Measuring our carbon output

Screenshot of our website carbon calculator
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The carbon costs of “digital” are not well understood.

How many emails have you received with “Consider the environment before printing this email” in the signature?

How many have you received with “Consider the environment before hitting Reply All to 26 random people” and adding “Thanks”?

For many people, “virtual” means “not real”.

As in, almost literally, non-existent.

Terms like “cloud” don’t help.

The reality is, the internet is the biggest machine humanity has ever built. It circles the entire planet.

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About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

Let’s green our web : part 2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Last week I read a Twitter thread from Gerry McGovern. He’s a bit of a guru in designing digital experiences and is also passionate about the impact that ‘digital’ is having on the environment.


‘Organisation with 100 million visits a year finds that 5% of its content is getting over 80% of visits. Over 100,000 pages have not been reviewed in 10 years.
We produce content. We do not manage it. 90% of content is crap. It was like this 25 years ago. It’s still the same.’

The tweet from Gerry McGovern says that content on websites is not actively managed and in many cases not reviewed for years

It made me think about the Scottish Enterprise website and whether we saw the same statistics. So, I asked our product owner David what our customers were looking at.

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Skills Development Scotland (SDS) sharing session – Design systems

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Earlier on in the year, myself, and Derek Hawthorne from SDS connected on LinkedIn about a mutual interest in an article about making the web a greener place. Through further conversation we discovered that we are both working on Design Systems.  

SDS are at the very early stage of creating a Design system while we are further on in our journey.  Derek reached out to see if we could share what we are doing, so we set up a sharing session. 

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How many people does it take to design and build a service?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Scottish Enterprise is changing. We are delivering services to customers and stakeholders in new ways, this gives us a fabulous opportunity but also presents some challenges.

As the team leader for the user centered design team at Scottish Enterprise I hear comments such as ‘What do you mean when you say service’, ‘We don’t really know what you do or who you are’ and also ‘But don’t you just build websites? Why do you care about all this other stuff that’s not digital?’

It prompted me to think what was causing this perception and how I felt four years ago when I joined the digital team at Scottish Enterprise. I was struck by how many people are involved and therefore how confusing it can be.

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