Online News: The Canary in the Coal Mine

Andrew Boardman

What would happen if we reduced the visual clutter and code inanity of the top 10 news websites? This is an investigation of the consequences of liquidating the banner ads, bloated JavaScript, fat tracking codes, lazy loaders and other detritus of a number of these sites.

For each site, we will reveal a visual before-and-after and then a brief study of page weight and what was lost in the process. We would then have a further look at how much GHG in the atmosphere would theoretically been reduced from each nosejob. Why are we doing this?

First, news sites are notoriously heavy and slow in performance. By being so weighty and so popular, they represent a large portion of the served web and fossil fuel usage.

Second, we need news websites more than ever. The adverts and code that litter online news pages are distracting and not serving their audiences. If newspapers fail online, we will find it much harder to understand global challenges and connect across countries.

The talk will present a design model as to how we might making reading easier, reduce our digital carbon footprint, and maybe even save newspapers from themselves.


Andrew Boardman owns and manages Manoverboard, a purpose-driven design firm that provides digital tools and strategy to principled businesses and organizations. Manoverboard has designed websites for Generation Investment Management (Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s investment firm), RAND Corporation, MIT, Global Alliance for Children, SJF Ventures, Encourage Capital, EQ3, United Nations University, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Maestral International, and RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

In June 2013, Manoverboard became a Certified B Corporation, the first in the province of Manitoba. The company re-certified in June 2015 with substantial improvements. B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

After working for the Rockefeller Foundation for five years he joined Oven Digital, Andrew received a BA magna cum laude in Art and English from Brown University. He holds an MFA from SUNY Albany and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study visual culture in Poland. He currently serves as President of the provincial chapter of the Graphic Designers of Canada and works in the community in numerous capacities. Andrew runs, writes, and reads—as much as possible in that order, though it’s often the opposite.