How User Experience Helps Create A More Sustainable Business

How User Experience Helps Create A More Sustainable Business

Every business would like to operate more sustainably and efficiently in order to make the most of its resources and minimise waste in the form of time, money and effort.

There are a huge number of operational, structural and financial ways to do this, depending on the organisation, however, one aspect that many businesses may not consider when aiming to become more sustainable, is their user experience.

It’s the last thing that a company may consider when aiming to become more sustainable, however, it should be high on the list of priorities when attempting to build a successful business.

Furthermore, you could help the environment through prioritising a better user experience for your customers or audience.

To highlight how user experience can be used to create a sustainable business, here are five examples for you to follow and take inspiration from.

1. Reducing webpage count

The more web pages a business has the more energy and memory is required to keep them live.

According to Tim Frick;

At nearly 3.4 MB, the average web page is almost 400% larger than it was just seven years ago. With billions of pages online, we have created a web full of slow, bloated, inaccessible experiences that frustrate users and contribute significantly to annual global carbon emissions.

Not only it the energy use clearly shown to be increasing, it is also obvious that the more energy and memory that a single website needs, the more money that it costs to run.

The number of individual pages can be greatly reduced if intelligent UX solutions are pursued, for example…

If your conversion funnel is made up of ten steps and each step has an individual web page, with a unique URL, your user will not enjoy the best user experience, especially if more than one of the pages takes a while to load.

It is tempting to have a unique page and respective URL for each step, as it makes it easier to track where users are leaving – enabling you to improve your conversions, however, with the correct tools and guidance, it is possible to use one page and one url to house the entire sales process and still track where users are dropping off.

The cost of hosting the website would drop, less energy would be used and the user experience would improve, so why wouldn’t you try to remove the excess fat from your website if it is possible?

2. Reduce image size

Page speed is an incredibly important aspect of a website. If it takes 10 seconds to load a page, not only will you be delivering a bad user experience, you will also incur a negative score from Google and other search engines when it comes to your SEO score.

A number of factors can contribute towards a long load time for a website, including the code used to build the website, the structure of the page and the amount of content and links hosted upon it.

All of these components are important for SEO and a good experience though so how can you increase the success of the page by allowing users to get to it quicker without removing anything?

A quick solution is to reduce the size of the images on your website, and no, we’re not suggesting that you literally make the photos and illustrations smaller, we’re saying that compressed images can have make a significant difference to the load time of a website.

There are vast numbers of online tools which allow you to reduce the size of the images that populate your website, something which will have an immediate impact on the load time and SEO score given by the search engines.

This will improve your users experience and allow them to transact or interact more efficiently while also reducing the energy consumption of their own devices.

3. Utilise Google accelerated mobile pages

Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are stripped down and faster loading versions of the pages on your website.

They allow visitors to fly through your website more faster and efficiently than they would on the normal mobile version.

AMP’s are most effective for blog pages and the likes of WordPress have dedicated plugins to enable simple AMP’s to be created in no time.

Once more, this will reduce the amount of energy used by a server as well as the amount of power needed by the users device, providing a more sustainable solution to your users’ experiences.

4. Remove videos that autoplay and use 3rd party hosting

Video is the single biggest leach of energy and memory on a website which is hosting the content itself, especially if the video has been shot in 4K.

We have already highlighted how much a single image can affect pagespeed, imagine how badly a video could slow your users’ experience.

Forcing users to watch a video as soon as a page loads can also slow down a page significantly.

Everybody knows how important it is to have video these days, but using it in the correct way is just as important.

Make sure to use third-party video hosting sites such as Youtube or Vimeo to bring down your page load time, especially if you are using a lot of it across your website.

5. Minification

Yes, minification is a real term and we didn’t steal it from ‘Honey I shrunk the Kids’.

Minification refers to the practice of removing useless characters in your website’s code as Oliver Russell explains;

JavaScript and CSS sheets can be combined with similar files to minimize energy consumption by creating fewer server requests. With all of the frameworks, libraries, and plugins available, it’s very easy to add separate JavaScript and/or CSS files without putting much thought into it. This issue is especially problematic in WordPress sites where a new plugin is a click away and each plugin comes with a separate CSS and JavaScript file.

Combining all of the above will not only improve the user experience your site provides. It will also positively impact on your SEO and overall sustainability as less energy will be required to run your website or platform.

Andrew Machin
Andrew Machin

With over 15 years’ experience in web design and digital marketing Andrew has helped many brands, both in the UK and US, create exceptional digital experiences, from websites to in-store retail experiences, such as John Lewis, Jet2, Virgin Holidays and Interflora.

Through the success of such projects Andrew has received accolades that include high-profile awards that span innovation, strategy, design and results such as the Dadi Grand Prix Award and the Digital Impact Award for Innovation.

This experience has led to Andrew judging digital design awards, been featured in .net magazine, lecturing at Leeds university and speak at seminars and conferences across the UK.

Follow Andrew @The_Machin

Articles: 107

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