A Healthy and Sustainable… Website?

We’ve been thinking a lot lately about being healthy, being more concerned about the world around us, and making the lives of ourselves and our friends better. I started reading the ReDirect Guide the other day, and noticed that there weren’t any web designers listed in the publication. And I started to wonder why.

For those of you not familiar with this yearly publication, the ReDirect Guide is a “Local Healthy & Sustainable Lifestyle Directory.” So what exactly would that mean in the context of web development? How would a company like Needmore Designs get to feeling like we were fulfilling those criteria, and feel justified in asking to be listed in their publication? For you see, web design just doesn’t seem like something that would go in that book. But let’s look at this word-by-word.

Local. The majority of our clients are Portland-based, and we’ve found ourselves leaning more and more toward doing work only for local businesses. At first, we were worried that there wouldn’t be enough work if we stuck to the Portland area. Now, that seems rather absurd. Sure, it’s nice when someone from California or New York tells you what their budget is! But frankly, we’ve never been in it for the money, and that’s a fact. So we could very well become 100% local in our work.

Healthy. As people, we certainly are healthy these days. But beyond that, there are a lot of ways to make a website I would consider “healthy.” It should be accessible to people with disabilities. It should be as free as possible of proprietary technologies like Flash or Windows-only video files. And the websites should be only for good, positive causes. Not, for example, selling alcohol, tobacco, or Republicans.

Sustainable. During the day, we eat food delivered by Organics To You. We bicycle to our meetings. Our office uses only Green Energy, only high-efficiency flat-screen displays, and only the most efficient computers you can buy. But for a website, sustainability might also mean something that a client can keep up and running, well-maintained and current, for years to come. That’s a sustainable website. And that’s how we build most of our websites already.

So what do you think? How can one best meet the criteria for supporting “local, healthy, sustainable lifestyles” as a web design shop?

Raymond Brigleb

Creative Director, dreamer, partner, father, musician, photographer. Has been known to ride the rails. Pulls one heck of a shot.