February 25, 2022 Web Quality in the Era of Sustainability Management

Kazuhito Kidachi
Corporate Director (CTO)

With the outbreak of the Omicron variant, the spread of the novel coronavirus continues unabated, and our lives remain constrained in many ways. Furthermore, the situation in Ukraine has never been so tense. Around the world, uncertainty about the future is growing more and more acute. In this context, sustainability is being tested in all areas of society.

In June last year, I wrote a column entitled "The DX & SX Era" in which I argued that digital transformation, or DX, and sustainability transformation, or SX, are equally important. However, recently, I have the impression that the balance is tipping more towards sustainability.

Even without taking into account the circumstances of the past few weeks, companies are increasingly required to manage their businesses in a sustainable manner - considering environmental, social, and economic sustainability. This means a shift from short-term to long-term thinking, and a "co-existence" of core business activities with social issues.

So, how should webmasters responsible for PR, IR, marketing, etc. respond to such changes in management 'ideals'? While a major prerequisite is delivering online communication that contributes to the continuity of a company's business, it’s also necessary to use the web in a way that more holistically considers the sustainability of society.

The key, in my opinion, lies not only in the quality of the web content itself, but also in the quality of how it has been developed. No matter how good the content is, if it is not developed in a way that contributes to the sustainability of society it can become inconsistent with a company's business policy.

So, in the era of sustainability management, what exactly are necessary qualities when developing web content?

The first is accessibility: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the UN in 2015, pledge that no one will be left behind. Improving accessibility aims to ensure that no user is left behind.

Furthermore, communication via the web requires no small amount of power. Therefore, websites with good display performance, those that rapidly display content and respond swiftly to user input, can contribute toward decarbonization and sustainability.

Additional qualities that assist users in efficiently achieving their objectives can also lead to a reduction of the time spent on web communications and thus reduce power consumption, which in turn contributes to sustainability. In this context, from a user perspective, clarity, usability, and findability are also important qualities.

For many corporate websites, with few exceptions, the underlying motive of a user's visit is not to merely browse the content. They have goals beyond this - whether this be to purchase a product or service or request some information. So, it’s important to remember that the true purpose of a visit lies beyond the mere viewing of content.

Last year, we released our Sustainable Web Design Solution (in Japanese), a package of such quality offerings. Now, just over a year since release, we felt the need to reiterate the essentials of the package – as noted in this Column. We’re also planning a Web Quality in the Era of Sustainability Management (in Japanese) seminar for April 20.

While I would very much like to speak face-to-face with webmasters from companies that are either practicing or considering sustainability management, I’m very disappointed to announce that, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the seminar will be held online. Anyhow, for readers who are interested, please feel free to participate.

For more information on our services, timeframes and estimates, as well as examples of our work, please feel free to be in touch.