The Good Manager: Alternative tools to reduce our ecological impact and ensure digital accessibility

We are now aware that our use of digital technology has an impact on the environment, energy consumption and therefore on global warming in general.

To give just a few figures, 20 e-mails per day per user for a year create the same amount of CO2 emissions as a car travelling 1,000 km. Every hour, more than 12 billion e-mails are sent, which represents more than 4,000 tonnes of oil. Online research has a cost for our planet. By processing 3.5 billion searches a day, Google accounts for about 40% of the internet’s carbon footprint.

The objective of The Good Manager project is to come up with alternative tools and practices to successfully understand and optimise our use of digital technology while reducing our environmental impact linked to this use.

And to give a little insight into what already exists, we can look at a tool that we all use on a daily basis: SEARCH ENGINES.

It is possible to make your research more responsible!

In fact, every time you do a Google search, it requires the same amount of energy as turning on a 60-watt light bulb for 17 seconds. This may not seem like much, but if you add this result to 79,009 searches per second, it takes a different proportion.

To overcome this, here is a non-exhaustive list of some more socially responsible and sustainable search engines:

And accessibility in all this?

What is the point of a site being eco-responsible or a search engine being socially committed if it does not guarantee accessibility? If these tools are only reserved for a part of the population?

On the United Nations Web Site for Digital Accessibility you can see for yourself what difficulties a non-accessible site can cause, learn how to make a site accessible in terms of content (hierachy, multilingualism, lists and tables, etc.), navigation (menu and sitemap, pop-ups, links, etc.), and design (images, colours, animations, etc.), and you can even try out your own website.

Source : https://www.un.org/en/webaccessibility/index.shtml

You can also find a list of search engines specialised in accessibility on this site.

When it comes to accessibility, we tend to think mainly of people with reduced mobility, or the visually or hearing impaired, but there are about 80 million people living with a disability in Europe. A disability can be permanent, chronic, temporary, visible or invisible. Today your eyesight and hearing are impeccable but who knows, maybe in a few years time they will become less so and you will be more in need of solutions designed to meet your specific needs. According to EDA figures, there are also between 9% and 12% of people with learning disabilities for whom adapted tools are needed to ensure good use of digital technology.

When it comes to digital accessibility, the benchmark is the W3C website which states that:

Web accessibility promotes social inclusion and implies that people with disabilities as well as others (e.g. the elderly) can use the web.

The concept of web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that may affect access to the web, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive and neurological disabilities.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to develop digital solutions that meet the needs of all at the same time. That is why there are some good practices, tools and guides that have been developed to put in place a legal framework that benefits as many users as possible, with disabilities, impairments, learning disabilities…

The accessibility of a website is the result of the designer’s and developers’ desire to create well thought-out websites and user interfaces that meet a number of standards.

Source : https://www.hands-free.co.uk/digital-accessibility-important/

A few tips that are easy to implement and do not require a lot of time or investment include:

  • Subtitling videos
  • Choose contrasting colours to avoid tone-on-tone images that are difficult to read
  • Clear, well-structured and organised content
  • Provide alternative text to images (equivalent to a caption)
  • Providing appropriate keyboard functionality

And let’s not forget that the more accessible a site is, and therefore the better it is built, the better its SEO (search engine optimisation) will be. So in the end, making the web accessible to all is a win-win strategy!