The following is republished from the Tech Times #159.
In the past, conventional wisdom advocated an approach called graceful degradation, which would involve adding extra “fallback” code for users or browsers that were not able to handle the fancier bits of your page.
The graceful degradation approach to the accordion problem, for example, might be to put an expanded version of the accordion’s content between
Today, we understand that this is the wrong approach.
What this means for our accordion is that we should write the CSS code of the page so that the contents of the accordion are completely visible.
Next time, we’ll look at how to make sure this accordion control can be used by people who are either unable to use a mouse, or who simply prefer to navigate by keyboard. This will prove a little more challenging, but is still quite practical in most projects.
If you’d like to read more about graceful degradation and progressive enhancement, I highly recommend SitePoint regular Tommy Olsson’s article on the subject at Accessites.org.