The Babelica site was designed as a laboratory for testing and implementing more environmentally-friendly digital tools. For this, the Alliance collaborated with Maxime Guedj (a specialist in the design of ethical digital solutions and author of the book Déclic), who developed the website in a highly collaborative way, working with us at workshops, weekly meetings, sharing notes and more. Maxime worked with Thibault Daumain, an illustrator and graphic designer, who developed Babelica’s graphic style.
To reduce the weight of the website and therefore its impact on the environment, careful consideration was given to the following elements of its design:
- The choice of Kirby for the content management system. Its no-database architecture and the fact that it is simple to use and light to implement make it an excellent alternative to WordPress.
- All the images on the site have been compressed and their size adapted according to whether someone is connecting to the site on a small or large screen.
- The site has been coded in such a way as to reduce to a minimum requests to the server.
- The score obtained by the home page on ecoindex.fr on 12 June 2023 was 85/100, equivalent to an A grade, the best ranking possible on this indicator. The previous version of the website scored 72/100.
To go even further, it would have been possible to deactivate the display of images – including book covers among other things – and the typographies used for the site – instead asking each internet user to activate them manually. However, it seemed to us this was a step too far and would have done a disservice to publishers who create and benefit from a strong visual identity, as well as to artists, graphic designers and illustrators, whose work would not have been highlighted. The environmental footprint of an online book fair is already significantly smaller than that of a physical book fair (without air travel, transportation of books and heating or air conditioning of the venue, etc.).
Another way to reduce the environmental footprint of a website is through the tools and practices used by those who make it. Therefore, the site was developed on the Kirby platform and is hosted by Uber Space, an independent host based in Germany. These organisations are independent, small and respect the same ethics as the Alliance, among others respect for the privacy of internet users and support for open source software.
We hope to be able to continue tests and improve the environmental footprint of Babelica in 2024. To help us do this, your advice, ideas and opinions will be very useful. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org