13-15 June 2018

Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

UX designers vs. climate change

Session type:
Case Study

Session duration:
45 minutes

Presented by:

James Christie


About this Case Study

Folks like us who work in the digital realm don’t seem to have the same opportunities to fight climate change as our physically-oriented counterparts. Physical architects get to design LEED-certified green buildings. Industrial designers make appliances energy efficient, while car designers work with increasingly stringent emissions standards. What can your humble UX / IA / web designer do that can compare?

A motivated designer can make (mega)tons of difference. We touch the world both directly in our working practices and indirectly by how we shape behaviour.

Firstly, a look at the glamorous world of internet infrastructure - it’s a huge energy hog with a carbon footprint comparable to the aviation industry (think: 2.4bn users). How we host our sites has a direct impact on climate change. And switching from a coal-powered datacenter is easier than ever.

Secondly, design craft and kruft. Hefty data-rich sites use more energy, and somehow we’ve let the average web page size balloon to over 2.5MB. Leaner sites are greener sites. And design optimisation has business and user experience benefits to boot.

Thirdly, design for intent. Can we help our users identify greener choices and help shift consumer behaviour? (Yes, we can).

Lastly, tackling climate change begins in the home and office. Using a simple digital tool, participants can quickly measure their professional carbon footprint and see opportunities to reduce it.

This is a critical time for the climate. It’s more up to individuals than ever before. Come to this session and get ready to roll up your sleeves.

About the Speaker

James Christie has been designing for the web for 15 years. With careers in development, design, usability engineering and now user experience, he is well-qualified to talk about design and performance at the intersection of technology, design and user empowerment.

Currently an experience design director for Mad*Pow, James has recently focused on helping companies manage the shift from desktop-centric to mobile and responsive cross-device design. A proponent of lean practices like analytics-driven research, rapid iterative prototyping and guerrilla usability testing, James believes in a 'just enough' approach to both process and design.

James has written about sustainable UX and green web design for UX Booth and A List Apart.


Tickets are available now

buy tickets

See the full programme

full programme