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Are new websites ethical? 🌱

A BBC article from 2020 suggests that the Internet (and the devices that use it) accounts for about 3.7% of the world's carbon footprint. This is a lot, and it's our responsibility as designers, devs and techies to keep that number down.

A few years ago I made a small site that takes advantage of the fantastic Website Carbon project to measure Norwegian municipalities' sizes. The test I run is far from perfect and only checks their front pages, but because it checks over 350 sites with similar information, they are comparable and some patterns arise.

What's interesting to see is that sites like Unjárga/Nesseby which were made many moons ago are lighter than some of the newer ones! This is not necessarily representative, however web sites and web apps made in the last ten years have grown by a remarkable 594%. They contain more media and a lot more JavaScript code which in practise moves the work of building up the site before it's shown to the user from the server to the user's browser.

To answer my own question: New websites aren't inherently unethical, however it's important that we as designers and coders use the tools we have to create smaller, server side rendered websites with smaller media and less unused code. Let's work together to bring back the past! 👩‍💻

Cover photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

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