Originally created nearly a decade earlier for the military, the public version of the World Wide Web is approaching its 30th birthday. Much has changed since those first years back in the early 1990’s. Back then surfing the web was a rather simplistic action with most web surfing consisting of going to one page of text after another. All that has changed with today’s web experience being a highly interactive one with web pages becoming more and denser with information, advertisements and a multitude of other items. The basic web pages of decades ago are rarely seen today.
Currently, when conducting web searches or visiting websites, the user is bombarded with a variety of interactive high-tech invitations. Everything including videos, offers to join sites, invitations to chat with experts about various topics, etc. The market is flooded with advertisements hoping to drag the user to another page or location. This call for heavy use during browsing consumes a large amount of extra power. Most of do not realize how much energy is used just to refresh their homepage on Facebook or Twitter. With so many different software programs, invitations, pictures and pieces of information about fellow users reloading after every click it can quickly add up to a lot after a day of computer use for even one person. Now multiply that amount of usage by billions and there is a clear advantage to designing more simplistic greener websites.
Many sites in operation today are striving to use less power and provide a simpler experience for users. This “less is more” way of designing is beginning to catch on worldwide. The famous Low-Tech Magazine has a new site that is solar powered. It actually goes offline if there is no sunlight to generate power for the system. Over a decade ago most people were only online for a few hours a day using a desktop computer. The computer itself used more energy however the short length of time it was powered up is what made all the difference. Today it’s a different situation entirely. Our desktops, laptops, iPad’s and cell phones are constantly on, connected and even sometimes charging. Most users are online 24/7.
Rethinking web design is beginning to catch on across our planet. Everywhere, increasingly more green sites are beginning to pop up. These websites are a very close cousin to the sites of the 1990’s. Everything is held to a basic setup where delivering the information remains the priority. These sites typically only have only about ten pages or less that make up the entire website. There are very few or no pop-up ads, advertisements, chat-bots, Facebook links etc. Most often one or two tabs are all that is needed for a fulfilling session of web use.
A recent poll showed that the average person entirely recharges their cell phone or iPad two or more times a day. The idea is that by rethinking their methods for using the web, everyone can save power and leave a noticeably smaller carbon footprint on our planet.