Graceful Degradation

Graceful degradation is a concept that refers to optimizing your website so that it looks great across all devices.  In other words, if your website is being viewed from an ancient Blackberry, or a laptop with Internet Explorer 6, it needs to be structured in a way that let’s it “degrade” without failing completely.  Here’s an easy example to think about: if you build a website that features a big Flash video in the center of the screen, but someone is looking at your website using an old browser that doesn’t support Flash, then your website should be structured so that it displays something other than a big black empty box to the visitor.  For instance, maybe it shows text that, or another type of visuals.  Regardless, most large companies that do a lot of business on the web need a “four screen” strategy that optimizes their website (with graceful degradation in mind) across all four major categories of devices (tablet, computer, phone, tv) as well as across the different browsers that each device supports.