Sep 08 2016

Design With Grace: Graceful Degradation in Web Design

One benefit of a custom designed website is the ability to scale the design to allow for easy implementation of program updates and changes. One issue can arise when you scale to allow for new technologies, but they are no longer compatible with the old way. The solution to this is a term known as graceful degradation. Yes, quite the mouthful, but the idea is pretty simple. Similar to video game systems that can play games from the previous version, graceful degradation allows for a website to be compatible with new browsers and programs as well as previous versions.

You never want your website to look dated. Think of how websites looked even ten years ago: they haven’t aged well. A good designer will develop websites to allow for easy changes without requiring a complete overhaul in design. There are a few benefits to this strategy.

Mobile Optimization

When it comes to mobile, graceful degradation focuses on scalability. Most mobile sites are a scaled-down version of the full desktop, without the same features. As mobile grows to become the primary browsing method, many designers are taking a mobile-first approach and scaling up. For websites that are not designed mobile-first, designers can allow for mobile sites to gradually scale back features and functionality to provide a good mobile user interface and experience for tablets and smartphones.


One of the most important factors of content creation is making it evergreen. Meaning it’s relevant forever. In web design, it’s using design techniques that won’t appear dated. Of course with how fast technology improves, that’s practically impossible. What designers can do is allow for easy integration of new technologies to remain current while also remaining relevant to those on the back end of the curve. Read Web Development Directions to Follow for more information on how to create a relevant and current website.

Call us to learn how to design for graceful degradation!

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