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Energy, Technology, UX & Technology, UX Philosophy

The Environmental Responsibility Of UX Consultants

As we have chosen to support a sustainability-focused charity this quarter, we wanted to dig a bit deeper in how sustainability and UX can work together. Thus, we had a chat with some of our UX consultants about how sustainability and tech intertwine, discussing how to be sustainable as a UX designer, and some personal tips on things one can do as an individual.

How can tech help with sustainability?

Emilia, UX Consultant, Gothenburg Office:

“There are many ways tech can improve sustainability. Of course we have the more obvious inventions like solar panels and electric cars. In addition to this, there are also services and quizzes for people where they can figure out their own CO2 emission levels and what they can do to reduce them. WWF has one, but also the Swedish Naturvårdsverket (a kind of nature preservation organisation).”

Ali, UX Consultant, London Office:

“Tech can help inform and educate people about sustainability and encourage them to be more mindful of how their daily routines affect their environment. One example is an app called ‘Too Good To Go’. It sends you a notification when nearby supermarkets, restaurants or other food stores have ‘magic bags’ for sale. These bags are filled with food that would otherwise be thrown out because it was overstocked or couldn’t be sold that day. They’re also usually sold for a much cheaper price, helping people to reduce food waste and save money.”

Zo, UX Consultant, London Office: 

“Tech can help inform users of their energy usage, carbon footprint and educate ways to save resources and live more sustainably. Products like ‘Hive Smart Thermostat’ can help people stay in control of their energy usage, especially when they’ve accidentally left lights or heating on whilst not at home. A huge thing about technology, throughout the field, is that it can fix human error, and that’s seen in how technology and sustainability work together, too. By having the power to control your usage, whilst you’re away from home, you can stop waste and unnecessary consumption.”

How is sustainability related to the job of UX consultants?

Emilia, UX Consultant, Gothenburg Office:

“Sustainability projects with any type of user interaction could benefit from good UX. If a product or service is too difficult or cumbersome to use, people are less likely to adopt it into their everyday lives, both at home and at work. By using design principles to make it easier for people to lead more sustainable lives, we can help encourage society as a whole to move in the right direction.”

Lisa, UX Consultant, Gothenburg Office:

“It feels like these kinds of services/products that help households to both understand and control their energy consumption easily through the help of apps become more and more common and good UX is crucial in order for people to actually use them!”

Ali, UX Consultant, London Office:

“As consultants, we often think about how we can make interactions with tech easier and clearer for people. When these interactions become easier, they also make jobs more efficient and this can eventually lead to people saving more money, time, and consuming less.”

What is the environmental responsibility of UX consultants?

Emilia, UX Consultant, Gothenburg Office:

“As consultants, we can choose to take on more sustainable projects and also actively seek work with companies that have strong commitments to the environment. We can also make sure to avoid work that would increase emissions, such as projects related to increasing the consumption of fossil fuel or trying to increase consumption in general.”

Ali, UX Consultant, London Office:

“UX consultants have an environmental responsibility to design solutions that are lighter and less time-consuming. Digital experiences that require less of your time also reduce your device and electricity usage. Reducing this time can have a huge effect when it’s added up across the billions of people on the web.”

What do you do to reduce your environmental footprint?

Emilia, UX Consultant, Gothenburg Office:

“In my personal life, I’m quite big on recycling and eating less animal byproducts to reduce my emissions. I’ve also taken up second hand shopping and started buying used instead of new whenever I can. I also tend to take the train instead of driving or flying domestically.”

Lisa, UX Consultant, Gothenburg Office:

“We use the system ‘IKEA home smart’ in our house. We have a phone app that allows us to control the lamps, set timers, turn them off when we are away and more. We also use Tibber. It’s a power company that allows us to see the electricity prices in real time through their app. We started using it to save money, but it’s really good for understanding our energy consumption as well.”

Ali, UX Consultant, London Office:

“I try to be more aware of how many items I order online. For example, I try to group things up when I buy from Amazon so that there are less individual deliveries needed, thus reducing the amount of driving and pollution that has to happen within the city. Or where I can, I will go to a local store to buy that item instead.”

Zo, UX Consultant, London Office:

“I use a sharing app called OLIO, it allows you to gift food or household items to people close by. Moving house can be very wasteful and time-consuming, it’s really hard to recycle your all-unwanted stuff and not just take it to the dump. Using the app, I was able to donate my desk and chair to someone in my local community without having to share my personal information like a number, address etc. Instead, it was all done through messaging through the app.”

 

Fighting climate change is the responsibility of everyone on the planet. UX Connections is aware of the impact we have as a UX agency. Therefore, we do our best to combat the crisis, for example, by designing digital products that are more energy-efficient. We hope the words from our consultants can be the stones dropped into water, sending ripples in every direction!

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