Copyright © 2024 the Contributors to the Web Sustainability Guidelines (WSG) 1.0 at a Glance Specification, published by the Sustainable Web Design Community Group under the W3C Community Contributor License Agreement (CLA). A human-readable summary is available.
This page provides a paraphrased summary of the Web Sustainability Guidelines (WSG) 1.0. For the normative technical specification, see https://w3c.github.io/sustyweb/.
It aims to be a helpful entry-point for individuals and stakeholders who have an interest in digital sustainability and the work undertaken by the Sustainable Web Design Community Group.
While this document does provide a quick summary of numerous key aspects of the WSG specification, it must be established that it in no way should be used as a replacement for following the guidelines and success criteria as laid out in the complete, long-form specification. Reasons for this include that this summary is neither intended to be in-depth nor feature complete. Therefore, its role as an overview to help orientate stakeholders to the specification's purpose in no way provides conformance to Web Sustainability criteria.
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This section is non-normative.
The digital industry is now responsible for between 2-5% of global emissions [ICT-IMPACT] [EUC], more than that of the aviation industry. And since the Paris Agreement, average web page sizes have increased by over 70% on desktop and 140% on mobile [PAGE-WEIGHT]. Between 2015 and 2021, internet visitors increased 60%, whilst internet traffic increased by 440% [DATA]. In essence, if the Internet were a country it would be one of the top five polluters. [COUNTRY]
The Web Sustainability Guidelines (WSG) 1.0 explains how to design and implement digital products and services that put people and the planet first. The guidelines are best practices based on measurable, evidence-based research; aimed at end-users, website creators, product owners, stakeholders, tool authors, educators, and policymakers. The guidelines are in line with the Sustainable Web Manifesto [MANIFESTO].
Knowing where to start, especially with a document as long and dense as the WSGs is quite a challenge. You may wish to scan through a supplement such as our quick reference which provides a checklist-based overview of every guideline. Or if you just want a couple of important tasks you can dive right into them. If so, consider the below as a few of our highlights (though please note, that this doesn't reduce the importance of the others).
The below will have a high impact upon your product or services digital sustainability:
The guidelines should be seen as a starting point in a sustainability journey; they cover the following:
Covering research and ideation, journey design, content and assets, and quality assurance.
In relation to research and ideation, make sure you:
In relation to journey design, make sure you:
In relation to content and assets, make sure you:
In relation to quality assurance, make sure you:
Covering development approach, code minimization, code coherence, and code security.
In relation to the development approach, make sure you:
In relation to code minimization, make sure you:
In relation to code coherence, make sure you:
In relation to code security, make sure you:
Covering environment commissioning, minimizing environment and data, and minimizing human disruption.
Make sure you:
Covering reporting, disclosure, strategy, and policies from both an organizational and website / product level.
In relation to organizational level reporting and disclosure, make sure you:
In relation to organizational level strategy and policies, make sure you:
In relation to product or website level strategy policies, make sure you: