Care about default options

Last but not least, let’s not forget the impact of our design choices when it comes to default options. Indeed these options are influential on the digital impact, so it is important to choose the best option.

Unsplash example

Again let’s take Unsplash as an example. The default option is the original size which is the heaviest (often between 1 and 6 MB).

Indeed, when we download from the shortcut button in preview, the only choice is the original size.

If we click on the image to open it, we then have a download button with a dropdown arrow to choose from different sizes (Small, Medium, Large), but this option is hidden and hard to find.

The small option is 20 times smaller than the original size, which has sufficient quality for most uses. And the number of photo downloads per month is close to 100 million! We can easily guess the gains that could be made if the default was the Small option.

Download button with several options (Small, Medium, Large, Original Size)

WhatsApp example

Within the storage and data settings, it is possible to change the media download options.

The default option is the media auto-download using mobile data. However we know that 4G uses up to 20 times more energy than a wifi connection (Digital sobriety: the keys to taking action - French). To reduce the impact, we should change the default option to not auto-download the media on mobile data, and change the settings to wifi and select the type of auto-downloadable media (for example exclude videos from the auto-download).


Default settings: Media are on mobile data auto-download.


Settings to change: Media do not auto-download when mobile data is activated.

WhatsApp Default settings on cellular data
WhatsApp modified settings on cellular data

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Authors of the guide: Aurélie Baton and Anne Faubry.