brighter ones. In fact, black is the lowest energy-consuming color, and white is the most intensive. Colors impact the interface accessibility, so try to balance accessibility and energy efficiency.

Shorter user journeys are great for users, but they also save energy by reducing the amount of time spent online and the number of pages open. Providing the exact amount of information needed to complete a task — and nothing more — is the trick, so prioritize your users’ true needs.

Using images efficiently is one of the best strategies to reduce file sizing and energy use, while also improving web performance. Just make sure that all images have a justifiable purpose.

Multiple typefaces and multiple font weights can increase energy use and cause slow performance. When the time comes, use custom fonts attentively or try using those already on the users’ devices.

Did you know that videos constitute the largest use of energy of a website? And that autoplay uses unnecessary bandwidth and can undermine the user experience? Yep, and so do animations. These last ones are double trouble: large files that need more processing and that distract the users from their purpose on the page. When thinking about including them, ensure that you’re doing so wisely.

These are only a few of the big small changes you can do when building products or services. No one is perfect, we know that. Not even us, here at Monday — but we sure want to be and to do better every day, one small step at a time. Let’s do this together?

Thank you so much for reading.

We hope to have made a good impact on the way you do things from now on😊

This article had the following fonts:


We really do want to hear from you! Get in touch

Monday is a Business Design Consultancy based in sunny Lisbon. We co-create with ambitious leaders to build better businesses. We use strategy & design to transform businesses from within.

This core philosophy stands at the center of everything we create.

Clients include: Mercedes, EDP, Red Bull, Banco de Portugal, Microsoft, Sumol+Compal, Fujitsu, Galp, among others.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

We co-create with ambitious leaders to build better businesses. We use strategy & design to transform businesses from within.