Prepare to Design the Future
March 19–20, 2017: Training
March 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

Design for sustainability

Tim Frick (Mightybytes, Inc.)
1:15pm–1:55pm Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Bridging design, technology, and business
Location: California West
Level: Non-technical

Who is this presentation for?

  • Designers, frontend developers, and product managers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of the digital design process

What you'll learn

  • Understand why sustainable practices will be increasingly important as the internet continues its explosive growth
  • Discover a design framework for creating more sustainable digital products and services
  • Learn simple tactics you can use to make your own digital products and services more sustainable


Drawing on the concepts from his book Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services, Tim Frick covers practical tactics for creating greener digital products and services in the following areas:

Impact of devices and data: 90% of all data ever created was produced in the last year. What impact does that have on our planet?

Search and content strategy: If content is clearly written and optimized for search, users will spend less time (and energy) locating information that is relevant to them. This results in reduced server requests and fewer page elements—like photos and videos, which take up a lot of bandwidth—loading unnecessarily. These small energy savings accumulate over time.
Specific tactics: SEO basics, page/domain authority, search-on-site, nav labels, page briefs, content audits, and CTAs

Performance optimization: Speedy, reliable pages are better for users and better for the environment. Your customers expect to get the content they want instantly. Performance-optimized websites or mobile apps send fewer files and use less processing power on both the server and the frontend, which of course means they also use less energy. Optimizing your site for performance can also significantly reduce bounce rates and abandoned shopping carts.
Specific tactics: WPO basics and defining and adhering to page weight budgets

Design and user experience: Creating a great experience across devices and platforms—including enabling technologies for users with disabilities—is more sustainable. If users have to struggle with design experiences not optimized for their particular devices, they waste time and energy.
Specific tactics: Optimizing design assets, mobile first versus adaptive versus responsive, user and A/B testing, component design, and avoiding dark patterns

Green hosting: The servers that store your files require power 24 hours a day, so the single most impactful thing you can do is choose a hosting provider that runs on 100% renewable energy. But all hosting providers are not created equal, and choosing a reliable “green” hosting provider isn’t quite as easy as it may seem.

Along the way, Tim shares inspiring examples of companies and organizations that have implemented these practices for measurable results.

Photo of Tim Frick

Tim Frick

Mightybytes, Inc.

Tim Frick is founder and CEO of Chicago-based digital agency and B Corp Mightybytes, which builds creative digital solutions for conscious companies. A frequent speaker and conference presenter, Tim offers workshops and presentations on web design, content strategy, digital marketing, socially conscious business, and sustainability. He is passionate about the global B Corporation movement and cohosts Chicago-area B Corp networking events. Tim is also the author of four books, which are used at higher learning institutions across the US and Europe, including Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, the Art Institutes, Full Sail University, and others. Tim is board president of Climate Ride, a national charity organization that produces multiday endurance events to raise money for active transportation advocacy, environment, and sustainable solutions.