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Sustainability by design: a new way of thinking

We’re living in a time when the need for sustainability has never been more evident. Our clients are not only seeking performance and functionality but innovation, experience, and ultimately, more humanity.

So, how do we build this need for change into how we think?

Recently at Six, we’ve been applying sustainable thinking in our experience design practice. We all have to start somewhere, so we asked ourselves: how do we create experiences which are kinder to both people and the planet? 

We landed on the idea of balance. In particular, the balance between effectiveness, carbon intensity and inclusivity. It’s keeping this balance in mind that helps us make informed decisions at every stage of the design process.

  • Effectiveness – creating the engaging experience which fulfils your audience need and your business requirement. E.g. a form fill, or purchase.  
  • Inclusivity – making sure that your digital experience is accessible to everyone who may use it.
  • Carbon intensity – ensuring the carbon footprint for your experience is suitable for the experience you are creating.

The sweet spot is the middle of the triangle. But we know every business is different. Many are having to make decisions based on demands that are shifting faster than ever. So, what we’re advocating for is active decision making on all three fronts.  

By understanding your users, their journeys and what you’re looking to achieve, we can help you identify what you want to prioritise. And establish where to dial up and dial down each of these factors.

We’re evaluating the experience design of our own business, including the rebuild of our website. There are, of course, many ways to keep the carbon intensity of our site low, including:  

  • Running the website on a headless CMS 
  • Keeping file sizes low 
  • Using simple fonts and a less energy intensive colour palette
  • Avoiding the use of any rich media

These considerations need balancing against getting the results we’re looking for and making sure our insight is accessible to everyone. That’s why we’re actively discussing how we can budget our carbon intensity. 

We're striving to design experiences that not only deliver for audiences but also ensure sustained value over the long term. Looking at these experiences through a balancing lens of inclusivity and carbon intensity means we create experiences that are kinder to people and kinder to the planet. 

If some of these challenges look familiar to you, we’d love to chat.

Get in touch.

By Laura Millar


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