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Designing for Sustainability by Tim Frick

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Chapter 5. Design and UX

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

In this chapter, we will cover:

  • Good usability and its impact on sustainability.

  • How best user experience (UX) design practices can help facilitate more sustainable design solutions.

  • Just how many moving parts do you need in a more sustainable design process?

Users Versus Life Cycles

You’re trying to book a ticket, make a donation, or simply subscribe to a newsletter on a device for which the content is not optimized. This is not only frustrating but wastes energy, as well. “An efficient website that is harder to use actually results in reduced sustainability, if you count the effort (and battery) life burned up by navigating through a lousy interface,” says author and professor Pete Markiewicz.

In his book Design Is the Problem, author Nathan Shedroff suggests that designers embrace three strategies to create more sustainable designs:

Dematerialization

This is the process of reducing the amount of materials and energy in a design solution; for example, simplifying web pages to use just the amount of design elements to achieve goals and no more.

Transmaterialization

This is the process of transforming products to services, which can reduce the use of natural resources because services can be inherently less resource intensive. Think subscription-based online accounting software, for instance.

Informationalization

This replaces the transportation of physical products (paper, for instance) with information, as in online billing, banking, ...

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