Update on the COP28 Website

Day 2 of National Blog Posting Month #NaBloPoMo

Recently I wrote about the COP28 climate summit’s website, which featured a low-carbon toggle that did precisely nothing. The post captured the interest of a few people, and I was contacted by ABC News Australia, who published a story on it, inviting me and web sustainability consultant Fershad Irani to comment.

Since I published the original post it appears the site has undergone some updates, and the low-carbon toggle actually prevents images from being downloaded. I have no idea whether the changes were made in response to the article or whether it’s something that would have been done anyway, but It’s a great first step. There’s still much more that can be done to build a site that’s truly “low carbon”, as Fershad details in his review of the website.

He also notes that while “low carbon” would ideally be the default, the low carbon version of the COP28 website leaves much to be desired. The design clearly hasn’t been considered at all: simply replacing the images with gradient blocks is unhelpful to the user.

The low carbon experience of the COP28 website as it is today is not suitable to be the default version of the website. It would give a lot of users a very wrong impression of what low carbon web design is all about.

I absolutely agree. With a little bit of design consideration, a low carbon site with no images (or fewer/smaller images) could be a better experience for the user, as well as helping them access the information they need faster.

Encouraging signs for web sustainability

It’s encouraging to see that web sustainability discourse is having an impact, and that positive change is possible. It goes to show how important it is to have these conversations, and highlight examples of good and bad practice.

There are plenty of resources available to help developers get started building low carbon sites. You can find some of them in my article for MDN, An Introduction to Web Sustainability.

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