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Sustainable Web

Sustainable Web

Communication, Community, Education

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  • Defining Web Sustainability

    Community, Communication Design

    The idea of web accessibility has been a hot topic in web development. According to Wikipedia, Web accessibility refers to the practice of making Web pages accessible to people using a wide range of user agent software and devices, not just standard Web browsers. This is especially important for people with disabilities such as visual impairment. Design for accessibility is a sub-category of good design for usability.

    Web accessibility has peeked commercial interests also because websites that are accessible work well on mobile devices and allows for easy syndication of content to many platforms - publish once, use many times.

    Recently there has been a lot of buzz around the idea of Sustainable Web Development and Design 21 seems like a good forum to discuss the concept. So, I begin ...

    From an ecological perspective, sustainability is conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources. I've been working on websites going on 15 years and the same issues always creep up. A website is designed and 1-2 years later, it needs to be redesigned because the organization has grown or the business requirements have changed. This cycle is not sustainable because the website is always behind the organization (as opposed to in-line with it) and creates a financial drain.

    Sustainable Web Development includes accessibility but then extends it to scalabilty and agility. Scalability is the ability to grow the website and its functionality without having to start over. Agility is the ability to change the requirements for the website - how things work - without having to start over.

    The benefits of this are clear, but are only defined in financial terms. "Let's create a website that doesn't create a financial and effort drain on our organization."

    What are the other characteristics of Sustainable web design and development? This post is an attempt to start the conversation and trigger ideas. It is the first post to the **Accessible Web" interest group. Feel free to respond to this post or post directly to the group.

  • George's thread/group about sustainable web design is a great thought. The trend towards flash-tastic websites discriminate, in a way, against people running older machines that can't or haven't been updated to view them. Who is going to install software for each site they visit? many will just move on and miss an opportunity for education or connection.

    Plus, i personally hate that so many flash sites will not allow the reader to copy's all embedded. That is not sustainable.

  • Flash definitely has it's place. Macromedia used to say it was installed on 98% of computers. I'm not sure how those stats have changed recently.

    I think flash video is a fantastic tool in terms of accessibility. It can compress and deliver video online better than anything else out there. For users without a broadband connection, this is great.

    I guess the point is, use flash for the right reasons. Choose your delivery method based on the content you're pushing and the audience you're aiming it at.

  • Reduce-reuse-redesign-think-green_132_

    If only plants could digitize themselves, I'm sure they would. Interacting with all the compounds they do must be fun but surely they would prefer to travel at lightspeed on optical wires or blow through the air faster than a whisper to meet their digital evolution on the other side of a planet.

    As I watch my small piece of the forest evolve I ask myself questions like, "Why can't everything generate it's own power from it's own movement?" and "why doesn't everyone work online yet?"

    The answer for me at least, is simple. There's more money for some people in friction-heavy industries. Okay, now that I've lost all but a few of you, I'll try and make a point.

    Working on the web and using the web as a platform for sustaining yourself is the best thing you can do for the environment.

    Migratory web professionals will lead the way after all this "green friction reduction" is long gone. We'll fight for things like bandwidth freedom and job visualization strategies more issues become political and social by http://nature, having just left the time of possibility and into potentiality.

    Our old problems with oil will pale ten years from now when large-scale internet outages are threatened.

    Doubt me? Of course you do. You're probably much more "stable" than I am so please break your own thoughts off this morsel of sustainable thinking. What do I know, I don't even watch television.

    You probably don't live in the forest. But you should spend some time here. Observing nature, listening to the silence and the roar of the wind are great conversation starters with the Forest Uhane. Feeling the ground shake and watching the night sky glow red, is humbling for any uptown or Newbury Street designer, if only to focus our thoughts on what's real.

    Given time you may find that the more we sustain ourselves through frictionless work, the more we'll free ourselves to do as we want and the less we'll rely on nature for anything. "But we breathe air," you say?

    Yes, we'll need to interact with nature but it will be done in love. Just start thinking of ways we can get more people sustaining ourselves using the web as a platform. Let's set our sights on a strong "mostly digital" economy.

    Moving beyond sustainability towards regeneration will occur for everyone once we implement what we've learned about green energy, jobs, and agriculture. The internet we've spent the last twenty years building will get us there much sooner than most believe, be the change.

    Send tax deductible contribution to sustain our teachings to

    We have lots of opportunity to get involved. Maybe start by helping us define sustainable web design at Google Knol.


  • Sustainableweb_177_

    Sustainable web is not only design, but also a new approach to USE the web. Please, see my article for details and, if you agree, support by sharing the word.

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Exploring the ideas of sustainability on the Internet

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Moderator: George Eid