The Escalator Principle


I love Google’s quote of the day feature. Every so often a real gem shows up there. Today was one of those days. Let me introduce you to the Escalator Principle.

“I like an escalator because an escalator can never break, it can only become stairs. There would never be an escalator temporarily out of order sign, only an escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”

-Mitch Hedberg, comedian

Now, I think it’s safe to say that Mitch wasn’t thinking of application design when he made that statement, but it occurred to me that I’ve never seen a more effective description of graceful degradation. If only more applications and web sites followed the Escalator Principle, we’d all be better off.

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