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 Creating 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.
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.
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.
This slide deck, originally presented at Content Jam 2013, compares agile methodologies, growth hacking and Lean Startup principles to content life cycles. It covers how Mightybytes used these concepts to build our content-driven web application Ecograder, which crawls websites and grades them on sustainability criteria.
Our 2nd annual Content Jam conference, a day-long event for those who create or curate web content, took place last week at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema building.
The sold-out content party drew 150+ attendees eager to learn about everything from SEO and keyword research to best practices in measuring performance metrics and telling engaging stories. With tracks on strategy, content creation and writing, promotion, and measurement spread across 18 different presentations, there was certainly enough content to consume at this jam. Lunch, a Write Club competition, and an after-party down the street offered plenty of social and entertainment opportunities as well.
As an event produced by three B Corps, it’s no surprise that we had a social impact as well:
A portion of the proceeds will benefit Barrel of Monkeys, a Chicago-based organization that teaches literacy to Chicago Public Schools students through storytelling and performance.
Leftover food was donated to the awesome folks at First Slice, who used it to feed the homeless via their community outreach programs.
We are already looking into Content Jam 2014 and will make giving back an integral part of the programming for next year.
A Low Impact
As B Corps, it is also important for us to keep the event’s environmental impact as low as possible too. We’re not event producers by trade, we’re marketers, storytellers and web geeks, so I think we still have some room for improvement here, but nonetheless sustainability was a recurring topic that came up again and again throughout planning. Here’s where we kept impact low this go-round:
Morning coffee cups were compostable and napkins made out of recycled paper.
We had a lot of great speakers and incredible content. The folks from T60 Productions were interviewing attendees and speakers while animator George Berlin captured several of the presentations with live animations that were played back during lunch.
Many of the presentation decks were uploaded to SlideShare as well. The folks at Orbit Media captured them in this List.ly of the presentation decks. Click the link if you want review all the decks. Some good stuff in there!
Content Jam 2014
Yup, we’re already talking about it. Attendees have given us some great feedback on what we can improve and how to make the next Content Jam even more useful, fun, educational, and of course, sharable. Jill, Andy, Amanda and I look forward to sharing more info as we figure things out. Hope to see you there!
On that note, I’ll leave you with this awesome slideshow of photos taken during the day by Jeff Livorsi: