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Carbon-Conscious Design: The impact of UX practices on energy efficiency and carbon footprint

Sanchit Soni

04 Feb, 5:35 pm

05 Feb, 1:35 am

05 Feb, 9:35 am

15 min

Through this talk, we will explore principles of sustainable interaction design and discuss relationships between UX, energy consumption, carbon footprint, and some potential solutions that can enable carbon-conscious design practice.


There is a definite relationship between energy consumption and its impact on the environment as a whole. Out of this, billions of personally held electronic devices consume a lot of energy. Overall energy consumption of individual devices such as smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers is entirely dependent on how web and mobile applications are developed which is basically governed by how these applications are designed. This talk would be about how web and mobile design decisions can have an overall impact on the world's energy consumption pattern. Certain UX practices, such as color selection, the layout of the web/mobile application, the type of API calls used for a specific feature, etc., governs the overall energy consumption pattern of the app. According to a research study conducted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, there is a negative correlation between the overall performance score provided by Google Lighthouse and the energy consumption of mobile web apps. These performance scores can be improved by better performance engineering which is closely tied with the app’s UI. If the app is loading too many UI containers at the same time, it will lead to excessive use of the system's processing power, leading to higher battery use. The use of React UI as a modern front end framework can help in performance optimization.

Similarly, there are iOS and Android guidelines on reducing battery drain, some of which directly correlate to UI/UX design of the app, such as use of animation, motion, opacity, and use of standard Human Interface Guidelines.

The other aspect of UX practice is to nudge users towards eco-friendly choices. While selecting shipping options, Amazon offers certain options such as no-rush shipping and packing multiple items into a single box which helps reduce carbon footprint. Most of the web/mobile apps offer dark mode which when used on an OLED screen, can help save battery drain. Uber and Lyft offer cheaper cab options that require a little bit of walk but in turn can help in reducing carbon emissions. Can UX design help establish mental models which correlates these choices with carbon emissions and climate change? We will be looking at some new ideas as well as existing case studies to discuss these aspects.

Meet the speaker

Sanchit Soni


Senior UX Designer, 8x8 Inc

I am a Senior UX Designer at 8x8 Inc. 8x8 specializes in providing communication platforms to businesses of all sizes. Previously, I have worked with non-profits engaging in environment conservation which led me to think deeply about the environment, carbon footprint, and climate change. Over the last 5 years, I have been thinking about ways to establish a relationship between UX practices and their impacts on climate change.

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