Sustainable Brands Panel on Internet Sustainability

I'm moderating a panel with leaders from Greenpeace and Akamai on the internet's environmental impact at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at the Sustainable Brands conference. You can check out the full program schedule at the link below.

If you're attending Sustainable Brands, come check it out or contact me. I'd love to connect.

Designing For Sustainability: Advanced Copy


O'Reilly Media is now selling an e-book-only advanced release of the unedited Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services. Though the full version (and hard copy) won't be released until July 2016, interested folks can purchase an advanced e-book and give feedback on the content as it is being written. Reader feedback will be incorporated into subsequent revisions.  

With the internet using an ever-increasing amount of our electricity—only a small amount of which comes from renewable sources—and its users numbering three and a quarter billion, its environmental impact is significant, more than that of the airline industry. Large tech companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook have led the charge toward powering the internet with renewable energy, but that is only part of a much larger picture. As we work toward a more sustainable future, efficiency and usability will sit alongside renewables as key strategies for building a cleaner, greener internet. This book will help design teams incorporate sustainability principles into their workflows to quickly create more efficient digital products and services that are better for users and better for the planet.

The book has eight chapters:

  1. Sustainability and the Internet
  2. Designing for Sustainability: A Primer
  3. Green Hosting and Other Sustainable Components
  4. Content Strategy
  5. Design and UX
  6. Performance Optimization
  7. Calculating Carbon Footprints
  8. The Internet of the Future

It also features interviews with industry and nonprofit leaders—including nearly a dozen certified B Corps—who are working to power the digital economy with renewable energy and create more sustainable digital products and services. In my experience, the B Corp community, including great companies like Manoverboard, Closed Loop Advisors, Open Concept Consulting, Dojo4, Exygy, and others are leading the charge toward a more sustainable internet. Also featured are interviews with Greenpeace's Click Clean team, Pete Markiewicz, James Christie, and others.

O'Reilly will release the first two chapters in January 2016 with two chapters to follow each month thereafter. Those who purchase the advanced release will automatically receive the final product once it is complete. I have committed to researching and writing the best possible content on the topic of internet sustainability so this process helps ensure a higher caliber title. O'Reilly is the first publisher with which I've worked that crowdsources portions of the editorial process in the name of improving title quality. It is a unique approach that other publishers could likely learn a lot from. 

Finally, the regal fellow gracing the cover is a Jeweled Lacerta Lizard, a protected native of the Iberian Peninsula. O'Reilly Media has been placing animals on its title covers since the 1980s to raise awareness of the plights of wild species.

Get an advanced copy of the book on O'Reilly's site. 

Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services

New O'Reilly Book


I've begun work on a new book for O'Reilly Media that will be released in early Summer 2016. Tentatively titled Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services, the book will focus on how digital design teams can build online products and services that are optimized for users, devices, and energy efficiency. The internet has a massive carbon footprint and releases over 830M tons of CO2 annually, more than the airline industry. This new book outlines a set of practices that can be applied to the process of creating more sustainable websites or mobile apps in several key areas: performance optimization, findability, usability, and green hosting. The book's content is based on the work Mightybytes has done with our website sustainability tool Ecograder and our sustainable web design blog series.

One of the first tasks is to work with the O'Reilly team to choose the book's cover animal. Since the 1980s, O'Reilly Media has placed animal illustrations on its title covers to raise awareness for the plight of wild animals around the planet. According to O'Reilly Director of Brand Management Edie Freedman, "working with the animal engravings has made me much more aware of what is happening to our environment. Many of the animals that appear on our covers are endangered…Perhaps our use of animal images on our covers will encourage people to work harder to save the species that are still sharing the planet with us."

Given the book's environmental perspective, it's easy to see why O'Reilly was a natural fit to be its publisher. Will the new book cover feature the nearly endangered American Pika (which gets my vote, though it has been used for an O'Reilly title before)? The extinct Golden Toad? Or will it be something else, like the endangered Balkan Lynx in silhouette above? Only Edie knows.

TEDx Talk on Internet Sustainability

The internet isn’t quite the green medium that everyone thinks it is. Every app we open, every tweet we share requires electricity, and very little of that electricity—less than 15% in the U.S.—comes from renewable sources. When you consider that over 3 billion people use the internet every day, that’s a lot of electricity!

In this TEDx Talk presented at Bentley University and based on the content of a new book I’m working on, I discuss how the internet has amassed a growing annual carbon footprint of 830M tons—more than the airline industry—and what we can do about it.


New Book! Return on Engagement, 2nd Edition, Now Available

Return on Engagement: Content Strategy and Web Design Techniques for Digital Marketing, 2nd Edition

The second edition of Return on Engagement: Content Strategy and Web Design Techniques for Digital Marketing is now out. While the title is only slightly different from the first edition, the book is a complete rewrite. Only about 5-10% of the original copy made the cut for this new edition.

The new book is broken down into three sections:

  1. Strategy
  2. Creation & Promotion
  3. Measurement

Each section covers proven design strategies and content techniques that can be used to create websites that meet business and marketing objectives and drive measurable success.

This was also my first time working with a co-author: the incomparable Kate Eyler-Werve, author of O’Reilly’s Civic Apps Competition Handbook. Kate is a great collaborator and really helped keep the book on track throughout the 9+ months that we vollied words and ideas back and forth.


Order Return on Engagement Now