Would love some feedback on EcoGrader, a new tool for measuring website sustainability.

Greetings fellow group members,

Last week my company Mightybytes launched the first version of EcoGrader, a free tool that helps people better understand website sustainability. Inspired by a need for more sustainable web solutions as well as Hubspot’s Marketing Grader, EcoGrader analyzes a website’s contents (HTML, CSS, Javascript, images and hosting information) and runs a series of tests to compile a score. Our hope is that this score and the report generated by EcoGrader will help people make more sustainable choices for their websites.

There are currently six tests that help determine a site’s cumulative score, but we plan to add more over time. The six existing tests are:

  • Is your site hosted on a green/sustainable hosting provider?
  • What is your website’s findability according to MozRank?
  • How many HTTP requests are there upon hitting your website’s homepage?
  • What is your Google Page Speed according to Google Page Speed Insights?
  • Is your site designed mobile first or responsively according to [method of test]?
  • Did you avoid using Flash on your site?

We included these tests based on categories mentioned in some of the articles found in this group’s Resources page: performance, usability, findability, and green ingredients, which for EcoGrader means use of a green hosting provider. Each of these items produces a single score from 1-10 that is then weighted to help produce the final output score. More info about how we built EcoGrader, what we test for, and other details can be found on the app’s FAQ page.

In the future, we plan to add more diagnostics that will test sites for use of CDNs, script minification, and so on, but for this first version we wanted to finish a minimum viable product that we could get feedback on to better validate the product roadmap.

We would love to hear any suggestions group members might have on bugs, tweaks, and how to improve EcoGrader moving forward. Our early research showed that the majority of people we spoke to (website decision makers, business owners, web designers, marketers, and nonprofits) still think the Internet is a ‘green’ medium, despite a lot of data that shows otherwise. It is our hope that EcoGrader will help dispel this myth.

There’s still a long way to go, but we feel this is a good start. I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks in advance for checking EcoGrader out.

Tim Frick

7 Responses to Would love some feedback on EcoGrader, a new tool for measuring website sustainability.

  1. Well done! EcoGrader’s very clear and simple to use.

    I just analyzed my site. It’d be no responsive, even though it respects FAQ criteria (and tests I did were good).
    Except that, all is (sadly) right! ^^’

  2. Tim Frick says:

    So Jonathan, are you saying that EcoGrader incorrectly graded your site as non-responsive, even though it is?

    Thanks for the kind words. Glad you like it.

    • I’m not skilled enough to say that responsive grading was wrong. But I use media queries and relative values. Plus, tests I did and users feedbacks were always good about responsiveness.
      So I’m waiting for our comrades feedbacks about their own website grading. ^^

  3. I just added EcoGrader to our wiki: http://www.w3.org/community/sustyweb/wiki/Validators

  4. Greg O'Toole says:

    Tim, EcoGrader is a huge step in the right direction if you ask me. I am using it for a couple of my sites. I appreciate the breakdown here of the test diagnostic (I was going to ask you about them anyway).

    I think that eventually we (everyone interested in sustainable web) need to have a standardized test for best results. For example, green.nascar.com recently won an award in the green/sustainable category from the 2013 Interactive Media Awards[1]. Great. Interestingly when I run green.nascar.com through EcoGrader is gets ~40. No critique on EcoGrader, here, just saying the criteria must be different between EcoGrader, IMA process, others, etc.

    Anyway, more on this soon.

    [1] http://green.nascar.com/nascar-green-honored-by-the-2013-interactive-media-awards

  5. Greg O'Toole says:

    I will follow up with IMA to see if I can get them to give me their testing/evaluating process in the green/sustainable category. More to come.

  6. Tim Frick says:

    Greg, my hunch is that the green/sustainable category for IMA doles out awards for sites whose content are related to sustainability but weren’t necessarily built with sustainability in mind. In my experience, that is unfortunately more often the case with awards competitions. The Nascar Green site says judging consisted of various criteria, including design, usability, and innovation in technical features, standards compliance and content. There aren’t any widely accepted standards for website sustainability in place yet. Hence this group. :)

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